キャプチャ

Daisuke Maeda
Mobile Unit Manager, Global Business Division, Adways



The types of creative can be classified into the following three types, creative in the game, creative for advertisement, and creative of screenshot (“SS”). This time I will talk about creative of SS in app stores.

SS has the most influence on CVR (Conversion rate for install) in app stores. There are 3 elements that should be well considered when making the most effective creatives- font, appeal content and image.

1. Font
How you choose font conveys an image of game contents. The following fonts are some examples that are often used in Japanese games.

image1.Sans-serif (MORISAWA)
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Fonts that are often used in many games. Often seen in SS and official web site.

Image 2.New Gothic(MORISAWA)
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Orthodox thick Gothic.

Image 3.Ryumin(MORISAWA)
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Typical Mincho.

Image 4.Hiragino Mincho(MORISAWA)
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Typical Mincho.

Image 5.Kurokane(Fontworks)
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Top sales game app, “Puzzle & Dragons” is using this font. Many other games have adopted this Kurokane too.

They are all same Japanese characters, but they give completely different impression. Japanese people are very familiar with those fonts and when we feel weird about design of non-Japanese games, it is often the font that is making unfamiliar look. Also, in order to buy those commercial fonts, there is a case where a business needs to be a registered company in Japan.

2. Appeal content
Appeal content in SS should be developed based on high CVR creatives used for pre-registration promotion. The A/B test of creatives is normally done on adnetwork, rather than SNS, for equal delivery frequency of each creative. In order to examine a real performance of each creative, we do not normally do optimization of CPR during the test. Considering a minimum payment that adnetwork would accept for ad delivery, it is recommended preparing another $3,000 budget in addition to normal promotion budget.

I get asked this question sometimes. “Whether it is possible to optimize SS after app release?” The answer is (unfortunately) “No”. There are two reasons for this. First, to change SS in app store, it is necessary to re-apply from developer’s management dashboard. As a result, it is difficult to change SS multiple times in a short period of time. Second, SS size needs to be adjusted to each device that would take many production man-power. Therefore, SS optimization before app release (when you start pre-registration promotion) is essential.

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In addition, Japanese have a tendency to like those that are popular. As indicators of app popularity, there are app store ranking and app download number.

When using a download number, it should be at least more than 1 million. If less than 1 million, it is better not showing in SS because many people would not think it is a large number. Just a reminder- when applying to app store, they usually ask for an evidence of the number. So it cannot be possible to use a false download number but if that happens, it would be considered as an “extravagant advertisement” and will be punished by Japanese law.

Here are some examples of SS from app stores. Only a few titles show total download number in SS because it will be necessary to replace the number every time it grows.

Image 6: Monster Strike
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(Source: Google Play)

“Dragon Quest Monsters Super Light” and “Puzzles and Dragon” put total download number in app description, not in SS.

Dragon Quest Monsters Super Light
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Congratulations 17 million download breakthrough!
From "Dragon Quest Monsters" series, smartphones RPG is free of charge!
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(Source:Google Play)

Puzzles and Dragon
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Thanks to you, 4th anniversary and 42 million total download breakthrough!
Cooperative play dungeon comes on “Puzzles and Dragon”.
Let’s challenge various dungeon by cooperating with friends!
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(Source:Google Play)

Users would recognize the popularity of app by looking at app store ranking and download number but credibility of the information still need to be proved. In order to give credence, it is preferable to introduce media related campaign.

Typical media example is TV. If you appeal to users about TV commercials, there is a tendency that it would easily boost credibility. Also, advertising effect will increase by putting a sentence such as "TV Commercial On Air" not only in SS or app description, but also in banner creatives.

3. Image
Images depend on SS content. Let me compare two different images: “Game of War” from Machine Zone and “Clash of Kings” from Elex Wireless. They have the same strategy in game system.

Game of War has more Japanese-taste illustrations, and it is likely to have higher CVR. On the other hand, “Clash of Kings” uses actual character of the game in SS.

