With more than 184 million downloads, Coin Master by Moon Active is one of the top mobile games in the world. Many game developers are wondering, “What’s the secret behind its success? How can I emulate it?”
In this article, I answer those questions by dissecting Coin Master advertising strategies and ASO techniques.
If you want to learn what it takes to acquire millions of users for a casual game, don’t miss out on this article!
About Coin Master
On Google Play, Coin Master is categorized as a casual game. That’s due to the simplicity and casual art style of the game. On Apple’s App Store, it’s in the adventure category, which I consider to be not as accurate.
However, if we consider the core slot game mechanics, Coin Master could be described as a social casino game in the slots subgenre, even though it doesn’t position itself as such. According to GameRefinery, the slots subgenre generates the most revenue in the casino genre (78%).
What makes Coin Master such a great game is the combination of many different elements. You have the traditional slot machine found in casino games, some mid-core mechanics like building and attacking (kept simple for casual players), a PvP social aspect, and a casual art style.
If you’re looking for a great mobile game recipe – this is it.
All-Time Coin Master Mobile Downloads
Coin Master was downloaded 184 million times since it was published. What’s interesting is that there was a huge spike in downloads right when the pandemic hit (February 2020). The downloads peaked at 15 million.
However, in the second half of 2020, Coin Master downloads dropped significantly and continue to do so at the beginning of 2021.
(Unless stated otherwise, the data in this article comes from an internal source).
All-Time Coin Master Revenue
If we look at all-time Coin Master net revenue, it’s currently at $1.32 billion. The revenue started significantly rising in 2019. By the end of 2020, it peaked at more than $80 million.
Currently, Coin Master is the fourth top-grossing iPhone game in the US according to GameRefinery. It earned $8.05 million and was downloaded just over 300,000 times in the last 30 days.
To find out how Coin Master earns so much in revenue, check out our dissection of Coin Master’s monetization strategy.
What Types of Gamers Are Playing Coin Master?
In general, we can say that casual gamers make the majority of Coin Master players. However, it’s not that simple.
According to GameRefinery, the main type of mobile gamers that’s attracted to Coin Master is King of the Hill.
Here’s how GameRefinery explains this player archetype.
King of the Hill
“Kings of the Hill prefer games with a high degree of competition with other players. For this player type PvP-action is the best (and often the only) way to get the most satisfaction out of gaming. Kings of the Hill enjoy the sense of power resulting from competing against friends, acquaintances or random people and then outwitting, outmaneuvering and outlasting them.”
Since this type of gamers loves competing and working with others, they’re attracted to PvP aspects of Coin Masters. They can attack other players and raid their villages. They also need to defend their own.
Other features King of the Hill players prefer are an achievement system, the ability to see other players’ progression, leaderboards, live events, etc.
Organic User Acquisition: App Store Optimization Dissection
Let’s continue by dissecting Coin Master’s Google Play store page.
With thousands of games at their fingertips, gamers are constantly exploring app stores and browsing for new games to play.
That’s why a smart app store optimization strategy is crucial for organic user acquisition.
Furthermore, it also aids paid user acquisition strategies since ads send users directly to the game’s store page.
Google Play title for this game is simple – Coin Master. There are no additional keywords and descriptions. Granted, this is a mega-popular game and Coin Master has become a famous brand name so there’s not a need for it.
However, less popular games might benefit from adding a few additional descriptive keywords in the title as it helps ASO.
Just like Clash of Clans and Game of War, Coin Master pretty much started a trend with their icon. Many games are copying it, which means – it’s a good one and it works.
In general, where there are rip-offs, it means someone is doing something right. There’s even a strange Coin Master/Clash of Clans hybrid – Piggy GO: Clash of Coins.
Just when you think you’ve seen everything…
But back to the Coin Master icon. It depicts the recognizable pig, a Coin Master protagonist/mascot, holding a coin. Notice that it’s Christmas-themed since it’s the holiday season, as are the screenshots, but more on that later.
Whenever there’s a head/face included in a game icon, whether it’s that of a human or an animal, it’s usually angled to one side. You can see the same thing in the Coin Master icon. That’s to make the icon more dynamic and appealing.
Furthermore, the mouth is open with a slight smile which makes the protagonist look cute and inviting. Lastly, the coin in his hand references the game’s name, and the overall theme of the game.
