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Wild Rift Analysis: The Wild Success of the Mobile LoL Game

(This article has been originally published on Udonis’ blog.)

In our League of Legends: Wild Rift analysis, I cover the wild success of the mobile version of the popular PC game.

Here’s what the analysis includes:

  • League of Legends: Wild Rift KPIs
  • Advertising strategy
  • Top-performing creatives
  • App Stores analysis
  • Organic user acquisition
  • Tips and lessons from the game

Let’s get started!

About League of Legends: Wild Rift

League of Legends: Wild Rift by Riot Games is a mobile version of the famous PC game. It’s a strategy 5v5 MOBA game, released in October 2020. In the US, it was released on March 29th, 2021.

Some already call it the best MOBA game for mobile. This is a clue as to how popular this game already is.

How Successful Is League of Legends: Wild Rift?

To see just how successful League of Legends has been in this short time of release, let’s look at some metrics.

I have included important KPIs like the number of downloads, revenue, DAU, user retention, average session length, session count, and time spent.

All-Time League of Legends: Wild Rift Downloads by Country

In less than six months from its release, League of Legends: Wild Rift was downloaded more than 38 million times. It’s a great result in such a short amount of time.

The biggest spike in downloads happened in December, shortly after the release, when downloads reached almost 10 million. It was a good start.

After that, there was a decline in downloads. However, this doesn’t mean the game is done with acquiring users. In fact, it’s only getting started. It’s normal for downloads to fluctuate.

After the March US release, there was another spike in downloads. The game was downloaded 17 million times from March, up until now.

Most downloads so far came from Brazil, the Philippines, South Korea, and other Asian countries. You might be surprised the United States are not on this list. That’s due to the game being released there very recently.

All-Time League of Legends: Wild Rift Revenue by Country

League of Legends earned Riot Games $24 million since the late 2020 release, which is an impressive start.

In November 2020, shortly after the release, the revenue went up to $4 million. In December 2020, it was even higher — $5 million.

There was another smaller spike in March, after the US release, when the net revenue reached $7.5 million.

That’s all due to a smart monetization strategy. You can read all about it here.

The biggest chunk of revenue came from South Korea, the US, and Taiwan. Interestingly, while only 4% of downloads came from the US so far, 14% of net revenue came from this market. On the other hand, while 16% of revenue came from South Korea, it accounted for 9% of downloads.

Wild Rift Daily Active Users (DAU)

Where this game really shines is the DAU metric. From December 2020, until now, League of Legends had between 1.4 and 1.6 million daily active users, which is impressive for a new game.

Wild Rift Demographics

On Android, 72% of League of Legends players are male. The other 28% of players are female.

When it comes to age demographics, 30% of players are younger than 25. 44% of players fall into the 25–34 age bracket. 26% of Wild Rift players are older than 35. Moreover, 31 is the average age of a League of Legends player.

User Retention

Moving on to user retention, a crucial metric for mobile games that shows how many players remain after a certain amount of time.

After the first day, almost 53% of Wild Rift players keep playing. It’s outstanding considering the top 2% of strategy games have day one retention of about 50%. (GameAnalytics)

Day 7 user retention for Wild Rift is 23%. Once again, it puts this game among the top 2% of strategy games, which retain 22–28% of players after a week. (GameAnalytics)

After 30 days, 9% of players remain. Now, this is where Wild Rift could do a bit better, even though this is a good 30-day retention. To put things into perspective, the top 2% of strategy games retain between 14 and 21% of users after a month. The top 25% of games retain about 4% on average. (GameAnalytics)

Session Count

This metric tells us how many times per day users play League of Legends.

Most users play just once a day (35%). Half of that (15%), play two times a day. There are 12% of users who play 9–14 times a day on average.

Average Session Duration

30% of LoL users play for 10–30 minutes per average session. That means a lot of Wild Rift players are very engaged with the game and prefer longer sessions, which is common for strategy games.

25% of users play for 3–10 minutes and 16% play for 1–3 minutes per average session.

Time Spent

This metric tells us how much time users spend playing per day. 23% play for 10–30 minutes, 18% play for 3–10 minutes, and 12% play for as much as 30–60 minutes a day on average.

Wild Rift Analysis: Advertising Strategy

Even though League of Legends’ advertising is still ramping up, we’re going to look at its advertising strategy so far. Granted, it’s easier to advertise a mobile version of a popular PC game because many players are already familiar with it.

However, a large number of mobile gamers don’t play PC games and vice versa. Some are not familiar with it. Because of that, Riot Games needs to make this game appealing to two distinct groups.

One group is PC gamers who might have played LoL on their computer — the goal is to make them play on mobile as well. Another group is mobile gamers who might’ve never heard about this game before.

This poses a unique challenge. Let’s see how Riot Games tackled it.

Influencer Campaign

Early on, when the game opened up the beta access for Korea, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand, Riot Games ran influencer ads. The influencer campaign featured Korean superstars like Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, Park “Teddy” Jin-seong, and Lee”CloudTemplar” Hyun-woo.

You can see one example of it above. Its purpose was to hype up the game and present it to Korean players.

