Building Global Gaming Communities: The Role of User Acquisition at BNM 

How BNM is unifying worlds through UA

User Acquisition (UA) is a crucial strategy for Bandai Namco Mobile (BNM) and Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc. (BNEI) in bringing Japanese mobile games to the Western market. Leveraging UA and performance advertising, we tailor campaigns and foster global gaming communities, understanding and engaging audiences at a deeper level.

User Acquisition (UA) is the lifeblood of the gaming industry, particularly in the mobile gaming scene. After all, what is a game without its gamers? UA is the process of attracting and converting new users to a game, a crucial step in expanding a game's player base and driving its success. In the fiercely competitive mobile gaming landscape, a well-crafted UA strategy can be the difference between a game that thrives and one that fades into obscurity. And when you want to bring Fun for All into the Future, the 'future' part is too important to ignore.

At Bandai Namco Mobile (BNM), the marketing team harmonizes perfectly with the marketing team at Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc. (BNEI) in Tokyo, Japan, turning User Acquisition (UA) into more than just a process; it's a symphony. It weaves together the company's vision, the needs of the game, and the preferences of the gamers. This symphony is conducted by a team of experts who understand the nuances of the gaming industry and the unique needs of each game. And just like a symphony, it needs the right notes at the right time to create a harmonious and unforgettable experience for players.

Bandai Namco's vision to "Connect with Fans" and its overarching purpose to deliver "Fun for All into the Future" serve as the guiding lights for all UA strategies.

The aim is clear-cut: amplify game visibility, draw in valuable users, and nurture an active, loyal player base. This vision isn't just a string of words. It's a lived reality, reflected in BNM's innovative work-life balance and commitment to team-building. These principles are as much part of the internal workings of the company as they are integral to how BNM interacts with its audience and the gaming community at large.

Selecting a UA strategy is a careful dance. It takes into account an understanding of the audience, budget, game genre and age, competition, performance metrics, user feedback, and industry trends.

Each game is unique, and the UA strategy must be tailored to fit its specific needs.

This process involves a deep dive into the game's mechanics, storyline, graphics, and overall appeal, and how these elements can be leveraged to attract new users.

And when working with big IPs? It's akin to wielding a double-edged sword. Big IPs bring brand recognition, an existing fanbase, effective marketing, credibility, and a wealth of content. But they also come with challenges: IP licensing, sky-high player expectations, potential cannibalization, balancing innovation with faithfulness, and competition with unofficial titles. BNM's expertise in bringing popular Japanese IPs to the Western market is a valuable tool in this arena. It's a delicate balance between maintaining the essence of the original IP while making it appealing and accessible to a new audience.

One such example of this delicate balance is the success of a real-time player-versus-player mobile game based on a legendary anime franchise that has taken the world by storm. The astounding success of this game is a clear indication of our UA strategies in action and how you can go the extra mile if your power level is over 9000. By tapping into the unique allure of this iconic series and shaping our campaigns to emphasize these characteristics, we've drawn in a vast and passionate player base. But the triumph isn't solely in the numbers; it's in the community that has emerged, the collective experiences of players globally, and the continuous interaction with the game's content. This success narrative showcases the transformative power of UA in morphing a mobile game into a worldwide community.

Success is not guaranteed, though. Let's go through everything that goes into a successful UA strategy in BNM.

Segmentation is a key player in our UA campaigns. It allows for tailored marketing efforts that strike a chord with specific audience groups. This approach has proven its mettle, especially when crafting native creatives for platforms like TikTok.

Each platform has its own unique quirks, and by understanding the preferences and behaviors of different audience segments, BNM can create targeted campaigns that resonate with potential users. This level of personalization can significantly improve conversion rates and user engagement.

Understanding player demographics is like peering through a unique lens each time you analyze a new audience group. For instance, IP popularity can swing wildly between countries. These regional preferences shape marketing strategies. A game that is popular in Japan might not have the same appeal in the United States or Europe. By understanding these regional differences, BNM can tailor its UA strategies to maximize their effectiveness in each market.

Choosing networks for campaigns isn't a shot in the dark. It weighs potential results, competition, audience demographics, traffic generation, campaign delivery experience, ad targeting technology, and level of support. Each network has its strengths and weaknesses, and the choice of network can significantly impact the success of a UA campaign. BNM's expertise in this area allows it to make informed decisions that yield the best results.

