Switchcraft Advertising Analysis: The Evolution of Match-3

Switchcraft Advertising Analysis: The Evolution of Match-3

by Andrea Knezovic

There’s a new puzzle game on the block and it’s taking the market by storm.

I’m talking about Switchcraft, Wooga’s innovative match-3 title.

If you want to learn more about this game and what techniques are used to advertise it, you’ll love this Switchcraft advertising analysis.

I explain why this game stands out, who’s playing it, as well as break down its ad creatives and ASO practices.

About Switchcraft

Switchcraft is a match-3 puzzle game with an urban fantasy theme. It was released worldwide in October 2021 by Wooga, Playtika’s game studio. It’s a continuation of Wooga’s focus on narrative games like their June’s Journey game.

What makes Switchcraft stand out among match-3 games are narrative and interactive story meta-layers with a contemporary magical theme. As players make matches, they progress through a graphic novel with a rich story full of mystery and make choices that affect the story progression.

The game is set in an Academy for witches in Massachusetts and follows a group of students. The main goal of the game is to help Bailey, the main character, uncover the truth behind her friend’s mysterious disappearance as she explores her magical powers.

It’s a unique urban wizarding adventure.

Along the way, players meet good and bad witches, choose who to trust, and develop relationships with different game characters. Because this game has an interactive story game meta-layer, players’ choices matter and can lead Bailey down different paths.

Furthermore, players can cast spells, discover clues, collect crystals, and explore a metaphysical realm. These features make Switchcraft unique, as something like this is not commonly found in match-3 games.

switchcraft screenshot

Embracing Diversity

Another thing that makes Switchcraft special is the fact that it promotes diversity. The game features many black and indigenous people of color, people with disabilities, as well as different nationalities and sexualities.

Furthermore, the cast of characters is led by a strong female lead.

This is a smart move from Wooga as it distinguishes its game and provides representation for groups of people who are, unfortunately, rarely included in mobile games.

Furthermore, it gives more depth and richness to the game.

How Successful Is Switchcraft?

Even though Switchcraft has just recently been released worldwide, it’s on a trajectory to become a very successful match-3 game.

In terms of major gaming markets, Switchcraft was available in the UK, Australia, Canada, and India from October 2020. A year later, it was made available worldwide.

Here are the numbers so far.

switchcraft downloads

All Time Switchcraft Downloads by Country

As of November 2021, Switchcraft has been downloaded more than 100,000 times on iOS. (GameRefinery) That might not seem like a lot, but it’s a great start considering the game had just recently become available in the US, the top gaming market.

Also, because the game was not released in the US right away, the UK is currently the top market in terms of Switchcraft downloads.

It’s safe to assume a lot more downloads will come from the United States in the following months and that the majority of downloads will come from this market, as is the case for most mobile games.

The current GameRefinery data supports that – there was a spike in downloads in October 2021 (40,000), with the majority of downloads coming from the US.

When it comes to Android, Switchcraft has been downloaded more than 100,000 by November 2021.

switchcraft revenue

All Time Switchcraft Revenue by Country

Thus far, Switchcraft has earned Wooga more than $100,000.00 in revenue on iOS. (GameRefinery)

Once again, this number might seem small. But considering the game was just released worldwide, this is a great start, and we expect this number to grow.

Furthermore, at this moment, the majority of revenue came from the UK, Canada, and Australia.

Just like with downloads, we expect the United States to generate the most revenue for Switchcraft in the following months. We’ll keep you updated!

switchcraft screenshot

Who Is Playing Switchcraft?

To determine who is the main target audience for Switchcraft, we need to examine its magical theme.

So let’s talk about witchcraft.

Portraying powerful women as witches has been going on forever and it’s still a part of pop culture. As you know, it didn’t end well for women during the Salem witch trials where they were being prosecuted for witchcraft. Even recently, strong women who stand out (e.g., politicians) are often portrayed as witches.

