Angry Birds is a simple puzzle video game developed by Rovio Mobile in 2009 that took the world by storm and has ever since been extremely popular. It is a mobile app whose franchise is expanding towards toys, board games, cookbooks and video game consoles. The goal is to retrieve stolen bird eggs from hungry pigs (enemy) and eliminate these pigs by killing them. The players launch wingless birds into the air using a slingshot to destroy pigs and structures housing them. These structures housing the pigs are made of different materials like glass, wood, and stones that resemble toy building blocks of children. If players can complete the first mission successfully, (by eliminating all pigs within the given time and number of birds), they proceed to the next level whereby different pigs await to be killed as well as structures to be destroyed. New types of birds as well as features including explosives become available to the players as they progress through advanced levels. Some birds have special abilities that can be activated by players when they are airborne while others are very effective against particular material. However, what makes consumers hooked on this game is the plethora of holiday promotions, additional content and free updates.
Angry birds is most probably one of the most popular apps out there despite the availability of other numerous apps (over 2 million) worldwide. Angry Birds is downloaded over a million times a day and is played for a total of over 200 minutes a day! It’s apparent that the global market for “apps” is already humongous yet this rate continues to grow rapidly. Regarding sales, the global app market accounted for $ 6.8 billion in sales in 2010 only. Analysts projected that this digit would double up to $25 billion by 2015. In 2015, the global mobile app revenues amounted to $69.7 billion ("Mobile app revenues 2015-2020 | Statistic", 2016). These mobile apps are expected to generate $188.9 billion in revenues by 2020 through stores and in – app advertising. According to the Global games market report of 2016, gamers worldwide were projected to generate revenue totaling to $99.6 billion in 2016 alone with 37% of it being generated by mobile apps ("The Global Games Market 2016 | Per Region & Segment | Newzoo", 2016). $99.6 billion is up 8.5% compared to the previous year (2015). North America is said to produce the most revenue in the app market while Asia maintains the highest total of app downloads. Several factors have helped propel Angry Birds to immense success. These are;
• The company made the game simple to use and thus increased its addictive power.
• Engagement of the company in customer relationship management and maintaining communication with consumers via social media
• The game received a boost from celebrity endorsement
• The game’s unpredictability that lures in consumers
• The Apple platform where the game started which opened the company up for innovation and gave them an enormous market.
The Angry Birds franchise continues to expand and engage with customers through developing innovations and partnering with other organizations. The company is planning to get special game features soon as a function of their location and offer Angry Birds merchandise for assorted electronic devices. Rovio, the company behind Angry Birds, has joined hands with BirdLife International to help save threatened birds from extinction as part of cause-related marketing. Rovio helps raise awareness of bird extinction issues through the in-game directing players to BirdLife International web pages so as they can learn about their programs. Likewise, for players who visit BirdLife’s site, there is a trivia question about the extinction of birds that rewards a secret level of Angry Birds for them (P. 261-262).
Q4. Angry Birds and many other apps are available in numerous countries. What are some of the factors that app designers should consider when entering into a foreign market?
Global reach is a concept that was unheard of for entrepreneurs before the digital age, but today, it’s a reality and the only realistic way to maximize revenue. Moreover, applications especially smartphone apps are a hotter digital commodity that is growing in demand, on a global scale at a very fast pace. One can truly go global with their product in this era in a historical manner. App downloads are soaring worldwide, and customers have unprecedented access to information at their fingertips. For instance, the Apple App Store now hosts over 500,000 apps, across more than 40 languages from tens of thousands of particular developer teams. Today’s technologies such as mobile technologies led by Apple are available globally and therefore mobile app developers have an opportunity to reach foreign markets with ease. The following are factors app designers should consider when entering a foreign market;
• Turnaround Time
The Apple app store may take around five days on average to get an app approved. But once the initial app is approved, getting localized versions of the same app approved becomes easier. Apple loves localized apps and therefore this faster turnaround time allows app designers and developers to reach untapped markets faster. App designers should be prepared to release new localized versions of their app in the Apple app store of another country.
