MapleStoryM stands as a renowned mobile MMORPG operated by Nexon. This game transports players into the enchanting realm of MapleStory, originally a PC-based universe. Its remarkable success has resulted in over 77 million global downloads, firmly establishing its popularity on the global gaming stage.
MapleStoryM, a mobile MMORPG by Nexon, has been downloaded over 77 million times, launched globally in 2018. In 2022, to actively target Singapore for the game's 4th anniversary, Nexon run a branding campaign alongside its ongoing User Acquisition (UA) campaign. As OOH campaign is vital for a branding campaign in Singapore, Nexon used Hivestack's Demand Side Platform (DSP) to run a large-scale Programmatic Digital Out-of-Home (pDOOH) campaign across Singapore. Then, Airbridge's Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) solution analyzed the campaign effectiveness using the first-party data from Nexon as well as ad spend and impression data from Hivestack. The results confirmed that pDOOH campaign significantly contributed to Nexon’s revenue increase.
OOH campaigns target whoever passes by the display. In other words, it is impossible to collect user-level data and identify each passerby. Verifying whether users actually viewed the ads and attributing the impact of the ads with other digital ads added to the complexities. Given the importance of OOH campaigns in Singapore, Nexon knew they had to proceed with the campaign despite the evident limitations.
Before executing OOH campaigns, Nexon identified three target segments and estimated their performance in advance: 1) retargeting dormant and churned users, 2) targeting competitors' game users using Data Management Platforms (DMP), and 3) targeting key locations such as downtown. The expectation was that retargeting would yield the highest performance, followed by competitive game targeting and key location targeting.
Using Hivestack's DSP with data and location-based targeting technology, Nexon ran pDOOH campaign. Leveraging first-party data, Nexon conveyed messages to dormant and churned users at locations they frequented. After that, Nexon differentiated between new and returning users based on data and evaluated the UA costs and ROAS of each user group. As expected, the retargeting campaign on dormant and churned users resulted in lower UA costs and higher ROAS than other groups.
In light of the heightened emphasis on user privacy driven by Apple's ATT policy and Google's Privacy Sandbox, Nexon embarked on a quest to uncover performance measurement strategies in this new privacy-first era. Nexon has joined forces with Airbridge to delve into the realm of MMM and gain invaluable insights.
MMM functions by evaluating the connection between advertising activities and their outcomes through rigorous statistical analysis. Differing from the traditional Last-touch Attribution (LTA) model which requires access to user-level data, MMM uses aggregate data. This alignment with the principles of privacy is particularly relevant in today's landscape. Leveraging Airbridge's cutting-edge MMM Studio, a newly invented self-service marketing mix modeling platform, allows for creating models perfectly tailored to your marketing goals and business needs.
The focal point of Nexon's MMM analysis within the MapleStoryM campaign was to assess the impact of both "iOS ads encompassing user acquisition and re-engagement" and "branding campaigns including pDOOH campaign" on the revenue generated by new and returning users during a 30-day window following a particular event.
Airbridge meticulously constructed a bespoke MMM model for Nexon, leveraging daily ad spend data to predict revenue outcomes. However, inherent challenges emerged due to the disproportionate revenue contribution from whales and the intricate task of attributing revenue solely to advertising costs, especially during in-game event periods. Addressing these complexities, Airbridge integrated factors like early-month effects and special in-game events into the model based on Nexon's valuable insights.
As a result, Airbridge consistently concluded that Nexon's iOS advertising and branding campaign significantly contributed to attracting dormant users. In other words, Airbridge's MMM, as a third party solution, was able to objectively verify the effectiveness of pDOOH campaign.
As Nexon's MMM analysis with Airbridge has brought out meaningful results, Nexon will continue its efforts to provide means to analyze marketing performance in the privacy-first world. Recently, Nexon has been using MMM to measure marketing activities previously unmeasurable by MMPs, such as global UA campaigns for titles released on the Nintendo Switch platform. Nexon stands as one of the fastest companies to try less-familiar marketing channels and promptly apply them to marketing. Nexon will continue its research to measure and maximize its marketing performance.
“Airbridge MMM has enabled us to measure ad performance for iOS users and branding campaigns, addressing gaps left by MMP. In the privacy-first era, Airbridge MMM will stand out as a measurement solution that aligns perfectly with the principles of privacy-first advertising.
At Nexon, we will leverage MMM to measure and optimize marketing performance, enhancing campaign efficiency and effectiveness.”
- WooChang Lee (Deputy Department Manager, Nexon)
Airbridge's MMM solution provides visibility, objectivity, and reliability in advertising performance, even for offline channels whose performance is known to be impossible to measure.
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