Note: The following is an analysis of a case study and does not involve any direct involvement in the campaign being discussed.
In the competitive world of gaming, effective marketing strategies are essential to capture the attention of potential players and build a loyal community. One such example is the highly successful influencer marketing campaign for the groundbreaking game, Honkai: Star Rail. Here, Vladimir, analyst at Zorka.Agency, and Ilia, Head of Strategy team, provided an in-depth analysis of the campaign, shedding light on the game’s features, the significance of influencer marketing, and the strategies employed by its publisher, HoYoverse.
Honkai: Star Rail’s appeal lies in its engaging gameplay, captivating storyline, and the opportunity for players to infuse their own personality into the game. Recognizing the importance of influencer marketing in introducing this gem to wider audiences, we would like to stress the role of influencers and bloggers in creating and nurturing specific expectations, generating excitement among potential players.
The game’s launch strategy unfolded in two stages: a pre-registration campaign in February, followed by the official launch in April. The initial goal was to reach 5 million pre-registrations, but to everyone’s astonishment, the campaign surpassed expectations, garnering over 8 million registrations. By integrating captivating graphics and engaging content in YouTube and Twitch videos, the campaign utilized a performance-based approach and effectively targeted gaming channels, resulting in an expansive reach and high audience engagement.
Brandformance is an integrated approach that aligns performance and brand teams, encouraging them to collaborate with shared thinking, vision, and key performance indicators (KPIs). This approach is a cost-effective strategy for big brands like HoYoverse that allows them to generate excitement and establish trust with the audience. Working with numerous influencers simultaneously ensured widespread coverage, dominating the YouTube feed. While the initial cost per install (CPI) may be higher, the long-term value (LTV) and average revenue per player justify the investment.
The effectiveness of dedicated videos in showcasing gameplay mechanics and overall game experience was a key aspect of the campaign. These videos provided influencers with creative freedom and allowed them to address any concerns or doubts the audience may have had. Furthermore, the target audience for Honkai: Star Rail primarily consisted of males (70%) aged 18 to 34, with a significant existing community of Genshin Impact players. By targeting Genshin Impact and anime-related channels, the launch campaign successfully tapped into the existing fan base, driving interest and conversions.
Brand awareness campaigns predominantly leveraged the power of Instagram and TikTok. Utilizing special hashtags and augmented reality (AR) elements, HoYoverse engaged with the audience and created offline events to enhance immersion. We would like to emphasize the importance of utilizing the game’s creative assets, such as characters and visual elements, to captivate the audience and fulfill their desire to be a part of the game’s immersive world.
Honkai: Star Rail’s influencer marketing campaign serves as an exemplary blueprint for gaming success. HoYoverse’s comprehensive approach, blending performance-based strategies, dedicated videos, and brand awareness efforts across various social media platforms, ensured the game.