However, many women found freedom and power in being a witch – it became a roadmap to female empowerment and fighting against the patriarchy.

Furthermore, witches have always been represented in pop culture, even though their portrayal kept evolving. For example, you have Bewitched in 1964, Sabrina the Teenage Witch in the 90s, and its new version, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina in 2018. Not to mention the Harry Potter books and movies.

It made witches trendy.

In fact, many Millennials, and now Gen Z, are very much into new age spiritualism that revolves around witches. For example, many posts on Instagram and TikTok are about this practice – the hashtag #witchtok has more than 8 billion views!

So it’s no wonder witchcraft has made an appearance in mobile games like Switchcraft as it attracts a young female audience (Millennials and Gen Z) on their journey to empowerment.

Additionally, as I mentioned before, Switchcraft features a diverse cast of characters. While diversity in gaming can be appealing to people of all ages, this is also something that would primarily be important to a Millennial and Gen Z audience.

And of course, since there’s a strong female lead in Switchcraft, this game is primarily geared towards women. But this type of progressive game can appeal to all genders.

Switchcraft Advertising Analysis: Top-Performing Ad Creatives

Because Switchcraft is a relatively new game that has just entered the global market, its user acquisition strategy is more important than ever.

To find out how this game is presented to potential players, I’ve analyzed its top-performing Facebook ads.

Switchcraft Ad #1

Creative Concept

One of the coolest things about being a witch is, of course, casting spells. This is the main theme of this Switchcraft ad.

The spell casting feature is showcased through a short storyline. Bailey, the main character, brews a magic potion that makes her crush fall in love with her.

Choice-based elements of the game are also featured in this ad. It makes sense to include it because this is what makes this match-3 game unique. In other words, it’s an important USP that needs to be highlighted.

Intro

The intro scene is quite mysterious. It’s not exactly clear what’s happening. A pointer hand seems to be uncovering a crystal.

But what does this mean?

The only way to find out is to keep watching.

In that sense, the intro does a good job of intriguing people.

Game Features and Benefits

As I mentioned before, this ad focuses on one game feature the most – casting spells. This type of task appears during the interactive story game element.

The ad also showcases the choice-based game meta-layer. There’s the option to break the spell or charm him.

However, there is no match-3 game footage. This is quite expected and normal when it comes to ads for match-3 puzzle games because developers are trying to reach a wider audience, not just puzzle players.

But more on that in the next section.

Player Motivations (Target Audience)

When game developers want to reach specific groups of players, they connect game features with players’ motivations. Furthermore, motivation-based creatives allow developers to reach a wider audience and expand their reach beyond the core group of players.

Considering this Switchcraft ad highlights the game’s interactive story meta-layer, we can conclude it targets players who enjoy games with narrative elements. It’s obvious that this group of players is quite different from puzzle players who enjoy match-3 games.

Furthermore, because this creative also includes fantasy elements related to witchcraft (brewing potions, casting spells), it appeals to players who play games to escape to another world. Losing oneself in a fantasy world is very enjoyable for these players.

Most commonly, these groups of players are majority female. However, because Switchcraft has a very diverse group of characters, it can appeal to players of all genders.

Call To Action

The CTA for this ad is the tried and true “Play now”.

While traditional CTAs may work well, we recommend testing personalized CTAs that reference gameplay or the overall ad concept.

In this case, inviting people to enter the world of magic, cast their own spells, or uncover the mystery would be an interesting call to action.

Switchcraft Ad #2

Creative Concept

This Switchcraft ad creative is also narrative-based. It explains the main premise – Baley’s best friend, Lydia, is missing and she asks the viewers to help her find out what happened.

Story-based creatives are trending and are used to advertise many different games, even those that don’t have a major narrative meta-layer.

For a game like Switchcraft, where storylines are at the forefront, it makes even more sense to utilize this creative trend.

Notice that there’s a message during the narrative scenes – “Not actual gameplay”. This is a smart move because Wooga avoided misleading the players. The viewers know which parts of the ad are actual gameplay and which scenes are animations.

