Do you ever wonder what steps you need to take in order to be successful in the Digital Age? If so, you HAVE TO read this article. Rovio Entertainment’s story-strategy is a big lesson that needs to be learned.
It all started back in 2009, when the Angry Birds mobile game was first released. Since then this really simple mobile game has more than one billion downloads. Rovio Entertainment’s strategy is much more than just a mobile game development. Over these three years Rovio’s digital marketing strategy focused not only on the mobile-sphere but also in almost all the digital touch points (Consoles, TV, Social Networks e.t.c) plus the offline world.
But let’s put things in order.
Rovio’s Digital Marketing Strategy:
Rovio Entertainment was founded in 2003, with a different company name back then (Relude), and it was mainly a game development company. After 51 not so popular game titles they released Angry Birds.
They tried to develop a mobile game that would be targeted to everyone, would be simple, would be physics based and could be expandable to other platforms. Its loading times had to be minimal so “the user could play the game just for a little while.”
They tried to build an addictive game. As Mark Griffin said (a professional psychologist) “It’s also incredibly simple. If it were too complicated, people wouldn’t persist. Addictions in the true sense are about constant rewards. I’ve never met anyone addicted to a bi-weekly national lottery, because there are only two chances a week. On a slot machine, when you can gamble 30 times a minute, that’s very rewarding. On a game like Angry Birds, it’s every few seconds.”
Their business development strategy was first to conquer smaller markets. Angry Birds was first released in Finland and in a couple of days hit number one at the Finnish app store. Then it hit number one in Sweden, Denmark, Greece and the Czech Republic. By February 2010 was number one in U.K and by October of the same year was in the top five in U.S. Rovio’s strategy wasn’t just to conquer the app store and then leave the game at its luck but as Rovio’s CEO said “Our goal is to turn Angry Birds into a permanent part of pop culture, as Walt Disney Co. did with Mickey Mouse.”
On July 2011 the company changed its name from Rovio Mobile to Rovio Entertainment, which better reflects its desire for multi-media strategy and its desire to produce Angry Birds features outside the mobile games industry.
A very important aspect of Rovio’s strategy was their desire to focus on building a strong relationship with the users, they answered to every tweet and every fan letter that they received!
The addictive and simplicity features of the game weren’t enough for this massive success of Angry Birds. Their continuous presence in many digital platforms, played a big role in its success. Users can play Angry Birds in almost every digital platform allowing Rovio to penetrate multiple markets.
Angry Birds was first released for IOS software and then became compatible with every mobile software. (Angry bird’s monetization strategy isn’t the subject of this article.)
On April 2011 Rovio Entertainment releases Angry Birds Magic. The game was specially designed for Nokia’s NFC (Near Field Communications) enabled Symbian Devices. The game includes 20 levels. It starts with five levels and in order to unlock the rest the user must make contact with an other user’s compatible mobile phone. With this feature Rovio is using interaction methods in order to build an innovating user engagement model.
Rovio releases “The Chrome Dimension” on May 2011. It’s the first time Angry Birds is available in PC software, exclusively for Google Chrome, with lots of new levels and features.
In August 2011 Angry birds makes its first appearance on Social Networks (Google +). Users can share updates with their friends, compete on leaderboards and many more. As Rovio’s Ceo said “Angry Birds for Google+ is a great start, but it’s just our first step in social gaming”.
Rovio Entrainment’s strategy was to penetrate in Social Gaming. In February 2012 Rovio releases “Angry Birds Friends”. Users can challenge their Facebook friends in weekly tournaments, interact socially with them (use avatars, send gifts, invite them to play e.t.c). Rovio is using social interaction to engage the user in playing angry birds, once again.
Samsung Smart TV
In August 2012 Rovio releases Angry Birds on Samsung Smart TV. The gameplay is the same as the classic Angry Birds but with a gesture controller. This means that you control the slingshot with ”your own hand movements”. With this innovating feature users can gather around and play Angry Birds all together, which brings a whole new experience to the game.
Angry birds is also available to other platforms too, PSP, X-Box 360 e.t.c
Video and Animations
Rovio Entertainment made a massive presence on video world with the Angry Bird’s YouTube channel. This channel includes trailers, fan based video and much much more.
In March 2013 Rovio releases an animated series called “Angry Birds Toons”. These animated series are available inside the mobile app that can be accessed by a button next to the play button. These series include 53 episodes, one every week.
Each episode provides explanations for the characters history and aspects of their relationship with the pigs. In the first episode Rovio gave names to all the birds’ characters. These practices deliver much more engagement for the funs. The users now know the history behind this game, they can engage with every character and relate their own characteristics with them. The duration of each episode is 2.50 minutes.
Rovio is starting to produce in-house their first full-length animated movie. This movie is expected to hit the theatres in 2016. The movie will be in 3D by the producer of “Despicable me “(John Cohen).
Rovio’s multi-channel strategy expanded to the off-line world as well. On December 2010 the first plush toys were available for purchase through the application.
On November 2011 the first store opened in Finland. Fans can find there, plush toys, t-shirts and other Angry Birds accessories. Shortly after more stores opened to other countries too.
Mixing Digital Marketing with Traditional Marketing Techniques
But physical stores weren’t enough for Rovio Entertainment. They wanted to expand their horizons and build theme parks. This new business development gives to fans the physical interaction they real need. In my opinion is the optimum strategy of all. If you manage to connect the on-line world with the off-line world, you can conquer the market and become a “merchandize phenomenon”.
So in my opinion there are three main digital marketing shafts of Rovio Entertainment success:
It all starts with the game itself. The simplicity and the addictiveness of the game is one of the main reasons Angry Birds become so popular in the first place.
• Engagement Technics
The engagement of the user is the reason that he will continue to play and buy the online & offline products. The engagement technics (Interaction, Social gaming, Animations e.t.c) that we discussed before, bring to users a positive psychological pressure and a feeling of relation with the game, the characters and their social environment, which empowers the addictive aspects of the product.
• Multi Channel Strategy
The multi-channel strategy expands the market that a product is reaching, which brings much more awareness and a lot of new users to the game. It’s easy for Rovio to reach users either they are on their mobile phone, on their pc, TV e.t.c
Filaretos Tsetis (4 Posts)Filaretos Tsetis, received his BSc in Social Sciences from University of Aegean and his M.B.A from the same University, he also holds an Internet & Social Media Marketing diploma. He is involved in Digital Marketing since 2011. He was the Web and Digital marketing executive of the largest private company of energy supply products and services in Greece and he has also worked as an internet consultant. Now he is working as a freelancer, managing digital projects.