South Korea is one of the main target markets for League of Legends. And as we have seen earlier in the article, a significant portion of downloads and revenue come from this country.

Wild Rift Analysis: Top-Performing Creatives

In this section of our Wild Rift analysis, I’m going to dissect top-performing creatives for this game. It will show you what advertising techniques Riot Games uses to acquire more users.

Overall, LoL ads have a high production value. They’re often a mix of cinematics and gameplay footage. A lot of emphasis is put on characters (champions) and their unique abilities.

League of Legends Ad #1

The first 10 seconds of this 30-second video ad include high-production-value cinematic scenes. When I say high-production value, I truly mean it — the scenes look exquisite. This is the perfect way to hook viewers in right from the start. They depict an adrenaline-fueled fight between champions.

Then the creative transitions to gameplay footage, which is commendable. Many publishers opt for cinematics only, which tends to misrepresent the game.

Riot Games went a different way. While there are cool cinematic scenes at the beginning, there’s also gameplay footage that shows players what the game looks like. It’s refreshing to see.

The gameplay footage is equally exciting and demonstrates how fun MOBA games are. To finish off the ad, there’s a short scene depicting Jinx, looking badass with her weapon.

This ad has everything — cool cinematics, exciting gameplay footage, and an array of champions. It’s fast-paced, dynamic, and exhilarating — just like the game.

League of Legends Ad #2

Notice that this ad is quite similar — it uses the same cinematic scenes. However, in this one, there’s no gameplay footage.

This is a good example of an ad variation. When creating video ads, it’s important to have multiple versions of the same ad concept. It helps you A/B test different ads to identify the ones that perform better.

League of Legends Ad #3

The main hook of this Wild Rift video creative is the champions, who appear in the first few seconds of the game. We meet Miss Fortune, Sona, and Master Yi, all of which look fantastic in these cinematic scenes.

In the remaining part of the creative, we’re introduced to even more champions. However, the scenes are mixed with gameplay footage. That way, we see a champion in all of its cinematic glory, but also what he or she looks like in actual gameplay and combat.

As a viewer, I appreciate Riot Games consistently including gameplay footage because it allows me to see what the game is about and how it looks. It’s not misleading in any way, like many competitor ads — there’s a clear distinction between cinematic scenes and real gameplay footage.

Regarding the content of this creative, it makes sense to create ads where the champions are the focal point. After all, this is the main appeal of the game. Every champion has different abilities and skills players need to master and use strategically.

League of Legends Ad #4

This ad creative follows the same recipe as many other League of Legends ads — it’s a mix of cinematic scenes that depict champions and recorded gameplay edited together. It focuses on several very attractive female characters — we see them both model and fight.

Music is also very important for Wild Rift ads. In this case, it’s a trendy upbeat song — it makes the two female characters look like they’re in a pop band. Overall, Wild Rift creatives look and sound very cool and youthful. It’s because they’re targeting a young Gen Z audience. As you might remember, 30% of Wild Rift players are younger than 25.

League of Legends Ad #5

This is a variation of the previous ad. More specifically, it’s a bit shorter version of the previous ad and it’s vertical, not landscape.

Even though this ad is vertical (mobile full screen), the footage itself is confined to a square, superimposed on a simple white and blue background. There’s the League of Legends: Wild Rift logo at the top, and a “Play now!” CTA at the bottom.

League of Legends Ad #6

Even though this ad is different from the rest, it still follows the same concept and theme as the rest.

Cinematic scenes of champions lead into gameplay footage of them during fights. It’s a recipe that seems to work well for Wild Rift at the moment.

However, it can get a bit repetitive. After watching a couple of these ads, I already knew what was coming. That element of surprise tends to get lost.

The positives are that I got introduced to many exciting champions in this and other creatives. All of them look spectacular which made me interested in playing them and learning what their skills are.

For more info on how to advertise a strategy game, go here.

Wild Rift Analysis: Organic User Acquisition

While paid user acquisition brings the majority of players to a mobile game, developers shouldn’t disregard organic user acquisition. It’s a free, but effective way of getting more downloads.

To get a better sense of League of Legends’ organic user acquisition strategy, I have dissected its app store pages and ASO elements. Additionally, I have included some info on LoL’s social media channels and website.

App Store Pages: ASO Elements

In this section of our Wild Rift analysis, I’m going to dissect this game’s app store elements — game title, icon, app promo video, screenshots, and keywords.

As you probably know, app store optimization drives organic user acquisition — a free way to get more users. However, it also supports paid user acquisition as users who click on ads are sent to the game’s Google Play or App Store pages.

Game Title

Since this is a mobile version of the popular PC game, League of Legends, it’s only logical to use that brand name. The Wild Rift part of the title is a reference to Summoner’s Rift, the PC LoL map the game was named after.

Game Icon

LoL’s game icon features Jynx, a popular female character who has a role of a marksman.

The icon follows a tried-out recipe for strategy games — a portrait of a game character, head half-turned, with an animated facial expression. This seems to work for all popular strategy games, so why fix something that’s not broken?

