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Harry Potter: Magic Awakened app icon

Harry Potter: Magic Awakened

Players explore Hogwarts.
Harry Potter: Magic Awakened
delivers ROAS.

Harry Potter: Magic Awakened ad on the App Store
In Harry Potter: Magic Awakened, players enroll at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn spells, duel with friends, and meet beloved characters on a journey to master magic. The app’s publisher, NetEase Games, boosted impressions, conversions, and return on ad spend around the globe with an Apple Search Ads multiple placement strategy across every phase of their marketing, from pre-order to launch
to postlaunch.

The Results

571% higher ROAS with an Apple Search Ads multiple placement strategy compared with other ad platforms they used.
243% increase in tap-through rate on search results campaigns after adding Today tab ads campaign1.
40% increase in brand-related search volume after adding Today tab ads campaign.
30% of total downloads were driven by Apple Search Ads during the pre-order phase.

The Challenge

To drive high-quality acquisition worldwide, the NetEase Games team needed to capture the attention of diverse audiences, including fans of the Harry Potter books and movies as well as both role-playing game (RPG) and collectible card game (CCG) enthusiasts. Leading up to the game’s launch, scaling brand awareness across markets was key to ensuring new player growth globally. In the competitive games category, the team also wanted to optimize for efficiency and ensure strong return on ad spend throughout every phase of their launch marketing strategy.

An Apple Search Ads strategy with multiple placements across the App Store increased both brand awareness and high-quality acquisition while driving return on ad spend that was 571% higher compared with other ad platforms we used.

The Solution

Capture early interest with a pre-order strategy.

In the 30 days leading up to the game’s release, the NetEase Games team invested in a pre-order campaign with Apple Search Ads to increase discovery and visibility on the App Store. When a customer downloads a pre-order app, it’s automatically installed on their device once the app becomes available. The team captured strong intent and drove awareness during the pre-order phase of their strategy, with search results campaigns focused on keyword expansion and their brand terms.
To further increase impressions and drive downloads, the NetEase Games team also ran ads on the Search tab and Today tab. “During pre-order, Today tab ad campaigns drove high impression volume and strong conversion rates,” says NetEase Games Global User Acquisition Director Qiao Xiang. “In fact, this multiple placement approach during pre-order helped drive 30 percent of new player downloads before the app even launched officially on the App Store,” says Xiang.

Boost brand exposure with ads on the Today tab and Search tab.

After the pre-order phase, the team at NetEase Games continued their strategy of complementing search results campaigns with multiple ad placements across the App Store. Featured at the top of the suggested apps list, ads on the Search tab influenced intent before people narrowed in on a search. “With Search tab ads, we increased brand exposure with core audiences and scaled high-quality acquisition at a low cost per tap,” says Xiang.
During the launch and postlaunch phases, Today tab ads offered a prominent placement on the front page of the App Store, reaching millions of people at the beginning of their app discovery journey. Within a month of running the Today tab ads, the NetEase Games team saw a 40 percent increase in brand-related search volume; the tap-through rate on search results campaigns also increased by 243 percent. “At every phase of our launch campaign, ads on the Today tab were a valuable branding opportunity and a powerful way to drive exposure and conversion,” says Xiang.

Optimize performance with insights.

To ensure the ongoing efficiency of their multiple placement strategy at every phase, the team at NetEase Games closely monitored campaign performance. They relied on impression share reports and cost-per-tap performance to inform bidding. To ensure consistent brand coverage and protection, they adjusted bids on both their brand terms and Search tab ads, especially when they launched in-app events. Apple Search Ads also provided insights on local search trends that helped the team better understand key markets and adjust strategies across platforms to improve overall advertising return on ad spend.
Team members found Apple Search Ads Certification helpful in improving campaign performance. “Certification helped us have a more comprehensive and systematic understanding of best practices and advanced optimization,” says Xiang. “We can better analyze and optimize existing campaigns to improve our cost efficiency and overall success. Certification is also an easy and effective way to train new members of our team who start managing Apple Search Ads.”

Company Snapshot

  • NetEase Games
  • Games category
  • Launched in 2001
  • Based in Guangzhou, China
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