Scaling installs for tactical multi-player card battle game

Growthcurve was appointed to run all paid User Acquisition activity for indie gaming studio Everguild on their ‘Warhammer 40000’ themed mobile game title - ‘The Horus Heresy: Legions’, shortly after it launched on iOS and Android.

To scale installs for the game we focused on three areas, fresh creative / new audiences, new channels and new markets. Since the studio wanted to scale fast our creative team decided to save time by leveraging existing static game artwork (including illustrations of well known characters and environments), skilfully bringing them to life using motion graphics, vfx and post-production to create fully animated 3D scenes in a short turnaround time. Our visually arresting animated ads then drastically outperformed the static versions that had run prior and helped drop CPI significantly getting more players into the game without having to increase the media budget.

At launch Everguild had logically focused heavily on targeting the core target audience of passionate Warhammer fans - however this group wasn’t going to provide scope for hundreds of thousands of installs per month, and already we could see frequency rates climbing. Our media team used first, second and third party data sets to identify new pools of prospects that were likely to have an affinity to the type of tactical card battle gameplay Legions offered and ported those audiences across several different demand side platforms so we could reach them across the broadest set of inventory possible. We tested each new pool with a subset of ads that we knew performed well with our core audience and assessed pool quality by D1 / W1 retention levels as well as RPU. This enabled us to identify and target much larger audiences with a high degree of confidence they would find our ads relevant which helped dramatically increase our daily install volume.

As campaigns progressed we continued to experiment with adding and optimising additional campaign channels including Google Universal App Campaigns, Display Network and Instagram - opening up more opportunities for scale.

Finally we expanded campaigns internationally - running ads across the United States and Canada, multiple European markets and Australia which combined with our other tactics enabled us to deliver a huge number of quality installs at industry leading CPIs consistently.