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Top strategies for boosting your Hypercasual Games Ranking

Date

09/03/2022

Written by

Airnow
Download trends in Category Casual Games in January 2022. Source: App Radar ASO Tool

As the app game industry is significantly growing, more developers are trying to launch their games in app stores. Meanwhile, high competition in game categories makes it more difficult for new apps to stand out. In this article, we will uncover 4 hypercasual game strategies for better ranking and hitting the top charts.

The baseline for hypercasual game success

Before you start to invest your time and efforts in bringing your hypercasual games to the top charts, let’s first cover the basics in how top charts work and what your game is a must-have.

How do the top charts work

The algorithm of top charts is based on daily downloads of apps in each category and sub-categories. App Stores analyze average daily downloads in a period of 3 to 5 days, and based on it pushes leading apps on top of charts. In other words, the game with the most downloads will be leading its category but it can change once another game has more downloads.

In order to enter the Free Top 10, you have to have a minimum of daily downloads. The number of downloads might vary in each category, sub-category, and in different countries.

Keep in mind that categories are also split up into different sub-categories. Apple App Store and Google Play Store have slightly different categorizations, however, they also have overall categories like Free and Paid.
Categories and sub-categories in Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Source: App Radar

It is also important to highlight that top charts are unique per country. It means that every country has its own top charts. That definitely gives a lot of opportunities for app marketers and developers to localize their hypercasual games and hit the top charts in different countries.

Top Charts dashboard. Source: App Radar ASO Tool

How to rank in top charts: cover the basics

It might not come as a surprise but we have to stress it: if you want to be featured on top charts, your game should be of a decent quality. Even if you can notice sometimes that top charts are showing apps with a low-quality development, it is not a long-term strategy that we recommend you to follow. User experience always needs to be a priority for you if you plan to be in the app business for a long time.

Based on App Radar’s experience, we can also highlight that the easier the user experience you provide within your game, the more downloads you can potentially have. In other words, make it easy to start for your players. Here are some main points that will help you to create a good user experience for your hypercasual games:

  • Instant gameplay (no login or registration)

  • Minimalistic - easy to understand = opening up for a wider audience

  • FUN - especially if you’re not a hardcore gamer

  • Rewarded ads as a base monetization

  • Remove payment walls, if possible

Also, remember that timing is everything! If your game is hitting trending topics, it will make it easier to gain traction. Moreover, seasonality and worldwide hot topics are also influencing app downloads, which means increasing your chances to be featured in the top charts. According to POKKT analysis, monthly game downloads have increased by 22% since the global pandemic, whereas in pre-COVID time the growth was only 5%.

Ranking Strategies for Hypercasual Games

The main goal of every app marketer is to attract users and increase the number of app downloads. The more downloads your game has, the more chances your app will have ranking #1. It also leads to having more chances to be featured for a long time in the top charts. For this reason, the smarter you combine different marketing channels, the less money you will need to pay and the better results in downloads you will have.

App Store Top Charts Impact

Research trends

Before you start creating a top chart ranking strategy for your game, we recommend taking a look at the trending topics in your target app stores. It will give you an overview of the markets, categories, and performance of your competitors. Your main goal here is to identify the successful and failed patterns of other games.

In order to research app trends, you can analyze Download Trends in a specific category. Compare a couple of months and highlight which apps increased, decreased, or stayed stable in their downloads. Analyze their store listing and find some winning patterns.


Also, take a look at Top Charts to better understand who is leading your target category in your target countries. Keep in mind that top charts are changing frequently, therefore, pay attention to analyzed timing. You can highlight here if there are any new trending games entering the competition because of a specific seasonality.

Last but not least in your trends: researching trending keywords. You need to analyze the app store search volume of certain keywords to estimate target audience size.

Here is one trick that some app marketers use: check the search volume for keywords relating to big movie releases, holidays, etc. Find trending keywords with a good search volume and base your game theme on these trending keywords. And don’t forget to optimize store listing for it. Striking the balance between search volume and difficulty score is imperative to a successful launch.