At a glance, “Game of War” seems more effective.
However, this character is quite different from actual world view of the game. Although SS is important, if you mislead users by this kind of creative that is not matching with the real game content, there is a possibility that retention rate would become extremely poor. Furthermore, it would make users over expected and how they look at game contents would become more severe. As a result, it would detract the effectiveness of advertisement rather than SS using the actual character. In this case, “Clash of Kings” had more effectiveness than “Game of War” as shown in sales ranking (However, in fact, effectiveness would be determined by several other factors such as budget and content of the game). In addition, in terms of ROAS, “Clash of Kings” had a greater ROAS than “Game of War”.

Image 7. SSs of Game of War
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(Source: Google Play)

Image 8. SSs of Clash of Kings
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(Source: Google Play)

To optimize SS, we recommend having A/B test done before app release by using a platform such as our Yoyaku Top10 From our past performance data, CVR does increase by twice by optimizing SS. This directly makes an impact on promotion cost and so does total advertising effect. If the SS is not optimized, this will become a fatal problem. Performing A/B test of SS is highly recommended before app release.

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https://yoyaku-top10.jp

キャプチャ

Daisuke Maeda
Mobile Unit Manager, Global Business Division, Adways



How many non-Japanese games have found success in Japanese market, really?
To answer this question, I checked a number of foreign companies in top 100 AppStore and GooglePlay sales as below (read my last article for more).
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Japan has a massive opportunity for mobile games but is a very unique market of which Japanese companies account for almost 90% of the overall revenue. Foreign companies are still finding it hard to find the way to survive in Japanese market.
In today’s article, I would like to highlight the foreign companies which account for 10% of the market share and analyze how they have made a success.

Success factor 1. App Size

In Japan, we barely use wireless network except when at home. Even at work place (except at those internet companies like us), wireless network is not normally available.

Private use of free wireless network in public and tourist facilities.
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(Source: 2014 Joho Tsushin Hakusho -White papers on Telecommunications-)

One of the biggest reasons why public wireless network is not so popular in Japan is the personal authentication systems that network providers are required to implement. According to the wireless network business guidelines provided by Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication of Japan, those network providers are subject to disclose identification information of the user upon occurrence of any cyber crimes using free public network. Thus, in order to prepare wireless network environment in Japan, providers would take money to adopt the authentication system, while the users would take time to authenticate themselves. This has made a slow growth of supply and demand in Japanese free wireless network environment.

Moreover, in Japan, most of smartphone users make a contract with mobile carriers and subscribe for 1 or 2-year plan. They will usually pay the fixed cost of the phone each month and then the amount of calling and using data for on top of that. The internet connection speed provided by mobile carrier is powerful enough for daily use, so wireless network will not be necessary unless they encounter a moment that would consume a large amount of mobile data such as downloading a big size app and watching 2-hours movie.

Mobile Data Subscription: Fixed vs Pay-as-you-go Model
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(Source: 2014 Joho Tsushin Hakusho -White papers on Telecommunications-)

Then, how often people use wireless network at home? Even though usage frequency is different, the graph below shows about 70% of Japanese users answered yes for use of wireless network at home.

Use of free wireless network at home
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Having considered this slow spread of free wireless network in public, it is a bit reckless to launch an over 100MB app. Now, let’s take a look at how much real loss would be generated in app promotion results.

Reward promotion results of 2 different apps on GooglePlay
(Title A: Less than 100MB, Title B: More than 100MB)
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This is a comparison of reward promotion results of 2 different apps on GooglePlay. The size of title A is less than 100MB while that of B is more than 100MB. By the way, title B is the foreign game app ranked in Top 100 GooglePlay sales in July 2016 (Check my last article for more). In order to have a good ranking for your app, a certain amount of downloads and traffic in a short time are necessary but that is not all. The cycle of reward promotion, increase in ranking, increase in exposure, increase in organic users, and then increase in ranking is the best way to push your app ranking even higher. Especially number of organic users has an implication for ranking. To be exact, there is also another factor besides this cycle, but I will talk about it some other time.

Looking at the result table, organic per reward made a difference of 250% between 2 apps. This also resulted in ending up the CPI with 250% difference. The app size does matter and bring a difference in any type of promotion results, not only for reward promotion. This should be taken into consideration when you make an app promotion plan.