Above, you can see a similar icon art style in other popular casual games. All of them include an animal/mascot character, cartoonish style, and a happy/smiling face, which seems to be the perfect recipe for a great icon in this genre.
Coin Master doesn’t have an app promo video on Google Play or Apple App Store, which is a strange choice considering videos are known to improve conversion rates.
Guess Moon Active doesn’t need those extra downloads.
However, there are screenshots/graphics. Their purpose is to illustrate what the game is about. Thus, we see all Coin Master features and benefits depicted in the graphics – attack your friends, build your village, hit the jackpot, upgrade your pets, and explore amazing worlds.
It’s an appealing visual representation of what users can expect if they download Coin Master.
Just like the icon, the graphics are also Christmas-themed and they feature Santa Claus, reindeers, presents, and a Christmas wonderland.
Overall, it looks very colorful and appealing, which makes Coin Master seem like a very fun and exciting game.
The purpose of a game description is to further explain what the game is about and make people interested in it. For Google Play, it is also an important ranking factor which is why you should include relevant keywords in it.
Coin Master’s app description starts like this.
“Join your Facebook friends and millions of players around the world in attacks, spins, and raids to build your Viking village to the top!
Do you have what it takes to be the next Coin Master? Can you travel through time and magical lands to battle it out to be the best Pirate, Hippie, King, Warrior or VIKING of them of all!”
Notice there are different keywords in the text like “Coin Master”, “Pirate” “King”, “build”, “battle”, etc.
There’s also a challenge posed in the description – “Do you have what it takes to be the next Coin Master?” That’s a standard technique that’s also often used in mobile game ads. It makes people want to take on a challenge and prove themselves.
The rest of the description explains the main Coin Master features and benefits in detail.
Coin Master Keywords
Above, you can see some of the Coin Master keywords for Google Play in the US (AppAnnie). Keywords are a crucial part of app store optimization, as they help games to rank higher.
Coin Master ranks #1 for the following keywords: “coin master”, “master”, “coinmaster”, “coin master free spins”, “coinstar”, “cou”, “coin master spins”, etc.
Top keywords for Coin Master are mostly variations of the game title. There’s a good balance of short and long-tail keywords.
Paid User Acquisition: Coin Master Advertising & Creative Strategies
It’s hard to know what Moon Active’s advertising budget for Coin Master is, but I assume it’s pretty big. Especially when you consider the huge mobile game influencer campaign Coin Master is famous for.
However, a paid user acquisition campaign is not all about the advertising budget – it’s also about creatives. More specifically, video ads for social media and video ads for ad networks. That’s what Moon Active excels at.
It’s no secret Coin Master ads are highly effective and bring millions of users to this game.
But what’s the secret behind Coin Master ads?
In the next section, I dissect top-performing Coin Master ads to reveal why they work.
Dissection of Top-Performing Coin Master Ads
These are the current top-performing Coin Master ads. They include ads for Facebook as well as other ad networks.
Coin Master Influencer Campaign Ads
Let’s start with the most prevalent and most popular Coin Master advertising campaign that’s all about celebrities/influencers.
You have probably seen a Kardashian playing Coin Master pop up on Instagram or Facebook. Those ads started rolling back in 2019. However, there are many different variations of those ads, many of which are still active and among the top-performing Coin Master ads.
The campaign features not only the Kardashians, but Cardi B, Jennifer Lopez, Ben Higgins, Rick Harrison, Rae Sremmurd, Terry Crews, Joan Rivers, NeNe, and Emily Ratajkowski.
In this variation of the Coin Master Kardashian ad, we see Khloe spin the wheel. She gets to raid Scott’s village and steal some coins. But then, her mother Kris attacks her village. Khloe attacks her back and destroys Kris’ village.
In the ad, we see both Khloe, along with her commentary, and the gameplay.
So, what makes this a top-performing ad?
Well, the main appeal of the ad comes from, of course, the Kardashians. It’s attention-grabbing – people see Khloe in the first few seconds of the ad and it makes them keep watching instead of scrolling past it.
Love them or hate them, they’re known all around the world, and featuring them in a mobile game ad was bound to garner attention.
Furthermore, their popularity makes them the perfect influencers – many people value recommendations from the Kardashians and want to be just like them.
