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MapleStory M app icon

MapleStory M

Players band together.
MapleStory M
triples ROI.

MapleStory M ad on the App Store
MapleStory M is a fantasy role-playing game where players learn skills, defeat monsters, and band together to win rewards. With Apple Search Ads, the game’s developer NEXON was able to attract new audiences, triple ROI, and keep players engaged. 

The Results

7 days to exceed goals for revenue from in-app purchases.
350% better ROI than goals in 90 days.
2.5X better retention rate than new users from other platforms.

The Challenge

MapleStory is considered one of the first commercially successful online PC games. Sixteen years later, NEXON relaunched the classic game as an app, and team needed to recapture their original audience while introducing the game to a new generation of players. “We wanted to show original players that this game is timeless and relevant, and can be enjoyed in a whole new way on mobile devices,” says NEXON Japan Marketing Manager Tsutomu Morita.

The 90-day retention rate from Apple Search Ads customers was 2.5 times higher than
other platforms.

The Solution

Attract different audiences with keywords.

To attract fans who played the original game, the NEXON team focused on brand terms with Apple Search Ads, such as a shortened version of the game’s name, Maple. They focused on competitor terms and keywords specific to the fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) subcategory to expand discovery of their app to new audiences. 


“Within a week of running Apple Search Ads, we saw revenue break even with our ad spend,” explains Morita. “This allowed us to continue investing and gain insights with Search Match to reach brand-new players. We reached our three-month acquisition goal in half the time,” added NEXON Japan User Acquisition Manager Kosuke Tsuna.

Gain insights to optimize performance.

Apple Search Ads also offered the team at NEXON unexpected but invaluable insights. “By using Search Match, we found untapped potential with keywords related to other game subcategories, such as first-person shooter games,” says Morita. The team quickly learned they could increase discoverability with a brand-new audience unfamiliar with MapleStory M. “This real-time analysis helped us find a highly engaged audience, eager to play our game,” says Morita.


After the first three months of running Apple Search Ads campaigns in Japan, the NEXON team had exceeded their return on investment (ROI) goals by 350 percent. MapleStory M quickly became one of the top-downloaded games on the App Store in Japan.

Scale success to new markets.

After driving unmatched performance and a top rating on the App Store in Japan, the team set their sights on continued growth with Apple Search Ads. New updates will be added to MapleStory M monthly, providing more opportunities to raise app visibility with new players and keep existing players engaged. “Running campaigns with Apple Search Ads far exceeded our expectations and has given us the ability to identify trends for future success,” says Morita.


In addition to exceeding ROI goals, the NEXON team also found that the acquisition and retention rates among customers acquired through Apple Search Ads were higher than those acquired from other app promotion platforms. “The 90-day retention rate from Apple Search Ads customers was 2.5 times higher than other platforms.” says Tsuna.

Company Snapshot

  • Games category
  • Founded in 1994
  • Based in Tokyo, Japan
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