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Leveling Up in World of Warcraft - A Case Study in Gaming

cakeboost

Intro

In July 2019, a client contacted us with a non-standard business, leveling up characters in the game World of Warcraft. The client’s site is a platform and freelance site, where some people want to level up their characters or get hold of unique items in the game 🎮 World of Warcraft (one of the most popular online PC games in the world). Others on the site are ready to help them for money. Our client’s site connects these two parties and guarantees that the work and payment 💵 will be completed as agreed.

Initial Data

  • Client’s website – cakeboost.com
  • Ad system – Google Ads
  • Ad system – Facebook Ads

Work with the client was structured as follows:

  • To start, we and the client filled out a detailed Brief in order to understand the goals and objectives that advertising should achieve, find out the make up of the target audience and take into account the small nuances that only the business owner can almost always know.
  • Through the Brief, we found out who our main target audience was, identified budgets for promotion, and developed a working strategy.
  • We agreed on the deadlines and helped create advertising accounts for the client.

Objectives

Set up Google Ads + Facebook Ads advertising systems.

Target Audience: English-speakers 🇬🇧 who play World of Warcraft with an average or above-average income. In the beginning, we couldn’t determine the optimal conversion price, so we set the following KPI – the advertising should bring in more money than it costs.

Actions Taken

Since the client already had a Google Analytics counter on the site at the beginning of our partnership, and an SEO specialist was working the site, we decided to consolidate our efforts and help each other with information.

The SEO specialist shared with us the most working keywords that are promoted in organic search results, as well as additional information for the job. It was especially useful to find out that, despite the high traffic 📊 from tablets and mobile phones, out of organic searches, the most converting traffic comes from PC 💻. This is quite simple to explain by the fact that the game was developed specifically for the PC, and the conversion actions associated with the game will be performed on this type of device. Mobile phones 📱 and tablets are used only to take in information on the topic, not to play it.

After we got all the information, we decided to customize Google Ads + Facebook Ads for PC users only, since this is the audience that plays World of Warcraft 📈. These audiences, already chosen, are present in both Google Ads and Facebook Ads. With the problem of isolating people with middle and upper-middle incomes, we entrusted the smart strategies of Google Ads and Facebook Ads to cope. Looking ahead, they did an excellent job!

Implementation

Step 1. Google Ads, preparation.

In Google Ads we decided to make:

  • Search advertising campaigns for each WoW service that’s offered on the site
  • Search campaign for advertising services in a generalized form, for example, for the query “WoW leveling up service”
  • GDN Remarketing – advertising campaigns to catch up with already ‘hot’ customers who have been on our site, but have not made an order, remind them of themselves and return to the site. To do this, we added the audience of everyone who visited the site through Google Analytics to the target audience of the impression. And in order not to annoy people who have already made a conversion, we added an audience of those who made a conversion to the excluded audience.
  • Negative keywords were added to the ad campaign such as ‘job’, ‘job search’, and etc. thereby eliminating non-target traffic from people who are looking for relevant vacancies and/or plan to play and upgrade their accounts for money.
Google Ads для сайта игровой тематики

Each campaign was directed to the appropriate landing pages on the site. This increased the quality of the ads, as well as the likelihood of converting user actions👍 on the site.

However, coming to the site is just the beginning. For further work with Google smart strategies, it was important for us to establish the right goals 🎯.

We established conversion goals:

  • Contacting the chat through the Jivosite service
  • Copying an e-mail or clicking on an e-mail address on the site
  • Switching over to Skype
  • Adding a service to the cart
  • Switching over to Discord chat
  • Switching over to WhatsApp chat

For conversion, we took into account any contact with the user 📋. This is necessary to show Google the correct target audience for the smart strategy to work correctly.

Why did we decide not to establish a purchase goal (namely, the thank you for your purchase page)?

  • Reason 1: the customer uses a large number of payment systems, not all of which return to the site. Setting a purchase goal would lead to loss of conversions and data corruption.
  • Reason 2: After going to the cart, many people still write in the chat. They use the shopping cart as a favorite so as not to lose their selected products and services.

It was important for us to get the maximum number of real conversions in order to better ‘work together’ with Google’s machine learning.