However, not everybody can afford to have their product endorsed by the most famous family in the world. Reportedly, one Instagram post from someone in the Kardashian family can cost up to one million dollars. It is unclear how much Moon Active spent on this campaign, but I can assume it’s something most mobile game publishers can only dream of.
But back to the ad.
I want to emphasize that it’s not enough to have a celebrity or an influencer in an ad. Them just randomly appearing in the ad will not magically get you more users.
It’s important to come up with a great ad concept and make the influencers look like they’re truly interested in the game.
In Coin Master ads, that is accomplished in several different ways.
Firstly, the concept of the ad makes sense. Khloe is not out of place there – she’s playing against her family. All of them are tied together in the ad through gameplay.
Furthermore, Khloe talks in a very casual way and looks like she’s really into playing the game. She makes funny remarks, reacts emotionally to the gameplay, gets angry at her mother, all in a very natural way. That makes her seem more credible and trustworthy.
You think to yourself, “If Khloe likes this game so much, I will too – it looks exciting!”
Note that there are captions for Khloe – this is important since oftentimes video ads autoplay on mute.
An extra detail are user comments on the left side praising Khloe and the game. Once again, it’s all about social proof.
Another smart thing about this ad is that we can see everything that Khloe is talking about, i.e., gameplay footage. That aspect of the ad gives the viewers a taste of how the game looks and some of the basic game mechanics.
The approach for the J.Lo Coin Master ad is quite similar.
The setup is the same visually – a celebrity in the bottom right corner superimposed on gameplay footage and user comments on the left.
Just like with Khloe, we see Jennifer Lopez trying to appear like a ‘normal’, everyday person. She even says, “It’s challenging sometimes. Being a mom, a singer, an actor.”
It makes viewers feel like she’s one of them (even though that’s not really the case).
I would describe the acting as semi-believable and at times cringy, just like Khloe’s. But hey, who am I to judge? It’s lighthearted, funny, and seems to be believable enough considering people are responding to it positively.
Even if it’s feigned, the emotion is there – J.Lo gets mad when her village is raided, wants to get revenge, and seems truly invested in the game. Just like Khloe seemed to be playing with her family, Jennifer is playing with people in her life, i.e., her choreographer Tabitha. It serves the purpose of making it more believable.
In short, both ads have the exact same concept, but the celebrity is different.
To finish off, I want to mention the ad copy, which you can see below.
Once again, it’s about representing J.Lo as an avid Coin Master player. Furthermore, it hints that she might attack your village. In other words, that if you play Coin Master, you might end up playing against a celebrity like Jenny from the block. That’s a powerful implication that makes people interested.
There’s another J.Lo ad, but for ironSource. It’s also among top Coin Master creatives but has a different concept altogether.
This ad doesn’t feature gameplay footage like the previous ones, but a mock J.Lo interview instead. She talks about what it’s like to be a top Coin Master player. It’s supposed to be humorous and fun.
Then she gets a notification that Tabitha destroyed her village.
Notice there’s a typo in the captions, which says “Tabetha”. Now, mistakes happen. But if you’re spending an ungodly amount of money to produce and run these ads, can’t you spellcheck it?
The ad ends with J.Lo getting upset that Tabitha attacked her village. Right as she’s getting up and leaving, the Coin Master logo, a graphic, and a CTA button appear, along with the “Available on” buttons.
The call-to-action is a classic “Play now”.
The newest addition to Coin Master’s celebrity influencer roster is Cardi B who brings you the weather report in this fun ad.
Coin Master Facebook Ads
Even though Coin Master’s influencer campaign is perhaps the most well-known, there are other top-performing ads worth mentioning.
Let’s analyze them!
For a video ad, the first couple of seconds are crucial – it’s when viewers decide whether to keep watching or continue scrolling. That’s why you need to hook them in right away.
This Coin Master ad for Facebook succeeds at that. We see an unusual animation of coins being ‘produced’. More specifically, they’re sliced and that looks so damn satisfying. It’s also Christmas-themed.
The ‘oddly satisfying’ video theme in mobile game ads is quite trendy at the moment. It seems to keep viewers glued to their screens. What’s great about this one is that it’s unique to Coin Master and it makes sense – this game is all about coins.
The video ad then transitions into gameplay footage of a raid. Notice that the transition is very on-brand – tiny coins everywhere.