Suggesting a solution to this size problem, you can make an app smaller than 100MB in the first place and ask users to download an additional file as they make their way in game. In fact, title B put this strategy into practice and made it a success.

Timing of app update is also very important to consider. Those users who have became active users once would not give up updating the app even though a file size is somewhat big because they would not want to waste their time and money spent before this. However, if update requires a download of relatively big file, it is better to avoid the time when users are not at home. This is because, as mentioned earlier, public wireless network is not everywhere in Japan. If they are outside, they would only need to rely on mobile data and this sometimes cause a failure to download. For those Japanese workers living in Tokyo city, the average travel time to work is 60 minutes. Normally they start working at 8 or 9am so the best timing of app update would be around 7 in the morning before they leave for work or after 6pm when they go back home.

Next, I will give you tips for making creatives- the second success factor to win in Japanese market.

キャプチャ

Daisuke Maeda
Mobile Unit Manager, Global Business Division, Adways



The theme for this article is “Japan”, by which I mean PR team said “Write about whatever you like.” So I think I will do just that. I’ve been in the smartphone gaming industry for about 6 years and which makes me confident enough to write about Japan better than the average (Of course!).

Smartphone app market in Japan is crazy. After the launch of iPhone in 2010, it just keeps growing and growing every year. Back then, iPhone was, of course, the one who had the largest market share. But according to my memory, Android also started to expand after October 2010 when Samsung Galaxy S and Android OS 2.2 showed up in the market. Android devices were not so cool back in early 2010. Variation in the device specifications bothered app developers when developing apps and there were only a few apps that would work properly on the devices. I think this was a fundamental issue for the slow start of GooglePlay (By the way, it was called Android Market back then).

However, Galaxy S specification was outstanding among other Android devices. It operated on Android OS 2.2 with plenty of built-in storage in addition to usage of SD card. This enabled Galaxy S users to install large apps without any difficulty. After 2011, GooglePlay started to chase AppStore and grow rapidly.

Now, AppStore and GooglePlay in Japan are as big as the world’s #1 USA’s market. GooglePlay in Japan have actually beaten USA already.

A quick digression. Now everywhere I go, there is always someone playing Pokemon Go. It is said that Pokemon Go would not work properly sometimes on cheep SIM-free Android smartphones even though they meet the official requirements of 1. Android 4.4 and up, 2. A strong internet connection and 3. GPS and local services. Because of this, I expect that market growth of GoogPlay would slow down a bit after mid of July 2016.

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Graph 1:App market by Country (Jun 2016)

Japan market is big but very unique with Galapagos syndrome. So, everybody might wonder how many non-Japanese games have found success in Japan market, really? Let’s take a look at top 100 sales and see how many foreign companies I can find.

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Graph 2: Foreign companies ranked in the Top 100 sales on AppStore
(29 July at 4pm UTC+9)

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Graph 3: Foreign companies ranked in the Top 100 sales on GooglePlay
(29 July at 4pm UTC+9)

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So, AppStore-12 out of 100 and GooglePlay- 11 out of 100. Wow, only that.
By the way, how many foreign apps have actually gone live each month? I do a regular check on our Yoyaku Top10 platform, Japan’s first-ever app pre-registration service launched in 2013, and I see there are always a couple of new foreign apps coming out every month. Sensuously, I think there are more than 50 being released yearly; however it is just a few of them that could continuously make revenue and recognized as a hit game app in Japanese market.

Because of difference in game elements and national characters between Japan and other countries, it is not always easy to match game content with Japanese gamer’s preference. But why still wanting to go to Japan? What makes Japan different from other countries? - It is high ARPU. Japanese do spend larger amount of money than anybody else in other countries. Japan app market is huge, but the population is small and this naturally means it. This is a graph showing how much money spent per install by country.

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Graph 4: Money spent per install on AppStore

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Graph 5: Money spent per install on GooglePlay

Japan shows just a spectacular size. So, mobile games fight over those Japanese users whose values are incredibly high and this raises CPI at an end. In Japan, re-engagement marketing is quite important. This is because, in the first place, the number of paid users is small but number of new users is also limited. So it is necessary to bring those inactive users back to games and let them play again.

My next article is going to focus on success factors of top sale apps in Japan.

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