App Keyword Finder dashboard. Source: App Radar ASO tool

Launching with a big bang

You might think that developing an app is the hardest part, however, truth to be told- app stores aren’t an easy place to make money anymore. Therefore, launching your hypercasual games should have a smart strategy along with supportive marketing actions.

While launching your game, we recommend you do the so-called ‘soft launch’. In other words, don’t try to cover all potential markets for your game at once. Rather test your app in 1-3 countries maximum and analyze how it performs. Pay attention to the app store listing and localization. If you launch your app in a couple of different geos, you should also localize, and potentially cuturalize, your app and store listing. Remember that your main goal is to create a store listing that converts visitors into downloads.

As we already mentioned, pay attention to timing. You don’t want to launch your app on the same day a AAA game launches. Competition with high-leading apps is not what your new app is looking for at this stage. Also, if your game is not specifically seasonal, we recommend avoiding the seasonal time for launching an app. For instance, there were 2x more casual game installs in March 2021 compared to December 2020. In this case, people prefered to download apps with Christmas themes in December.

Another important part of launching a casual game app is preparing a marketing strategy. Besides all promotional channels that you can afford, we also recommend taking a closer look at Influencer marketing. You can go with an advanced strategy and develop your game in cooperation with influencers. In this case, you either cooperate with them on a game concept or add them as characters to your game. Keep in mind that cooperation like this might involve some legal settlements, but nevertheless, it is worth proceeding with cooperation on a clear legal base.

If your app is already developed, then try a classical influencer marketing campaign. First of all, do your research and choose not only one influencer. It is better to test different Influencer’ audiences than put all your hopes in one bullet. Use influencer platforms like Influenz or Influence to find influencers that will promote your game.

User Acquisition

Gaining new users for your new game is as important as developing a high-quality app. You have to decide how much effort will you put into acquiring users through organic and paid channels. In an ideal situation, you have time and budget for both.

However, we always highlight the importance of organic UA as it has a direct impact on conversion rate. Moreover, organic UA helps you stay on the top charts and gain organic downloads. Here are some tips on how you can increase organic UA:

  • Use your findings from trends research: execute on it by using the right keywords in store listing

  • Localize your store listing’s content

  • Cool gameplay video for preview is SUPER important as well as high-quality screenshots
    • A/B test your video (use video already as onboarding to your game mechanics)

  • Analyze & optimize CVRs within app stores

Along with organic UA, invest in paid UA. You need to know that your budget and choosing the right platform for ads are crucial for acquiring new users. There are many platforms where you can run ads, but not all are fittable for your game. Think about your audience first: who they are and where they spend their online time. Based on your findings, decide whether you will go with App Store Advertising (Apple Search Ads or Google App Campaigns) or Social ads (Facebook Ads, TikTok, Instagram, etc.). Don’t be afraid to test a couple of platforms, it will give you valuable insights into what works better for your game.

Cross Promotion

Last but not least is using cross-promotion to acquire new players. There are basically two types of cross-promotion that you need to differentiate:

  • Internal cross-promotion:
    • Use your existing player base and drive downloads for your new games

    • Save costs for acquiring new players

    • Be realistic when it comes to expected impact

    • Difference between placing a static banner or using an algorithm to identify your biggest fans and incentivizing them

  • External cross-promotion:
    • Working together with other “creators” (can be gaming studios, don’t have to be)

    • Collaborate with Influencers

    • Digital enhancement of an offline world experience (VR, AR)

Summary

To sum up everything above, we would like once again to highlight that top charts are led by apps with high downloads. Therefore, develop a high-quality game and invest your time in organic and paid UA. Remember that timing and seasonality are very important when it comes to launching your app. Try to do trending research on a regular basis to keep an eye on the current situation in your target categories and locals.


Author: Thomas Kriebernegg, Thomas is Managing Director and Co-Founder of App Radar. He is an app enthusiast with over 15 years of experience in online marketing, a keynote speaker, and ex hardcore gamer.