In fact, in all Coin Masters ads, there are lots of coins. Not only can you see them in every detail of the ad but hear them as well. It’s their most used sound effect.
There’s also a lot going on at the end of the ad. Let’s break down all the elements.
We have a “Perfect raid!” banner, a Coin Master Logo, a “Download now” button, available on Google Play and App Store buttons, a search bar, and the pig on the right. All of that is superimposed on gameplay footage.
Did I mention there’s fireworks as well?
It’s a lot.
But it serves the purpose of enticing users to download the game.
I also want to mention the ad copy – you can see it above. Most Coin Master Facebook ads have this copy, which means it was meticulously tested and shown to achieve the best conversion rate.
The copy highlights the main game features/mechanics – “attack your enemies and steal their coins”. Furthermore, it invites players to become “the invincible Coin Master”. It finishes off with a CTA – “Play Now!”.
Moon Active is big on showing real people play Coin Master. That’s standard marketing psychology based on social proof. It can be as effective as endorsements from celebrities and influencers.
The way it works is simple.
When you see other people enjoy playing a game, you assume it’s good and subconsciously want to follow the crowd – it’s a natural herd mentality. It also serves as a kind of testimonial or a review even though the woman in the ad is paid to appear in the video.
Another interesting thing in the video is the emphasis on revenge. The girl in the video is choosing whose village to attack, as she scrolls through different users. Then, she decides on a female user, possibly her friend, or perhaps a nemesis, Sandy, and attacks her village. The caption above says, “Revenge!”.
The ad ends with the woman successfully attacking the village. She looks very satisfied and happy as she continues sipping her morning coffee.
Showing an everyday person playing a mobile game while lounging on their couch is very effective for an ad. A lot of people can identify with that. The goal is to give viewers a taste of that experience.
I have included this ad in my analysis to show you that there aren’t just people-focused ads among the top-performing Coin Master creatives.
This Facebook ad consists only of animations and gameplay footage. It’s a fun and colorful ad that depicts Chad’s pool party where the pointer hand pops some bubbles to earn coins. Then we see the spin the wheel mechanic that produces even more coins which are then used to upgrade Chad’s outfit and pool party. That gets him the attention of the hot girl in the pool.
But then his girlfriend appears, attacks him, and takes over the party.
What’s great about this ad is that it’s very story-driven. Viewers can get invested in the drama, but still get a sense of the main game mechanics.
Furthermore, it teaches users how to play the game, i.e., how to get coins, how to upgrade, as well as how to attack.
In this fun and fast-paced ad for Coin Master, we get a taste of the main game mechanics. Players can attack other players’ villages, raid them and steal their coins, spin to hit the jackpot, and build their village.
All those game features are presented in a lighthearted and humorous way. The music is upbeat and there are sound effects (mainly of coins) that emphasize the visual aspects of the ad. However, a video ad must be equally effective when played on mute.
Another big part of this ad are coins – you can see them everywhere throughout the ad, which is expected since that’s the whole Coin Master brand.
Furthermore, notice that there’s a human hand/finger that’s doing all the clicking and pointing. That’s important because it creates an immersive experience for the viewers.
At the end of the video, there’s a classic “Download Now” CTA. Besides the CTA button, there are also the Coin Master logo, a search bar, app store logos, and a phone screen with gameplay on it. To make it more interesting and appealing to the viewers, the phone is animated (it moves and shakes), and there are some more coin animations.
Coin Master IronSource Ads
Coin Master also advertises on ironSource, which is a popular ad network for mobile games.
The 15-second ad you can see above combines animations and gameplay footage in a very interesting and effective way.
We have the animated Coin Master pig sipping coffee in the kitchen and playing the game. On the left side of the ad, there’s a smartphone with gameplay footage on it.
That way, we see both the reactions of the Coin Master mascot and what he’s playing, i.e., the gameplay footage, on the phone screen.
This makes the ad much more interesting and dynamic than it would be if it consisted solely of gameplay footage or just animations.
The key takeaway from this ad is to get creative with ads. An average person sees dozens of ads daily. To stand out from the crowd, you need to find innovative and creative ways to present a mobile game.
Coin Master also has playable ads on ironSource. Above, you can see screenshots of the top-performing Coin Master playable ad.
Video ads are a must when it comes to mobile game advertising, but playable ads are also a great ad format that developers should utilize more.
