The universal power of storytelling: How a gaming studio won audiences around the world

Mladen Vlasic, Jure Rasic / January 2020

We all appreciate a good story. Croatian gaming studio Nanobit really believe in their power. Their original titles — like My Story, Hollywood Story, and Chef Town — have been downloaded over 100 million times. Propelled by unique, interactive narratives, the studio’s games have been played by 3.5 million monthly active users. My Story has also topped the charts in English-speaking markets.

Once upon a time

As My Story’s initial market reached saturation, user acquisition slowed down. Faced with potential stagnation in profits, the studio began to work on a strategy that would open up new markets, in a bid to increase the number of downloads, daily users, and revenue.

Storytelling worked well with English-speaking audiences, so the studio decided it could appeal to new markets by translating its games from English into a range of local languages.

A new international chapter

Nanobit knew that by localising content, the game would appeal to a new user base. But they wanted to ensure that they were prioritising the right markets with the most potential. The studio broke the process down into several stages to help manage costs and use data to drive decision making.

First, it conducted market analysis to help identify which language would generate more potential users. Teaming up with Nanobit data analysts, Google created a market scorecard combining Nanobit player data with Google insights. Based on these results, the studio translated the game to German and tested it in the region for several weeks, before gradually expanding to other markets.

Nanobit used in-house localisation tools that mapped the user interface and replaced English text with translated text. This accelerated the process, automating tasks and saving time that otherwise would have been dedicated to manual text input.

The teams pooled data from Market Finder and internal sources and housed it on a custom Data Studio dashboard. The data was used to determine the markets and keywords with the most potential, and defined the overall structure of their marketing campaigns.

Happily ever after

With a 680% increase in daily active users and a 1400% increase in daily profit, localisation was a happy new chapter in the Nanobit story. The studio has seen a major increase in downloads and revenue in German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and French-speaking countries, with 200% higher Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) in French and German-speaking countries than the main markets.

While the US is still leading the way on return on investment as the primary market, France and Germany — within 3 months of launch — are driving almost the same number of installs for 3.5X less cost. In addition, the two countries are experiencing a 3X higher Return on Investment (ROI) and lower cost per install than English-speaking countries. Put simply: Nanobit is experiencing a higher return for less in newly opened markets.

“The main goal of the app localization was to provide international players with the same kind of experience that players in English-speaking areas already enjoyed. Additionally, our intention was to increase the number of downloads, daily users, and revenue, which included the acquisition of new players on the existing markets and the expansion to new ones. We can proudly claim that we have managed to achieve all our pre-set objectives.”
— Jure Rasic, Head of Product, Nanobit

The next adventure begins

Nanobit currently has four principal business goals: the acquisition of new players in the existing markets, consistent user growth, continued growth in revenue, and the ongoing development of new and trendy products.

And to help them get there, they're scaling localisation to all app stories, and translating My Story to Italian, Spanish, and Russian — as well as considering the addition of APAC languages in the future. Localisation has also been added to all future game release plans, meaning that every new title will be transcreated for suitable markets.

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