On top of all that, the dance between creatives and performance advertising is crucial.

It involves setting performance goals, refining creatives through A/B testing, and fine-tuning them to accurately represent the game.

The creatives are the face of the game, and they must be compelling enough to attract users while accurately representing what the game has to offer.

This process involves a lot of experimentation and refinement, but the results can significantly improve user acquisition rates.

TV advertising, influencer marketing, and branding strategies each play their part. Each element serves a unique purpose, adding to the overall success in attracting and retaining users.

TV advertising can reach a broad audience (and when we are talking about TV advertising, we are including cinema, streaming, and other forms of screen advertising), influencer marketing can leverage the power of social proof, and branding strategies can build a strong identity for the game.

These elements work together to create a comprehensive UA strategy that covers all bases.

Striking the right balance between voice and tone in advertising can be a tightrope walk. It involves a dynamic process of trial and error, where various styles are tested across different networks and audience groups. This is not about stumbling upon the 'perfect' voice by chance; it is a calculated strategy grounded in responsiveness to audience feedback and trends. BNM’s goal is to resonate with each game's potential player base, enhancing the effectiveness of the advertisement through a voice that speaks directly to them.

And last but definitely not least, adapting the UA strategy to a game's lifecycle is a must. BNM implements specific strategies at each stage, from pre-launch to maturity. It keeps a close eye on KPIs and makes data-driven adjustments. As the game evolves, so does the UA strategy. This dynamic approach ensures that the game continues to attract new users throughout its lifecycle.

Now that we've gone through most of the stages of a successful UA campaign, how about one more example?

Another testament to the power of UA at BNM is the success of a role-playing game rooted in a renowned anime and manga universe. This free-to-play mobile adventure, which immerses players in a world brought to life through thousands of manga chapters and a rich tapestry of anime episodes, has garnered over 100 million downloads globally since its inception. The game's success can be attributed to our understanding of the unique appeal of the franchise and our ability to tailor our campaigns to highlight these elements. It's not just a success story told through numbers; it's a testament to the vibrant characters and engrossing storyline that have captured the hearts of fans worldwide. And it's also about the community that has formed around it, the shared experiences of players around the world, and the ongoing engagement with the game's content.

And since we talked about ads and both our examples are from two of the biggest Japanese IPs, we should mention that creating ad creatives for a Western audience based on Japanese mobile games involves some level of cultural adaptation. It requires understanding Western cultural preferences, localizing ad creatives, highlighting universal appeal, visual adaptation, crafting messaging and storytelling, testing and refining, choosing the appropriate concept, format, and length, ensuring compliance and cultural sensitivity, and seeking collaboration and feedback. This is a key part of BNM's strategy for cultivating success across cultures. It's a process of understanding, adaptation, and refinement that allows BNM to successfully introduce Japanese mobile games to the Western market.

We must not forget that we are living in a peculiar age where privacy concerns are shaping consumer choices. It makes sense that a focus on privacy will shape the future of UA in mobile gaming.

Bandai Namco Mobile is ready to adapt and stay agile.

Staying on top will involve continuous experimentation, leveraging data insights, and fostering innovation. This forward-thinking approach is part of BNM's goal of laying the groundwork for a bright future.

UA at Bandai Namco is a fascinating journey. It's a blend of understanding the audience, careful strategizing, constant refining, and readiness to adapt to market trends. It's a journey we are navigating with expertise in order to connect with our fans in a way that feels (and is) genuine. Through our UA strategies, we are not just acquiring users; we are building communities and creating experiences that bring joy to people around the world. These success stories are a testament to the power of UA in the mobile gaming industry. By understanding our audience and tailoring our campaigns to their interests, we can attract a large and engaged player base, turning our games into global communities. This is the power of user acquisition at Bandai Namco Mobile.

This may seem out of place, but did we mention that Bandai Namco Mobile is Bandai Namco’s mobile spearhead in the West? How about that we are located in sunny Barcelona, the center of mobile gaming in Europe and one of the greatest European cities for expats? Bandai Namco Mobile is always on the lookout for talented professionals who are passionate about gaming and eager to make a difference in the industry. If you're ready to be a part of a team that's shaping the future of mobile gaming, we invite you to explore opportunities with us.

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Bandai Namco Mobile

Published: 09 November, 2023

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