This is also the app store promo video for Switchcraft. It includes all major game features, which is common for promo videos.

Intro

Mystery-themed storylines lend themselves well to ad creatives because they’re attention-grabbing.

In the first few scenes, we see a girl (Lydia), along with a caption, “What happened to my best friend?”. This is the perfect way to hook people in.

Game Features and Benefits

This ad encompasses almost all Switchcraft features.

Besides the narrative meta-layer, the ad creative showcases the choice feature that’s integrated into the storylines, a match-3 puzzle, and casting spells.

Player Motivations (Target Audience)

Just like with the previous ad creative, this one also targets players who are into narratives and fantasy worlds.

However, it can appeal to an even wider audience because it also includes match-3 gameplay.

Call To Action

This ad creative doesn’t have a CTA which is a missed opportunity. Regardless of whether a video is an ad or a promo video for the app stores, or both like this one, it’s always a good idea to include a call to action.

Switchcraft Ad #3

Creative Concept

The concept behind this ad also revolves around casting spells to make people fall in love with you, just like the first one.

However, in this one, Bailey’s crush is a different person, a feminine-presenting person whose gender is unspecified.

Furthermore, this ad draws inspiration from the famous fail ads – a staple of mobile game advertising. The spell Bailey’s trying to cast is done wrong and her crush ends up being enamored by another woman.

Bailey tries again but turns her crush into a frog. The third attempt results in Bailey being turned into a cat.

Notice the caption at the top that says, “Why is this game so hard?” Along with the fails, the purpose of the caption is to make it seem as though this game is not simple and takes skill.

That motivates people to download it and try it out for themselves.

Intro

In the first few seconds of the ad, we see Bailey walking towards her crush. But there’s a problem – the person she’s into is speaking to another girl.

This simple premise is enough to drive interest in the game, as it creates a dramatic storyline – a love triangle.

Naturally, viewers want to find out what happens next – does Bailey end up with her crush?

Game Features and Benefits

In terms of game features and benefits, this ad creative demonstrates the ability to cast different spells. It seems that this is the main feature that’s being highlighted in most Switchcraft ads. Probably because it’s unique and makes the game stand out.

Furthermore, it features some of the game’s narrative aspects.

Player Motivations (Target Audience)

Once again, players who enjoy narrative in games are the target audience for this ad, as well as those who love immersing themselves in fantasy worlds.

Furthermore, because of the representation of different genders and sexualities in this video ad, it can attract an audience of gamers who appreciate diversity in mobile games.

Call To Action

The CTA is, you’ve guessed it, “Play now”.

Switchcraft Ad #4

Creative Concept

This is another variation of the ad concept where Bailey is casting spells to make her crush like her. The crush is the same character as in the previous ad. Bailey refers to them as, “she”, however, it’s not specified whether this is a cisgender or transgender woman.

Bailey once again messes up the spell and her crush ends up making out with her friend. In other words, it’s another fail.

Fail ads are a great ad concept because they allow you to present some of the game features in a captivating way. Furthermore, it entices people to try the game because it makes them think they would be more skilled at it.

Intro

The intro scene sets up the problem that needs to be solved – how can Bailey get her crush to notice her?

It drives interest in the storyline because people love romantic narratives, especially those based around unrequited love. Naturally, the viewers want to find out how the story evolves, which hooks them in and makes them keep watching.

Game Features and Benefits

Just like most other Switchcraft ads, this one also emphasizes the narrative game elements as well as casting spells, an important game feature.

Player Motivations (Target Audience)

Once again, the main group of players this ad creative targets are those who are motivated by escapism they get from exploring fantasy worlds and losing themselves in intricate storylines.

Call To Action

This time, the CTA is a bit more imaginative – “Can you do better?”. This is quite a bit more interesting than “Play now” because it directly challenges the ad viewers.