Step 2. Branded Bidding Strategy

We used the first 2-3 days of impressions to collect statistics. We didn’t aim to take the first search positions but applied the average bid, which is used for medium-competitive search phrases.

After that, Google Ads calculated the approximate bid for showings at the first position and at the top on the first page in search results. The most significant thing for us was the rates for showing in the second and third places of the TOP. We applied the bid for the display at the bottom of the TOP, adding 10% to it. This allowed us to be in the second or third positions. At the same time, the rate for each request was set manually, based on the previously calculated Google Ads system.

We deliberately moved away from first-spot placement and flat bidding on all keywords to avoid overpaying for clicks 💪.

The fact is that the cost per click on the first position is much higher than on the second, while the amount of traffic does not compensate for the costs, but actually increases the cost of conversion.

After collecting data and optimizing demographic data, we transferred all advertising campaigns to the Target CPA strategy (target cost per conversion) and made the first conclusions that influenced our further actions:

  • General search queries like “WoW boosting service”, turned out to be more effective, since few people are looking for these specific services.
  • We decided to keep the most profitable advertising campaigns, and the main budget was transferred to a general advertising campaign and remarketing.
  • We added a gaming audience in watch mode and increased bid adjustments for them. This contributed to better Google learning and higher bids for those more likely to take a conversion action.

After everything was done, the cost per conversion was 280 rubles 👍. We are still working on the account, optimizing it, increasing the number of conversions, and reducing costs.

Step 3. Facebook Ads

Since the target audience is English speaking, the work was carried on on all Facebook Ads placements. In the Russian Federation 🇷🇺, the vast majority are only advertised on Instagram.

What we did:

  • Immediately after setting up Google Ads, installed the Facebook Ads pixel on the site and set up conversion actions to collect a look-a-like audience.
  • launched targeted ads to the audience that plays World of Warcraft.
  • set up standard retargeting on Facebook for an audience that has already seen the ad, gone to the site, but hadn’t taken any targeted action.
  • Immediately after setting up Google Ads, installed the Facebook Ads pixel on the site and set up conversion actions to collect a look-a-like audience.
  • Launched targeted ads to the audience that plays World of Warcraft.
  • Set up standard retargeting on Facebook for an audience that has already seen the ad, went to the site, but did not take the targeted action.

Obtained results:
Targeted advertising and retargeting turned out to be the most effective campaigns, providing leads with an average price of about 200 rubles. The look-a-like audience turned out to be ineffective and generated more expensive conversions. One possible reason is that the audience of gamers who play not just WoW was too wide.

Results

Currently our advertising budget is approximately:

  • 3000-4500$ per month for Google Ads
  • 1500-2000$ per month for Facebook Ads

Соответственно, с учетом всех трат это выгодно,

For every dollar spent on advertising, the client gets back about $10 in return. Accordingly, taking into account all the expenses, it’s considered profitable, and we’re continuing to develop the business.

Conclusion

Comprehensive, balanced, and confident step by step. This is exactly how we work throughout the year. Our goal was not to fight for the first positions and just quick results. A comprehensive brief, cooperation with the client, a combination of classic Facebook Ads campaigns and smart Google Ads strategies – all of this brought in the desired result including low conversion cost, and stable growth.

We confidently use the smart capabilities of Google Ads and Facebook Ads, but we don’t shift all the work over to them. We carefully analyze the data and prepare the basis for effective advertising.

Currently, work on the project continues, as the customer has been very pleased 👍 with the results of our work. A lot of potential customers come to the site 📈, while the quality and number of leads are on the rise, which is why I also had to hire additional boosters with the help of advertising, which ultimately led to the idea of ​​expanding further 🌍. In the near future, we plan to expand the list of games and create a full-fledged gaming platform.

Feedback

Shevyrtalov I.D.

I have a really specific business providing services in the online games. We sell our services through the website and we were endlessly looking for a someone, who’s able to help us to improve our adv system and get into our business. We’ve tested lots of Google Ads specialists, but then found Web-Sci ads agency.

We’ve increased our sells and got lots of new customers. I’m really thankful to the chief of Web-Sci advertising agency – Ruslan Tula. He knows exactly what to do and how everything works out.

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