In recent years, Vietnam has exponentially risen in prominence as a highly connected market and one that holds immense potential for all manner of brands and advertisers. In a population of 97.75 million, just over 70% of Vietnamese are internet users and an even higher percentage of 16 to 64-year-olds own a smartphone.
Beyond the country’s robust digital and mobile penetration, close to half of them are on TikTok – which is amongst the fastest-growing apps in the world, and one that holds significant entertainment and social value for many individuals. As the platform continues to grow in reach and influence for a broad range of everyday users, TikTok undoubtedly presents strong opportunities to reach diverse audiences, including game developers keen to engage with hyper-casual gamers.
However, TikTok comes with its unique characteristics and challenges, including discerning audience palates, dwindling attention spans and seemingly-infinite content streams. This means that brands and companies across all verticals must conceptualise and execute outstanding, differentiated campaigns to cut through the clutter and attract audience eyeballs – or run the risk of being lost in the crowd.
How then can game developers differentiate themselves from the competition, connect with viewers to remain top of mind, and drive greater awareness and conversions with their target audience?Here are some top tips.
Understand audience nuances
Developers that build a comprehensive understanding of target audience nuances, and leverage these unique traits to launch customised creatives, will vastly improve memorability and engagement. Apart from familiarising themselves with the basic demographic profile of hyper-casual gamers today (such as age and gender), knowing their motivations for playing certain games and what creatives appeal to them can also inform developers about potential areas of focus. For instance, players may be drawn by uncomplicated game mechanisms or visually-pleasing designs of in-game realms.
Nativex demonstrated the importance of understanding user preferences through a partnership with Amanotes, to boost its app’s position in the music game charts. By running extensive tests to determine the creative formats and engagement times that worked best, Nativex was able to customise creatives and increase brand exposure and engagement. Guided by such insights-driven preferences, game developers can then prominently feature the corresponding elements in their creatives on TikTok, in order to better engage with prospective users.
Demonstrate in-game progression
Another way developers can appeal to the hyper-casual gamer is by demonstrating a game’s progression, to showcase various appealing aspects of a game, such as a storyline, progression, award structure and mechanics. Since hyper-casual gamers tend to gravitate towards games with simple gameplay and straightforward rules, potential gamers are likely to watch gameplay demonstrations to get a grasp of how the game works before trying it out for themselves.
Developers can walk their viewers through the game by using a variety of content formats. This includes:
- Having two gameplays in parallel to showcase different game modes with varying levels of difficulty. Improved and newer gameplays can also be featured to highlight new iterations of the game.
- Running voiceover ads to drive the story that a game wants to tell. Instructions on how to play the game can be narrated in a voiceover to enhance the game’s storytelling element.
- Employing cross-genre creatives to highlight how games are no longer limited to a single genre but can incorporate elements from seemingly unlikely genres.
Employ pop culture references
Lastly, tapping on trending pop culture references is a quick and effective method to help hyper-casual games gain further traction. For instance, game developers have ridden on the hype around the wildly popular Netflix series Squid Game to launch related apps and drive traction. However, capitalising on the latest pop culture trends is not usually as easy as it sounds. Companies that wish to leverage trending movies and television series have to be quick to act since ad creatives require a quick turnaround time and have to be shared within a matter of days – as a result, developers and their agencies typically only have a short lead time to successfully plan for and launch ads. Bearing this in mind, game developers should take into account available resources and carefully manage time lines before committing to these creatives.
Leverage key opinion leaders
When planning their creative strategy, game developers can engage key opinion leaders to showcase their games, through avenues such as paid partnerships and live streaming sessions. As key opinion leaders usually bring with them a large and established base of followers, they can play a pivotal role in increasing exposure levels (such as exponentially increasing video content views), building brand awareness and enhancing engagement. Developers can leverage their popularity to amplify the reach and effectiveness of game demonstration videos by adding human elements to these ads. However, it is worth noting that engaging key opinion leaders will likely incur additional costs, and game developers should explore how campaign dollars can be stretched when incorporating key opinion leaders.
As with every emerging market, game developers keen to tap into the market’s growth potential will have to understand the intrinsic differences between each country. Game developers eager to break into the Vietnamese market cannot assume a one-size-fits-all approach but will have to tailor creative strategies to user preferences. Brands that can leverage the unique characteristics of the Vietnamese gamer and incorporate these tips into their creative strategy will be successful in ensuring the top of mind brand awareness and engaging the hyper-casual gamer segment.