ZiMAD has been building partnerships with major brands since 2016. As a rule, most of them were made for our flagship product, Magic Jigsaw Puzzles with over 100 million users globally. Since 2011, Magic Jigsaw Puzzles have gathered thousands of puzzle collections of various themes in one place and have become the puzzle game #1 in the USA.
It’s worth mentioning that any partnership can serve different business purposes—from attracting new audiences to increasing the recognizability of the product and the trust of the players. Our first collaboration was meant to reinforce the company’s image. Since then, ZiMAD has managed to work with multiple famous brands, thanks to which we have been able both to conquer the love of millions of puzzle admirers around the world and increase our revenue. Our Product Marketing team would like to share the results of several collaborations of ours and tell about the main factors to consider when partnering with other brands.
In 2016, we launched our first puzzle packs in collaboration with National Geographic. During that period, we were observing a gradual growth in installs and revenue (Q3 2016) explained by the new content in our marketing assets.
In 2017, ZiMAD received the rights to use the content from Sony. Different characters affected the product differently: our installs had a great boost during the release of The Smurfs, which overlapped with a full-scale ad campaign.
Our collaboration with Cartoon Network took place in 2018. While launching our first packs, we were also featured by Apple Game of the Day (worldwide), which considerably increased the organic traffic, and the effect from the ad revenue exceeded all our expectations.
That same year, we also signed a partnership with UNESCO World Heritage. Packs with globally famous landmarks and cultural heritage sites elicited the audience’s response resulting in the growth of installs that followed the release of the first puzzle packs.
Our first packs with Nickelodeon were released in 2020. The installs rate immediately started increasing, and thanks to the branded images, we got a good conversion rate in the store. Even though the packs didn’t cause any growth of paid subscriptions, they increased the ad revenue and helped us to scale our ad campaigns several-fold. Up until now, the video with Nickelodeon images holds top positions in the Mintegral network.
In 2020, we also released a pack in collaboration with R.Nannini. We were surprised to see a quite creative and niche pack that featured content created by artists become the second best-selling pack and gather a ton of positive feedback from players who were asking to create more similar puzzles. It must be said that it’s very important for the product to try different collaborations and not get stuck in a single theme. Quite often, the most unexpected ideas show better results than you can hope.
Since 2021, we’ve been collaborating with such global brands as Disney, Pixar, and Marvel, and their content is still available for the players in the game for free. Thanks to these partnerships, our game with the content from well-known and beloved cartoons was featured not only by the AppStore (Game of the Day), but also by Amazon and Google Play Store. For a long period of time, one of the cartoon characters was placed on the game icon. As a result of this partnership, we’ve managed to enormously increase the volume of purchases, attract a new audience, and improve the level of the players’ loyalty globally.
Things that must be considered when working with brands:
1. A partnership must have a specific business goal
When planning a collaboration, it’s essential to make a prognosis that answers the question “How much can we earn thanks to it?”. For a case to become successful and profitable, you might need additional resources.
For example, this is how a new product marketing department that was conducting all types of research and analyzing and testing multiple hypotheses was created at ZiMAD.
2. Thoroughly analyze the game audience when selecting the partner
When working with intellectual property, it’s important to make sure the brand you choose fits the target audience of the game you plan to aim it at. Do the brand values correlate with the values of your target audience? Will you be able to attract the players you want with the branded content? Define the types of the content you can attract players with and the formats of marketing assets that should be used during the whole player’s journey.
3. Remember that a collaboration is a success accelerator and not something that can make your app return from the dead.
If you don’t have a strong product with efficient monetization, any collaboration will be a waste of your time, money, and effort. The new branded content, on the one hand, boosts the interest from the existing players and, on the other hand, is a great tool for user return.
And, of course, don’t hesitate to get help from your legal department to put all the important details into the contract to keep you away from any troubles in the future. Even though it took us about 18 months to approve and prepare one of our biggest collaborations, we knew it was impossible to predict everything. Something will always go wrong, and it’s completely fine as soon as you’re flexible enough to overcome the circumstances.