Moreover, the colors are quite striking, which makes the icon stand out. Jynx is famous for her electric blue hair, which is the color of the background as well. While a contrast between the hair and the background would also be visually appealing, this monochromatic style is also quite striking.

App Promo Video

When talking about organic user acquisition, an app promo video is perhaps the most important element of a game’s app store page.

Why?

It drives the most conversions out of all other elements.

League of Legends’ promo video doesn’t disappoint. As you might expect, it has a very high production value. It’s all about gameplay footage, which is recommended by both Apple and Google. Viewers get to see the incredible champions in action during high-action MOBA scenes.

It makes the game look fun, exciting, and unique.

Images

The app store images are also high-quality. Their visually appealing diagonal design features screenshots from the game, champions, and captions that highlight different features.

If you’re wondering what the graphics for a game’s app store pages should look like — this is it. They’re perfect.

Social Media

League of Legends is present on four major social media networks — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

All four social media pages offer a wide range of interesting League of Legends content — videos about champions, amazing game art, wallpapers, updates and news, dev diaries, and much more.

The most popular League of Legends content (both for the PC and mobile version) are music videos. The music comes from the fictional female pop group K/DA comprised of LoL characters. Their first release POP/STARS currently has 430 million views on YouTube.

Because of that, it comes as no surprise that engagement for Wild Rift is amazing on all channels.

  • YouTube — 748k subscribers
  • Facebook — 825k followers
  • Instagram — 209k followers
  • Twitter — 294k subscribers

All this aids organic user acquisition in a big way. Plus, it keeps existing players engaged.

Website

One might not think a game’s website is particularly important for user acquisition.

But let me tell you, if done right, it can significantly boost downloads.

The website for League of Legends: Wild Rift is a prime example of that. It serves as a central information hub for this game. If you have any questions about the game, you’ll most likely find the answers you need on LoL’s website.

There’s info on the game’s objective, champions, controls & abilities, and game modes.

The landing page consists of a game trailer, app store links, newsletter signup, updates, and news. As you scroll down, the main game features and benefits are outlined one by one.

All of it is designed in a very visually appealing way. I think many people who land on LoL’s website will get an urge to try this game.

Wild Rift Analysis: 3 Things You Can Learn From This Game

Let’s finish off our Wild Rift analysis with some lessons from the game.

1. Speak to Target Audience Demographics Through Creatives

When making creatives for mobile games, it’s important to consider both gamer motivations/interests and their age and gender.

In the case of League of Legends: Wild Rift, this game’s main audience are Gen Z and Millennials, mostly men. Thus, the creatives need to be fun, youthful, and cool. These audiences wouldn’t respond to a slow-paced, relaxing ad with piano music.

Furthermore, creatives need to reflect gameplay and be designed according to gamer motivations.

For instance, one of the main USPs of Wild Rift is an impressive roster of champions that are available for play and exciting 5v5 strategic combat.

It makes sense that Riot Games is demonstrating both in their ads. They’re, of course, targeting gamers who love MOBA games primarily. However, they also target gamers with a specific interest in game characters, their skills, abilities, and upgrades. Additionally, they’re targeting gamers who love 5v5 battles, and the multiplayer aspect of the game.

2. Combine Cinematics and Gameplay Footage

While Riot Games includes cinematic scenes in League of Legends ads, most creatives also include gameplay footage. That’s a really good strategy.

It’s no secret that cinematic scenes look cool and make the ads more interesting. Furthermore, there’s no doubt they attract many new players.

However, when ads consist solely of cinematics, there’s the danger of disappointing players once they download the game.

My advice to developers is, if you want to include cinematic scenes, at least edit them together with gameplay footage, just like we’ve seen in LoL ads. That way your creatives will still look really cool, but you’ll avoid misleading players.

3. Avoid Repetitive Ads — Expand Your Creative Production

Here’s the thing.

League of Legends ads that are currently running are quite good. There’s no doubt they will attract a lot of new players.

However, at this point of Riot Game’s advertising strategy for LoL, the creatives lack some range. First, there aren’t enough of them in terms of unique creatives. Secondly, the ads that are currently running tend to get a bit repetitive, as they’re quite similar and follow the same recipe.

I’m guessing LoL’s advertising will ramp up in the next few months and offer more range, following the US release. But as of now, their creatives are a bit limited. In other words, LoL’s advertising strategy still didn’t reach its full potential.

The lesson here is — come up with as many different ideas and concepts for creatives as you can. Furthermore, create different variations for each creative. Avoid repetitiveness, and get creative.

A good strategy is to create ads for each game feature or benefit, instead of featuring all of them in one ad.

Let’s take LoL as an example.

Some ads could be all about presenting different champions and their abilities. Others could focus primarily on exciting MOBA gameplay. For this type of game, ads that explain how the game is played could be beneficial. And so on.

But make sure to use your creativity to present those features in many different ways to avoid the ads getting repetitive or boring. Ad fatigue is a real thing.

Final Thoughts on League of Legends: Wild Rift

We have come to the end of our Wild Rift analysis. What’s clear is that Wild Rift is already a massively successful game, even though it’s very new. Developers can learn a lot about user acquisition from this MOBA game.

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