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Home Blog App Promotion Strategy Effective ASO Strategies for Strategy Games on the App Store

Effective ASO Strategies for Strategy Games on the App Store

Jan 8 2021

Strategy games are a derivative of the Simulation Game genre. When the object of a simulation game is more than just an object, the player needs to ensure that the object achieves the goals set by the game when playing the game. Simulation games are generally free and open-ended, so players need to do everything they can to accomplish their goals within the game's accepted limits (game rules). This has given rise to a whole new genre of games - strategy games. Because simulation games are generally more free and open, players need to play within the limits (rules of the game) recognized by the game to move intelligently.

ASO strategies for strategy games

The success of Clash of Clans

  • representative of long-lived game
  • miracle of mobile game industry

In August 2012, the Finnish game company Supercell oy launched a strategy hand game "Clash of Clans", which referred to as COC, Supercell company did not invest huge amounts of money on COC publicity, but "Clash of Clans" has accumulated an increasingly good reputation with its excellent quality, and the number of players also in this The number of players also grew steadily in the process. Three months after the game's launch, Clash of Clans topped the US App Store charts. Six months after the game was launched, COC was in the top 10 of the APP Store charts in almost every country on earth. The success of the game created a huge stir in the gaming community, and developers around the world began to copy the gameplay of Clash of Clans, eventually leading to a whole new genre of games called "COC Like".

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Clash of Clans has been operating for 8 years now, and still dominates the top of the major strategy games list and brings Supercell a monthly revenue of 100 million dollars, which can be said to be the representative of long-lived mobile game and the miracle of mobile game industry.

Why does the Clash of Clans is so popular?

  • The gameplay of Clash of Clans
  • The core of Clash of Clans
  • Enhance user stickiness

Clash of Clans is a war strategy game in which players run their villages from scratch, from weak to strong, and gradually strengthen their troops through their efforts, thus increasing their ability to plunder resources and defend their tribes. The core of Clash of Clans is a simulation and custom tower defense micro-innovation, combining the advantages of the two types of gameplay and achieving the effect of 1+1 is greater than 2. It not only increases the activity and stickiness of users, but also expands the user base. As an online real-time strategy game, players have to organize armies to collect resources to make their legions grow gradually and attack other players' tribes for ranking. The core gameplay is the player's layout of buildings, walls, traps and weapons, and getting the fortifications done quickly is the main job. Stealing has proven to be a very attractive way to play in the social sphere, and because tower defense-style battles are the norm in this game, stealing also becomes a logical presence for loot.

The high freedom of DIY tower defense adds interest and attracts users to delve into the gameplay, and the confrontational nature of PVP becomes a means to promote user consumption. The system gives players a free and fast upgrade experience at the beginning, ostensibly to speed up the progress of the game, but actually to cultivate players' consumption habits. At the later stage of the game, the time spent on operation and construction will increase exponentially, and the upgrade time will vary from minutes and hours to days and days, so players who can't stand it will start to pay for gems to accelerate the upgrade.

Some Effective ASO Strategies for Strategy Games Easy to be Ignored

Unique of character style and aesthetics help your strategy game win a lot

Almost every popular game has a common feature which is the unique style of painting. From "Clash of Clans" we can understand Supercell's deep and pleasing artwork, which chooses a more cartoonish and casual style of character drawing, with a comfortable color scheme and a plain background without losing artistry, meeting the needs of mobile lightness without making adult players feel childish. In order to control the middle of the balance, the game has made several visual changes, and reference to Pixar Animation Studios, Capcom character painting style finally to shape. The beauty of this art style is that there is no hint of darkness would be rejected and there are plenty of examples that have proven to be popular worldwide with young and old alike, which COC hopes will attract a large number of users.

Strategy Game App Icons: The importance of characters

Many strategy games use a character in the icon. This can suggest to the user that the strategy game will involve characterization, and more depth.
If you're doing ASO for a mobile strategy game, try experimenting with these styles and gauge user response. What is more powerful for your game, utilizing characters, game elements or your brand name?

Since the icon is the only element that appears in all user streams, it will have an impact on click-through rates from top/category images, featured locations, search results, and even on the performance of ads on channels like Facebook that include icons in their ad creative.