• Smartphone Penetration
Deciding which languages to localize the app in is a crucial decision for app designers. It is equally important for them to understand the device ownership profile of their target audience in the foreign country. OS dominance and smartphone penetration have an enormous impact on virality as well as return on investment (ROI). For instance, India’s smartphone is trivial as compared to South Korea’s. It’s important for app designers to know their market size potential before investing money in localization.
• Mechanical Aspects
Having an intention of going global saves app designers time and money to build the app. All content “speaking” to the user will need translation. This will also happen for every error message, every graphic containing text, and every button. Any spoken text in audio form relaying a message to the user will have to be re-recorded in the appropriate language of the foreign markets. The layout of the mobile app will also need to be changed so as to provide room for texts that will expand when translated to another language. This will make the localization process easier and increase discoverability of the app.
• Cultural Acceptability
Mobile games may be popular in one country while informational apps may be more popular in the next. Similarly, not all apps well received in English-speaking markets will be well received in markets that do not speak English. App designers can determine what is culturally accessible through checking the app ranking charts in each target market or country. This way, they get an opportunity to capitalize and deliver a unique product since they get to know what is popular and what doesn’t exist. When it comes to translating mobile apps, the smallest details can make a big difference between cultures. For instance, date and times (formats) are displayed differently worldwide. It’s, therefore, important for app designers to use the appropriate international date and time functions when coding their app
• Discoverability and Distribution
App designers can consider using external help to increase the visibility of their app in a foreign market and drive downloads if they want to supercharge revenue. Companies such as Moolah, Papaya, Tapjoy and AdMob among many others have insights into the international market and can help increase app sales and generate new consumers. There are specific companies that help mobile game developers enter foreign markets and offer deals with major app stores and handset companies that create a one-stop shop for distribution (Clavin, 2011).
Q5. Angry Birds is Appealing to young children because of its simplicity and cartoonish quality. Clearly, children are one of the market segments that Angry Birds is targeting. It is involved in, or is planning such initiatives as clothing, toys, and Angry Birds Happy Meals. Chapter 6 discusses marketing to children and the consumer socialization process. What ethical concerns does Rovio consider when marketing to children?
Marketing ethics mainly deals with moral principles behind operations and regulations of marketing and is an area of applied ethics. Ethics of advertising and promotion are some of the areas of marketing ethics that overlap with media ethics. Market ethics may also apply to different spheres such as in pricing, promotion, and advertising. Children significantly affect the products their parents buy which is why marketers use a lot of money to target children. Children are a target market audience for fashionwear, unhealthy food, and entertainment goods as they are a lucrative market. Children aged 12 and below spend more than $11 billion of their own money while influencing family spending decisions worth another $ 165 billion. However, children do not understand marketing tactics and cannot resist at younger ages. They don’t understand persuasive intent until they are around nine years old. This explains why marketers are taking advantage of this situation. In 2007 alone, approximately $2 billion was spent on advertising to children.
Despite the potential returns children can give to manufacturers, there are key ethical issues that frequently arise in this type of discussion. For instance, do children possess the final buying power? Are children able to understand some of the intricate marketing tactics? Do kids know the negative effects of some of the goods advertised to them? And do marketers need to get permission from their parents? (Smith, 2010) While many criticize, the move to target children in advertising, the issue might not be as clear-cut and one-dimensional as it’s portrayed. Rovio seems to try to prove critics wrong through responsible child – targeted marketing and advertising. The company seeks to serve the best interest of kids as much as it does serve the business objectives of the clients. It aims to establish a notion that marketing to children is ethical if it balances commercial sale with the promotion of positive behavior. Rovio does this by placing products in the appropriate context for use as meal components, to promote age and theme appropriate entertainment, and to encourage play as well as developmental skills.
Rovio has been successful in the industry and “done well by doing good”. The whole team especially marketers and advertisers have done a terrific job that has propelled Angry Birds to the position it is today. They have used a marketing and communications expertise that has sold out products and has enriched the bottom line to new messages that balance product desire with responsible product practice. It’s interesting to see what developments will take place over the next few years and what the future holds for the issue of marketing to children.
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