We were delighted to partner with Swedish publisher Thunderful on the latest title in the SteamWorld series - SteamWorld Build. Since 2010, the SteamWorld franchise has become synonymous with versatility, with each game tackling a different genre - RTS, platformer, turn-based strategy, simulation and deck-building. Each shift in genre has had the same result: critical acclaim and the adoration of the franchise’s dedicated and growing community.
Video ad suites
As the name suggests, SteamWorld Build is in the city-building genre, although there are also tower defence and dungeon-crawling elements. The Thunderful team were keen to drive the game’s pre-release pre-order and wishlist numbers using video content, and this is where we joined the project.
Build features four main gameplay pillars: build, mine, defend and escape. Our first production saw us create a suite of three video ads showcasing these core pillars; these ads formed the campaign's foundation.
Following this initial success, the Thunderful team asked us to devise two more videos that would showcase the gameplay innovatively. We love these challenges because they test our creativity and really get us thinking.
Our first video for this portion of the campaign used icons representing each content pillar and a fake mouse pointer to create a web-like interface. The mouse pointer moved between the icons, selecting each in turn while the content displayed gameplay footage for the selected pillar.
For video two, we adopted a split-screen approach. With the screen divided horizontally, we showed content from each gameplay footage in pairs. The result was a highly engaging video that also encouraged viewers to rewatch.
Along with extensive localisation, we also produced versions of our ads that used different CTAs. These included “pre-order now”, “buy now”, “get it now” and “play now”. Thanks to our work, the Thunderful crew could A/B test each version and settle on the best performing.
A/B or split testing is a necessity for any marketing campaign. It allows marketers to determine which ad version most impacts viewer engagement. That leads to better ROI in your marketing campaign, gives you valuable insights into your customers and allows you to produce more engaging future campaigns.
The advertising campaign for Build encompassed many platforms, which meant we needed to create versions of our videos with multiple resolutions. We paid particular attention to TikTok, where we needed to be mindful of making the main pillars work within the platform’s UI. On TikTok, short videos are king, so our ads for this platform needed to be as punchy and engaging as possible to capture viewer attention.
By the end of the project, we had produced more than 500 individual assets - pretty good going!
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