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Success Story

Nexon

User growth beyond limits: NEXON's journey with Appier from acquisition to re-engagement

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Nexon’s partnership with Appier is a testament to the power of AI to assist game publishers with their game launches. By leveraging Appier’s user acquisition solution AIBID, Nexon has successfully acquired high-value gamers from the first day of a game launch and ensured that they continue to contribute to the ROAS via in-app purchases. Even when gamers’ attention may turn to other titles, AIBID can identify the gamers that need a reminder to come back to the game and provide them with the nudge needed to re-engage with the game. 

About Nexon

Founded in 1994, NEXON Co., Ltd. (Nexon) (3659.TO) is a company engaged in the production, development and operation of online games and Virtual Worlds. First listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in December 2011, Nexon was placed on JPX400 in 2015 and added to the Nikkei Stock Index 300 in 2017. In 2020, Nexon was added to the Nikkei 225. Nexon currently has more than 50 live games in more than 190 countries on PC, console, and mobile. Major game franchises include MapleStory, KartRider and Dungeon&Fighter. In 2021, Nexon completed the acquisition of Embark Studios AB, a company based in Stockholm, Sweden, developing multiple projects for global release.

  • Industry: Mobile game
  • Company Size: Enterprise (over 7,000 employees)
  • Location: Korea
  • Goal: (1) Acquire high value users who are interested in the game title during the initial game launch to boost installs (2) Ensure the ROAS and retention rate

Products Used:

  • CrossX | High LTV User Acquisition & Engagement Platform

The Story

Nexon and Appier’s partnership has spanned 3 years, going all the way back to 2020. The two have worked together on some of Nexon’s biggest titles, making sure they succeed from Day 1. The engine behind this success is Appier’s AIBID, a user acquisition solution that focuses on identifying and targeting the most valuable gamers for each of the titles. For AIBID, success not only means increasing a game’s installs but also helping the game developer achieve a high return on ad spend (ROAS) and maintaining excellent retention rates.

Nexon leveraged AIBID for its Dungeon & Fighter mobile launch campaign to acquire high-value users and drive downloads from day one, while it employed AIBID for a user retargeting campaign for its Kartrider Rush+ game to increase user conversion rates (CVR) and drive more in-app purchases.

 

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Day 1: One chance to make an impact 

A game only has one chance at an introduction into the market. Given how saturated the market has become, many games are launched without making much noise. When Nexon released the latest version Dungeon & Fighter in 2022, it leveraged Appier’s AIBID to ensure that the game would acquire high-value gamers who were interested in the title to boost installs.

How does AIBID know which gamers would be interested in the game? It uses Appier’s proprietary AI audience model that analyzes users’ in-app behavior as well as the game’s app contextual data and marketing graphics to identify which kinds of users with what interests would install the game and play it seriously. 

As Nexon’s WooChang Lee put it, “The platform's ability to generate great installs right from Day 1 was impressive, and we experienced a consistent stream of high-quality users with excellent retention rates.”

From Week 1 to Week 4 of the Dungeon & Fighter mobile launch, the level completion rate increased by 6.9% and the number of in-app purchases increased by approximately 1.4X, which was a testament to the success of the campaign. Simply put, the gamers who installed the title continued to play the game with intent and made more and more in-app purchases along the way. 

 

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Beyond Day 30: Last chance to reignite interest 

Beyond the first month of a game launch, gamers’ interest in even the hottest game may start to wane as other competing games hit the market and vie for their attention. This was the case with Nexon’s KartRider Rush+, the mobile app version of its popular game KartRider. On the 45th day after the game launch, KartRider Rush+ experienced a downtrend in install numbers. To turn things around, Nexon deployed AIBID’s re-engagement feature. 

As with its user acquisition feature, AIBID’s re-engagement feature analyzes gamer’s behavior. It looks at 1) in-app purchases within the last 3 days, 2) completion of Level 25 of the game in 5 days, and 3) game opens of 5 or more times within any given day to figure out who are the gamers worth re-targeting. Once AIBID has established a list of these gamers, it will send a notification to remind them that there are more levels to conquer in the game. 

This approach proved particularly effective as those who were re-targeted contributed to an overall increase in conversion rate by 55% and increase in in-app purchases by 16%.

Lee underscored AIBID’s impressive capabilities and stated, “What truly impressed us was how AIBID helped us achieve the ROAS targets we had in place. AIBID has become an integral part of our user acquisition strategy, and we eagerly anticipate the continued success it will bring to other game titles.”

A successful long-term partnership

As Nexon and Appier have worked together, the former has adopted more and more of the latter’s new features. These include Appier’s 3D banners and in-banner videos, both of which are new creative formats that have proven to attract more attention and achieve higher conversions. The popularity of GenAI and Appier’s unique approach to GenAI in marketing will open new doors for the partnership with Nexon to try out new ways to amplify any future title launch. 

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