The reason why playable ads can boost conversion rates significantly is the fact that they’re interactive. Users get the chance to try out the game and get a taste of the gameplay experience.
Granted, most playable ads include very simple game mechanics due to the nature of the format. However, that’s still very effective.
This particular playable ad for Coin Master is all about the spin the wheel mechanic. The players spin and can earn attack time, loot, shields, or raids.
5 Things You Can Learn From Coin Master’s User Acquisition Strategies
To finish off, I have included some valuable lessons you can learn from Coin Master’s user acquisition strategy. Here are the main takeaways.
1. Collaborate with Influencers
The first and most obvious lesson is to collaborate with influencers. That doesn’t mean you need the Kardashians or J.Lo in your ads. Most developers can only dream of having that big of a marketing budget.
What you can do is contact micro-influencers. There are many up-and-coming gaming influencers who might be up for promoting your game. It doesn’t even have to be in the form of a classic ad in terms of having them act in it as Coin Master did with celebrities. It can be a simple endorsement on their social media profiles or during their Twitch stream.
That’s the perfect way to get your mobile game in front of a gaming audience. Those are the people you’re trying to reach.
However, make sure the influencer(s) you choose is in line with your brand and what you’re trying to accomplish.
For more information on influencer marketing for mobile games, go here. I have written a short guide on how to boost mobile game downloads with influencer campaigns.
2. Create Multiple Ad Variations (And Test Them)
Creating multiple ad variations is mobile game advertising 101, but it’s worth emphasizing. You can see it in Coin Master ads – there are different versions of the same ad concept. For example, the influencer ad campaign consists of many different ads. All of them have the same concept (celebrities playing the game), but it’s shown in multiple different ways creatively.
However, what you see is the final product. Creating multiple ad variations also refers to testing and what goes on behind the scenes.
Let’s imagine you’re creating a mobile game ad from scratch. You have come up with a couple of ad ideas. You go through the process of writing the ad script, creating the ads, and running them on a particular ad network.
You’ll notice some ads perform better than others. What you need to do then is create different variations of those winning ads and test them again.
By repeating this process for all ads, you end up with high-performing ads that consistently bring you new users.
3. Boost Conversions With Seasonal Ad Creatives and Other Themed Ads
As you have seen in the ad dissection part of this article, many Coin Master ads are Christmas-themed since it’s the holiday season.
According to AppAnnie, seasonal ad creatives, as well as other themed ads, boost performance.
They tested this with Bingo Story by adding Halloween elements, not only to ads, but to the game’s icon.
Here are the results.
- 300% install per mille boost for video ads.
- 344% install per mille boost for playable ads.
- 5% lift for the game icon.
Keep in mind that seasonal design shouldn’t only be limited to ads and app store elements. It should also be a part of the game’s UI elements, key characters, branding messages, and special effects. You can even create custom gameplay.
4. Utilize Playable Ads
When it comes to ad formats, video should be the main focus when advertising a mobile game. If you look at ads for any successful mobile game, you’ll notice the majority of them are video ads, which means this format achieves the best conversion rates.
However, you should also consider including some playable ads on ad networks that support it.
The main appeal of playable ads is that they’re interactive. As the name implies, players can try playing the game, in a simplified way. The only downside of playable ads is that this format can be a bit limiting, especially for more complex games.
5. Work on Creating a Unique and Recognizable Brand
Granted, becoming a world-renowned and famous brand like Coin Master is not an easy feat. But all developers should work on creating a recognizable brand, even on a much smaller scale.
For beginners, that can simply mean having a unified message and visual style across different channels, i.e., a game’s landing page, app store pages, social media channels, and advertising campaigns. When you’re present and consistent on all these channels, users will start to recognize and remember the game’s name, visual style, messaging, etc.
Furthermore, developers should work on creating a story around their game, based on game features, benefits, and its unique selling point.
It also helps to have players, influencers, and people in the industry take notice of your game, featuring it in articles, posts, etc. However, keep in mind all of this takes a lot of time and effort.
Coin Master is very successful at this – even people who never played this game have heard of it, whether it’s through ads, social media posts, or simply people talking about it.
That’s It, Folks!
This is all you need to know about Coin Master advertising strategies and how to implement them for your own game.
If you need any help with creating video ads like Coin Master or coming up with marketing strategies, don’t hesitate to contact us!
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