Watch our masterclass during Hub Forum on October 12th 2021 Speakers: Natacha Kocupyr (VP Digital Marketing, Artefact) & Clément Prevosto (Director Media & CRM, Ubisoft EMEA)

Actionable data and metrics are key to plan, optimise and measure media campaigns

Context and Challenge

The video games industry is one of the most competitive market online with many big actors and titles that need to capture gamers attention all year long and not just during launch. Game publishers are fully aware that the games business is now more globalized, complex, and saturated than ever before, making robust strategic processes throughout development and publishing even more crucial.

Ubisoft was set to launch the new title of its successful franchise, Far Cry 6, in 2021.

The 18-month long media campaign was built around different milestones during the year: announcement of the game in June 2020, E3 conference in June 2021, start of the preorders in June 2021, previews of the game in September 2021 and official launch of the game in October  2021.

In this type of competitive environment, data is key to bring more intelligence to digital strategies and enable a virtuous circle leading to a more effective, informed and data-driven media buy.

“Artefact has been working for two years with Ubisoft on media strategy and campaigns activation.”

Natacha Kocupyr (VP Digital Marketing, Artefact)

Three steps are necessary to achieve Ubisoft’s performance objectives:

  • targeting – precisely define marketing segments and associated audiences
  • messaging – acutely orchestrate campaigns and messages
  • measuring – accurately measure the performance of campaigns

For a game publisher, the main challenge when marketing a new game is that it speaks to different types of gamers and one common message can’t realistically address all these disparate audiences.

“The challenge is to find the targets, orchestrate and optimise campaigns according to our KPIs.”

Natacha Kocupyr (VP Digital Marketing, Artefact)

There are 2.7 billion gamers on the planet, and people across all ages and demographics are engaging with games with all varying levels of interest, loyalty and advocacy. No two gamers are alike and broad labels such as “casual gamers” and “core gamers” are no longer useful on a granular level.

“The evolution of profiles of gamers creates a richness of targets that will enable us to identify the players that are the most receptive to what we want to offer.”

Clément Prevosto (Director Media & CRM, Ubisoft EMEA)

Solution

Using its proprietary data marketing model and Ubisoft’s strong target knowledge, Artefact and Ubisoft came up with different targets, each representing a unique segment of gamers, mutually exclusive, that would be interested in the game to boost performance, spot growth opportunities and maximise potential.

“For each game, we start by defining the targets that we want to focus our investments on that are most likely to convert.”

Clément Prevosto (Director Media & CRM, Ubisoft EMEA)

Relying on a data-driven methodology helped Artefact’s team of experts translate these marketing segments into relevant media audiences. To achieve this step, Artefact involved media planners and media experts to track and understand potential target groups in different countries. Together, they identified the right advertising partners and formats capable of reaching these audiences and to capitalise on untapped gamer groups.

Once the media audiences were defined, the team managed to evaluate the number of people that each audience represents and the volume of impressions needed to achieve the required cover rate. The demographics data allowed experts to break down the core demographics of the franchise into different key variables of a player base.

This data, supplemented with easily accessible consumer engagement data ranging across media tools and Ubisoft’s own ecosystem, was key to serve the audiences by reaching out through the right channels.

“It is about relying both on Ubisoft customer knowledge and data from advertising tools offered by platforms.”

Natacha Kocupyr (VP Digital Marketing, Artefact)

Working on a 18-month long media campaign helped the team optimise, streamline and forecast the operation even further, identify patterns and adjust the marketing plan across different markets and territories to get the most of each euro spent.

“What makes a good partner is their ability to be agile and to react quickly”

Clément Prevosto (Director Media & CRM, Ubisoft EMEA)

Insights gained from Artefact experts have been integral to the marketing strategy and Far Cry’s brand growth.

“This digital media strategy centers on Far Cry 6 but it is used on all of our games”

Clément Prevosto (Director Media & CRM, Ubisoft EMEA)

Compared to the control group, the audiences targeted by the media campaign generated +7% video views and +40% clickthrough rate.

“We measure the performance around business KPIs (such as the volume preorders before the launch of the game), media KPIs and impact KPIs on campaigns and audiences.”

Natacha Kocupyr (VP Digital Marketing, Artefact)

Ubisoft relies on three types of KPIs to evaluate the performance of its media campaigns:

  • business KPIs (preorders, beta downloads)
  • marketing KPIs (awareness, organic views, search levels, sentiment)
  • media KPIs (brand lift, search lift)

During the duration of the campaign, brand lift surveys were a particularly useful tool for the management of the media strategy. More than 70 of them were conducted in the span of 18 months.

“We absolutely have to optimise very quickly and achieve performance in a short duration of time when launching games.”

Clément Prevosto (Director Media & CRM, Ubisoft EMEA)

Results

To conclude, Artefact and Ubisoft, using a variety of tools, defined the most relevant segments, selected the right audiences and estimated their numbers to create a continuously optimised successful media campaign leveraging data that delivered increased engagement in a competitive market environment.

The gaming audience is much more diverse than most media plans assume — and failing to account for these nuances only leads to lower view rates and a higher cost-per-view. Make no assumptions about your audience and strive to get a holistic understanding of the market and individual games that will allow you to segment gaming enthusiasts, based on playing, viewing, owning, and social behavior, to reflect the games market’s changing engagement.

Fundamentals of marketing: targeting the right person, at the right time with the right message remain the same, but data algorithms make the consumer insights much more accurate and by consequence audience targeting much more powerful and allocation of media budgets increasingly profitable. The golden triangle of marketing deserves its bright color nowadays thanks to data !