How Rise of Kingdoms built ads around gamer motivations

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Rise of Kingdoms on building successful ads with gamer motivations in mind

Avid players of simulation games (SLG) are increasingly discerning when it comes to discovering new games to play. As such, commonly used marketing strategies in the gaming industry are no longer as effective.

Beyond traditional advertising concepts, Rise of Kingdoms target potential gamers with interest in the genre by delving deeper into their motivations.

In the present climate, both game design and ad design are being produced with gamer motivations in mind. This way, marketing communication can be aligned with the specific target audience.

A few things to note:

Firstly, this analysis is based on Creadits’ own hypothesis, and not on actual data from the game publisher. 

Secondly, the Quantic Foundry Gamer Motivation Model will be used to convey the idea that advertisers are aware of user motivations, and utilise it to come up with creative strategies.

Lastly, we are unaware if the publishers utilise this model as well, but here at Creadits we have seen much success in helping our gaming clients conceptualise based on this model.

Source: Quantic Foundry

Summary of findings

We started by examining RoK’s recent ads through Facebook’s Ad Library, analysing its narrative, the hook of the video within three seconds, creative elements, as well as the potential targeted personas.

After analysing various creatives, we’ve found that the key gamer motivation utilised in these ads was the component of Creativity – comprising Discovery & Design elements. 

Moreover, the game itself encompasses elements of immersion, achievement & mastery to varying degrees. However, these are not major themes in the ads being discussed.

In all, RoK’s ads feature different narratives and overall visual direction based on each distinct unique selling proposition (USP). 

We have thus consolidated and segmented our findings into the examples below.

Main Idea: Starting a kingdom anew

Hook Within 3s: Escaping enemy lines

Story: Enemy troops force the kingdom to flee by ship, where they chance upon an island that they are able to rebuild their life on.

Emphasis: Resilience and rebuilding.

Creative Elements: Casual narration style, where the voiceover gives context to what is happening. There are also quick cuts, where the story is able to progress quickly.

Persona: Enjoys a challenge and the fulfilment of building something from scratch.

Quantic Foundry Targeted Motivation: Creativity, Immersion, Mastery

Main Idea: Invasion causes relocation

Hook Within 3s: Enemy upends normal village life

Story: Enemy forces invade a defenceless village, leaving them to flee for their lives. After finding a new location to settle in, the villagers start anew, uncovering resources and rebuilding their lives there.

Emphasis: Finding new places to rebuild based on resources.

Creative Elements: Showcasing gameplay mechanics, diegetic sound for added effect, overlaid with music for added pacing, as well as speeding up elements to tell the story better.

Persona: Revels in strategy, discovery and constant rebuilding and improvement.

Quantic Foundry Targeted Motivation: Creativity, Immersion, Mastery

Main Idea: Choosing to abandon village to start afresh

Hook Within 3s: Making a decision after being attacked

Story: The fort of the castle comes under attack from the enemy. The player chooses to abandon the building instead of defending it and blows up the connecting bridge, setting sail for another island to rebuild the civilisation.

Emphasis: The ability to decide one’s fate in the game as the player wishes, and the ease of rebuilding.

Creative Elements: Use of gameplay mechanics to show how the game is being played, added humour in the voiceover to make light of an intense situation in the game.

Persona: For the casual gamer who is impulsive and not as bothered with consequences.

Quantic Foundry Targeted Motivation: Creativity

Main Idea: Overcoming the trials and tribulations to dominate

Hook Within 3s: Escaping destruction

Story: A village appears to be burning to the ground due to an invasion from enemy forces. Villagers watch as their houses become destroyed as they escape underground. When the coast is clear, they emerge from the ground, working together to rebuild their kingdom.

Emphasis: The emotional journey from war, and overcoming the odds to succeed

Creative Elements: Dramatisation of events, and suspenseful music, interspersed with how the game is played. Additional elements from the editing, which includes a break (filled with RoK’s accolades) to mark the turning point of the script.

Persona: Gamers who are invested in the narrative and enjoy the cinematic storytelling aspect of the game. As the voiceover is in French, the target audience is likely to be French-speaking.

Quantic Foundry Targeted Motivation: Creativity, Immersion

Main Idea: Villagers coming together for a bigger purpose

Hook Within 3s: Finding out where the villagers are headed to

Story: A “day in the life” type of video that shows us what goes on in the kingdom. Villagers get on board an underground wagon, which sets the scene for us — we see villagers mining, building, farming — working together to flourish as a kingdom.

Emphasis: A sense of community and team spirit

Creative Elements: Mix of animation and gameplay to tell the story, overlaid with light-hearted music to showcase the casual gaming aspect of it

Persona: A light-hearted gamer and team player who enjoys the many aspects of running a kingdom, from mining to farming

Quantic Foundry Targeted Motivation: Creativity, Immersion

Main Idea: Turning around from adversity

Hook Within 3s: Villager in agony from torture

Story: Villagers are tied up and beaten by enemy forces. They are eventually saved, and begin their reconstruction of the village, where they begin building up resources to turn their lives around.

Emphasis: Overthrowing the troops who held the villagers hostage

Creative Elements: A mixture of animation with gameplay to help tell the story better, whilst showing how players can navigate the game. Voiceover and script elements — such as “兄弟们” which translates to “brothers” — carries the narrative of togetherness, showcasing the idea of camaraderie.

Persona: Chinese-speaking players who are highly driven by the story of a game, and bear a strong moral compass to make choices against the forces of evil during gameplay. Gamers also enjoy taking the lead when it comes to strategic choices, for example, rallying fellow troops for a common goal.

Quantic Foundry Targeted Motivation: Immersion, Mastery

Main Idea: Civilisations in battle through the ages

Hook Within 3s: Scenes of battle, where villagers hunt animals

Story: From battling mammoths in the stone age with bows and arrows, to modern day warfare using guns and helicopters, the viewer is taken on a journey of battle through the different ages through vivid transitions that guide them along the way.

Emphasis: The evolution of battle and the different time periods available for play in RoK.

Creative Elements: Quick battle scenes with clear visual distinctions (and evolution) through the ages. Dramatic music paces the video and showcases the different elements of battle.

Persona: A gamer that enjoys variety in gameplay, avid fan of war and history.

Quantic Foundry Targeted Motivation: Immersion, Action

Creativity is key

Above all, their visual directions were crafted to primarily appeal to personas that value the element of building, creating & decorating their own kingdom. Secondary motivations were featured as well, but to a smaller extent. 

Perhaps the idea of creation resonates more with this pool of targeted users, leading to higher conversions. As a result, this in turn generates higher revenue as well, as players pay more emphasis on decorating, which can be easily acquired through in-app purchases. 

As mentioned prior, this analysis is limited to the ones we’ve found that match the Creativity motivation. We’ve found other ads they’ve done that cater primarily to other motivations, but that remains to be discussed another time. 

In Conclusion

By looking at RoK’s available figures, which span from the number of global users to their consumer spend, we were able to see how effective their creative strategy and concepts were in terms of user acquisition in global markets.

Thus, we recommend developing a creative testing framework based on the gamer motivations framework to find out which motivations lead to achieving different KPIs –  from app install to driving LTV.