Nintendo should have used influencers to…
- Explain pricing structure
- Educate target customers on unique selling points
- Chain reaction of good reviews
After the record-breaking release of Pokémon GO last summer, Nintendo looked set for another hit with Super Mario Run.
And it was. Super Mario Run was downloaded more than 40 million times in the first four days.
In fact, Nintendo seemed to have pulled off entry to mobile staggeringly well.
But after such a promising start, why did Super Mario Run usage taper off so fast?
The short answer is that users did not feel it was worth $10, “more than 5 per cent” of people who downloaded the game paid for the full version.
$10 was already a steep price tag for any app, but many users also felt cheated that the price was not properly communicated ahead of its release on December 15.
As a result, Nintendo suffered a barrage of bad reviews in the iOS app store – further compounding its ‘is it worth the money?’ problem.
And this is where it all started to crumble. Within just four days of its release more than half of the 70,000 reviews of the game globally on the app store gave it just one star.
Poor reviews potentially knocked billions off Nintendo’s revenue.
But influencers could have mitigated a lot of the negative reaction in three fundamental ways.
- By explaining the pricing structure to target customers and why it was chosen
- By educating target customers why it is worth $10 and its unique selling points
- By starting a chain of good reviews of the game
Super Mario Run featured heavily on social media, with many influencers talking about the game without paid promotion.
Since November 2016 (the month before it’s release date) around 1,300 YouTube channels have done 4,397 videos.
In total, they have 55 million views about Super Mario Run.
Below are a couple of examples.
But while some influencers played the game, the content was more promotional than informative.
It probably generated installs, but not necessarily quality installs.
Nintendo should have used influencers to explain that while the game was available in the free section of the app store, to unlock most of the content would require a fee of $10.
And they should have done it in the build up to the app’s release.
This would have helped Nintendo reassure target customers they understood and valued their concerns.
Firstly, that $10 was a lot to pay for an app (especially one with as short a shelf life as Super Mario Run).
Secondly, that they needed to be trustworthy and transparent about the app’s pricing plan.
This is usually how influencers generate quality installs, that is downloaders who stick with the app – in the case of Super Mario Run it means pay the $10 for the full experience.
Educating the target customer includes an expert demonstration of the app, perhaps with particular tips or hacks the average gamer wouldn’t be aware of.
But it also means identifying the app’s unique selling points and communicating this to the target customer in a way they’ll relate to and believe.
In sum, Nintendo need to use influencers to educate its target customers as to why the app was worth paying $10 for.
If the downloader knows exactly what to expect from the app, he or she is much less likely to write a bad review.
The next stage is recommendations.
If Nintendo had used influencers to set off a chain reaction of recommendations, they could well have generated far more good reviews on the app store.
This would have minimised the effect of the negative comments and given a more positive perception of the app for those considering paying $10 to unlock the full game.
The influencer’s own good review, in addition with the explanation and educational elements of their content, would in all likelihood encouraged their viewers to download the game and give it a good rating.
They would be happier with their purchase, because the influencer has helped manage their expectations of the app.
You can even ask the influencer to tell their viewers to review the app in the app store – perhaps offering a giveaway competition to those who do.
Piggy backing of an established and trusted brand name, and allowing Apple to power most of its marketing, is only going to get Nintendo so far.
If they want to maintain a presence in the mobile gaming market, they need to step up.
Apps live and die by their reviews, and for all the might of the Nintendo brand, Super Mario and Pokémon, we see they fall into the same trap.
Without some more effective, more efficient investment in influencer marketing it well turn out Nintendo’s mobile apps will spark record releases but flop soon after.