When users are exposed to the full App Store or Google Play store page, icons can tell a cohesive story along with other elements. For example, icons communicate that the game is about an IP, and now users will be more willing to explore the screenshot gallery to learn exactly how that IP fits into the game.

Strategy Games’ Screen-shots

A picture paints a thousand words

Screen-shots complement the name and description of the game and can be a more visual representation of the game setup. A fine screenshot is like an attractive advertising poster that easily and quickly grabs the user's attention. Use interesting content to attract users, but be careful to differentiate it from the boutique display and not to clash the images. Also avoid cluttered and difficult to understand content, users who can quickly get the content and settings of the game will have a relatively higher conversion rate.

For games with a strong character orientation, we see the usage of characters in the screenshot gallery to show. Strong and recognizable characters that they will encounter in the game. This helps to get the attention of IP fans and get them interested in the game.


Different style of screen-shots

After analyzing screen-shots from a design perspective, we found that while there are several messaging strategies commonly used by mobile marketers, an many ways to deliver these messages in a visual way. The design style itself can help and can also hurt the deliverability of the marketing message. Within the mobile strategy game category, we see three main design styles that dominate across the top games:

  • Using art to convey the theme of the game is not necessarily limited by the actual gameplay.  This style can support the message by presenting the game experience in the most immersive way possible.
  • Adding subtitles to gameplay is a simple design strategy that focuses on the gameplay itself, supplemented by subtitles to convey additional information.
  • The style of mixing gameplay and captions is a combination of "gameplay with captions" and "art" style, where the "art" style includes a game character at the top of the screenshot, on top of a screenshot of the game.

What’s new for strategy games: updates

Another ASO strategy that is widely used by top strategy games is to regularly describe whats new in the “what’s new” section of each latest release of the game as well as the bugs that are fixed. This is important for players who are looking for games that have enough depth to keep them entertained for a long time. It is also significance to re-engage lapsed users and show them that there are new things to experience within the game.


One of the key features of influencer marketing is the natural affinity with the target audience. Influencers in major verticals have to understand fan favorites and preferences better than others, and can inspire empathy from content.

Creating content is the strength of influencer, but how to collaborate deeply with brands to create and distribute exciting content to achieve the expected business results requires the integration of the capabilities of both MCNs and marketing companies.

When promoting, a rich variety of KOL can be selected, including famous game rappers, various strategy game player, commentary women, university strategy professors, YouTube influencer, etc. Then, according to the different characteristics of the influencers, tailor-made scripts will be made to guide the KOLs to make videos suitable for their characteristics under the unified concept of overall planning, so as to pave the way for the game's promotion and accumulate heat from various angles.

For example, the positioning of the game emphasizes "the most strategic war game for smart people", and based on the attributes of past users, two major user groups are identified: one is the user group who likes war strategy, and the other is the user group of (technical) geeks.


Strategy game players are eager to build communities with other players and developers

Communities play an integral role in increasing the number of downloads and purchases of mobile games. Players of strategy games tend to be more active than players of other categories, and they are very active in social activities related to the category. In the U.S., three-quarters of strategy gamers participate in offline strategy game networking events or some social activity related to the category such as checking other players' scores and achievements online, while in Korea, the figure is as high as 92%.

While strategy gamers tend to naturally deepen their relationships with each other, developers can still grow their communities by providing the right content. In addition, strategy gamers are eager to receive relevant information from game developers, with 94% of UK gamers and 91% of US gamers saying they open certain marketing messages from game companies. Strategy gamers in all markets are particularly interested in game tips, tricks, and information about upcoming game events. In such a gaming community, players can communicate with each other and create more sparks to attract more players.

ASO Topic App Store Optimization, Creative Optimization & Creative strategy, App Growth Case Study,


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  • Bruce Christensen
    What is the role of the icon of strategy games? Reply
    • Marcia Frank

      @Bruce Christensen Browse and Search are the biggest sources of mobile game installs, and visual optimization (icons, screenshots and videos) plays an important role in the conversion of installs. With Icon and screenshots on the game details page, users can understand at a glance what the game is about and what makes it great. Reply