Candy Crush is one of the leading iOS and Android apps in both download volume and revenue generated. As a result, we decided to investigate Candy Crush and it’s connection to Apple’s traffic a couple days after the end of the game’s Big May Sale. We expected to see a traffic correlation between the two, but actually discovered the astonishing effect of email marketing.
Candy Crush Soda Saga is The Most Popular App on iTunes
We started out by running a Jumpshot Site Analysis report for Apple.com, in order to identify traffic trends. We identified two significant traffic peaks in 2015, but both could be explained by the Apple Watch. The first results from Apple’s Spring Forward event on March 9th, where the Apple Watch was announced. The second traffic peak was caused by Apple Watch pre-orders, which were enabled on April 10th.
We then decided to take a look at the Top Pages section, to see if we could find Candy Crush there. And just as matching soda bottles raises the soda level Candy Crush Soda Saga’s download page is the second most viewed page on Apple.com, exceeded only by the iTunes thank you page.
Candy Crush Soda Saga: Traffic Trends and Channels
We then analyzed Candy Crush Soda Saga’s Traffic and Engagement metrics for 2015 and were amazed to discover a 310% daily traffic spike on April 4th, as well as two smaller traffic spikes, one on May 18th and the other on May 22nd.
We decided to investigate these traffic spikes, but before we did that we needed to understand the website’s standard metrics and traffic distribution. The Traffic Channel section shows us that 47.5% of the traffic to the site during 2015 was generated by search, 24.5% was driven by referrals, 16.5% was direct traffic and 11.5% was social traffic. Armed with this baseline information we could now drill down and investigate these 3 traffic peaks.
Candy Crush Soda Saga Spring Offer: Emails Work
First we looked into the most prominent traffic spike on April 4th. We quickly identified that the reason for this spike was Candy Crush’s Spring Offer, reflected by 7 out of the 10 Top Pages for that day being Spring Offer landing pages.
Next, we wanted to identify the channels that drove the traffic. Our Traffic Channel section revealed a very different traffic distribution on April 4th with 52% percent of the traffic generated by referrals and 39% direct traffic. This is more than double that amount of referred traffic and over triple the amount of direct traffic, compared to the website’s baseline levels. This section also shows that most of the referral traffic was generated by an email campaign.
#SodaQuiz and Candy Crush Big May Sale Fail
We then looked into the two smaller traffic peaks and traced them back to two campaigns. The May 18th traffic spike was caused by Candy Crush’s #SodaQuiz online-offline campaign, which included a TV ad and an online competition. This campaign resulted in tripling direct traffic amounts (34%) and elevating referral traffic (35.5%), compared to the website’s baselines. The increase in direct traffic was most likely caused by the TV ad telling viewers to go to the website to win Candy Crush merchandise, and the elevated referred traffic was caused by the visitors that reached the competition page from the developer’s website (King.com).
We then moved on to investigate the May 22nd traffic spike and learned that it was caused by Candy Crush’s Big May Sale. This promotion was similar to the Spring Offer (discounted in-app purchases and bonuses), so we could not understand why this promotion performed so poorly compared to the Spring Offer. We dug a little deeper into the data and discovered that the answer was in the traffic channels. While an email campaign drove most of the referred traffic to the website for the Spring Offer, this medium was missing entirely from this campaign. The lack of email marketing efforts may partially explain this campaign’s failure, with purchase bugs and the negative user reviews they created, explaining the rest.
Bottom Line: The astonishing success of Candy Crush’s Spring Offer demonstrates the power of email marketing, as does the Big May Sale failure.
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