Recently, the Apple App Store ranking algorithm is under major adjustment, therefore apps may find their ranking fluctuating a lot in free, paid, and top grossing lists. Starting from 16 February, many paid games have entered top 10 in top grossing list. For example, in United States,  Game of War, Mobile Strike and Clash Royale have given away their top 3 positions to Minecraft: Pocket Edition, NBA 2K17, Bloons TD 5, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Especially, Minecraft: Pocket Edition and NBA 2K17 were originally ranked 100+ on top grossing, however both have significantly improved since 16 February and have replaced Machine Zone and SupperCell to become the top 2 games.

Picture 1: Apple top grossing list in US, 19 February

SocialPeta, a big data based social marketing tool has captured these changes and has tracked details of social marketing and advertising of these paid games. Among them, Minecraft: Pocket Edition has focused on image and carousel creatives for their Facebook ads. All their creatives have pixel sytle, which is consistent with the style of the game.

Picture 2: Minecraft: Pocket Edition ads creatives on Facebook

NBA 2K17 targets those who like to play basketball, mainly 18-34 year old male from USA, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. They have invested heavily on Facebook ads. SocialPeta has captured a very interesting and good performing video ad as following. It showcases the way to play the game. User take a selfie picture; become a role in the game; and then play basketball together with stars as a “card”. The video ad has integrated many key elements of the game, such as playing together with basketball stars and becoming a basketball player with user’s own photo, etc. It is visually attractive and set the right expectation with potential users. What they see from the ad is the same experience as what they will experience in the game.

Picture 3: NBA 2K17’s video ad on Facebook

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas’s good performing Facebook ads are mostly carousel ads, with high saturation and warm colors. High saturation and warm colors are easier to capture people’s attention when they online on mobile. Most people tend to glimpse their social platforms every day and won’t pay attention until they find something visually interesting or eye catching. Creatives with high saturation and warm colors are more likely to capture their attention so they will look into the ad.

Picture 4: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas ads on Facebook

By 21 February, the ranking of these paid games have declined a bit, and Machine Zone and Supercell have secured their top positions again in App app store. Store ranking and ASO (App Store Optimization) is very important for games to get organic installs and increase revenue, however Apple’s algorithm change is something uncontrollable. While we keep a close eye on latest store ranking change and explore ASO rules, it is also key for game developers and publishers to leverage social marketing and social ads to acquire high quality users.