This type of CTA is often used with fail ads, like this one.

switchcraft features

App Store Optimization Breakdown

A well-optimized app store page can not only get you users organically, but it also aids paid UA as this is where users land after clicking on an ad.

Here are the most important elements of Switchcraft app store pages, let’s see how they’re set up.

Game Title

The title Switchcraft is quite clever – there’s “witchcraft” in the name, which is the main theme of this game.

However, by adding the “s” at the beginning you also get “switch”. My best guess is that it refers to the match-3 mechanics where the players need to swap or switch the puzzle pieces to make matches.

The full title on Google Play is Switchcraft: Magical Match-3. The extended title is there to further explain what the game is about as well as help with ASO, as magical and match-3 are important keywords.

Game Icon

Switchcraft’s icon features the main game character – Bailey. This is quite common for games of all genres.

Furthermore, there are colorful gems floating around her head, along with a portal-looking background. This suggests to people that this is a magic-themed game.

Screenshots/Graphics

When looking at the photos from Switchcraft app store pages, it’s clear that this is an innovative match-3 game with lots of unique features.

Here’s what each graphic presents:

  • Choose (this relates to the interactive story meta-layer)
  • Magic (the overall theme of the game)
  • Match (the core match-3 puzzles)
  • Find clues (solving the mystery)
  • Cast spells (the ability to influence events and people with spells)
  • Solve puzzles (refers to puzzles other than match-3)
  • Solve the mystery (the main goal of the game)

switchcraft match 3 puzzle

Switchcraft Advertising Analysis: 3 Things You Can Learn from This Game

Finally, I’ve put together the main takeaways from this Switchcraft advertising analysis.

1. Appeal to Wider Audiences

As you probably know, most puzzle and casual game developers produce games that have many additional layers, besides core gameplay.

For example, Clockmaker, a popular match-3 puzzle game, has a renovation meta-layer.

In Switchcraft’s case, it’s match-3 puzzles + narrative interactive story metas.

The purpose of this is, you’ve guessed it, to reach a wider audience. That translates to advertising strategies.

Games that have other elements besides the core puzzles sprinkled in can use it in ad creatives and thus appeal to different groups of players based on their motivations for playing.

This is the perfect approach for acquiring a diverse audience of players.

Also, when you have diverse game characters in terms of gender, sexuality, and race, that helps with reaching a wider audience.

switchcraft screenshot

2. Utilize the Story-Based Creative Trend for Puzzle Games

When it comes to creative trends for puzzle games, story-based ads are on the top of the list. You can utilize this trend even if your puzzle game doesn’t have a major narrative meta-layer like Switchcraft.

The great thing about this creative trend is that it allows your creativity to shine. Storytelling has no boundaries and it’s up to you to come up with something unique.

However, my advice is to think about a storyline your target audience will relate to.

For example, Switchcraft is primarily targeting a younger, mostly female, audience. Even though people of all ages experience unrequited love, that’s something the younger crowd tends to agonize over more.

If you have an older audience, stories about women overcoming adversity like struggling to take care of their child or finding out their husband is cheating would be more appropriate.

3. Don’t Forget About Organic User Acquisition

Lastly, don’t ignore the possibility of acquiring users through organic channels.

Yes, paid user acquisition, if done right, is a surefire way to get a lot of users quickly. But on the other hand, organic UA can get you users for free.

Furthermore, a well-optimized app store page can help your advertising efforts. When people click on a game ad, they’re brought to Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

From there, they need to download the game.

While people clicking on an ad are pretty sure they want to download the game, they still may have second thoughts. When they’re greeted by a perfect app store page, that can be that final push for them to convert.

Or it can have the opposite effect if the app store page looks bad.

Final Thoughts on Switchcraft Advertising Analysis

Hopefully, our Switchcraft advertising analysis shed some light on the strategies Wooga uses to acquire more users for this up-and-coming game.

What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments below!

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About Udonis

Udonis is an independent full-service mobile marketing agency that acquired more than 200,000,000 users for mobile games since 2018. Visitudonis.co

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