Increase engagement and distribution using local events and holidays


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Driving payer conversion in India and Southeast Asia — part 2 of 4​

This year we are building a series of articles and case studies on best practices to drive payer conversion in India and Southeast Asia. This post is the second in a 4-part series. You can read the first post here.

Localizing your game language and store listing is key to exploiting Google Play’s worldwide reach and maximizing your game’s distribution. However, localization is often confused with just translating strings into the local language. For India and Southeast Asia, it’s crucial to culturalize to engage players on their terms.

A critical aspect of culturalization is to align in-game events to the local calendar. Global moments — such as Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday — are slowly making inroads into user behavior in India and Southeast Asia. However, past campaigns for these global moments have shown that the traction of these events is not as great compared to investing in local moments. Conversely, during local moments — such as Lunar New Year, Ramadan, and Diwali — local users have free time and are in the mood to spend. Below are some key India and Southeast Asia seasonal events.

Top seasonal festivals in India:​

1. Holi


Holi is a festival of colors originating from the Indian subcontinent. It is celebrated mainly in India but has also spread to other areas of Asia.

Date: March

2. Diwali


Diwali is a festival of light, predominantly celebrated in northern, western, and central India. Gifting and spending money on new things is considered auspicious.

Date: Between October and November

Top seasonal festivals in Southeast Asia:​

  1. Ramadan

The Holy Month of Ramadan is a cornerstone of the Islamic faith. More than 25% of the world’s Muslim population live in Southeast Asia, and Malaysia and Indonesia alone account for 245 million Muslims.

Date: Varies

2. Songkran


Songkran is Thailand’s most famous festival and important holiday. An important event on the Buddhist calendar, this water festival marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year.

Date: April 13 to 15 every year

3. Lunar New Year


Lunar New Year is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. It’s celebrated across Southeast Asia, especially in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore.

Date: Between the end of January and middle of February

Suggestions for developers​

Run deals, offers, and LiveOps around local seasonal events to engage your players and acquire new users.

  • Introduce local items and themes related to local festivals or events.
  • Provide more value to users through event related sales or free gifts to drive conversion.
  • Prepare and use seasonal event-themed creatives.
  • Engage influencer networks and social media marketing to amplify the local seasonal LiveOps.

Recommended thematic implementations for key local seasonal events:​

  1. Ramadan: Typical motifs include the moon, stars, lanterns, and minarets.
  2. Holi: Introduce elements related to splashing colors.
  3. Lunar New Year: Introduce fireworks, Chinese lanterns, red envelopes, lion and dragon dances.
  4. Songkran: Introduce water-gun fights, brightly colored and Hawaiian type clothing and costume, and powdering character’s faces white.
  5. Diwali: Introduce elements such as lights, fireworks, gifting, and rangoli decorations.

Why is it important?​

As smartphone penetration rates increase in mobile-first economies throughout India and Southeast Asia, people are increasingly turning to their phones to play games, shop, find information, and the platform for almost any day-to-day activity. Google Play data shows that the significance of local events and holidays to developers has seen exponential growth.

Developer implementations​

1) Honkai Impact 3 offered Songkran exclusive ability for players in Thailand


Developer miHoYo created Rita: Songkran, a Songkran exclusive stigma (a feature that enables a character to mutate and take on new skills) for Honkai Impact 3 players in Thailand. This stigma gave characters a weapon skill that spawns a water balloon with a delayed explosion.

From April 9 to 15, 2020, more engaged players had a chance to claim the new stigmata by completing daily missions to claim rewards and unlock 18 puzzle pieces.

“Our user community loved the Songkran event. We got great feedback through our Thai community channels. We saw a 10% increase in DAU during the event period and a 100% increase in spending on the first day of the event.“

- miHoYo Overseas Team

2) Rise of Kingdoms introduced special bundles to celebrate Ramadan with their fans​


In 2020 Lilith Games introduced a special Ramadan Gifts bundle in Rise of Kingdoms, and their players loved it.

Following the success in 2020, they created a Ramadan-themed package in 2021 called Stars and Moon; it contains an Islam Theme Frame, Tome of Knowledge, Dazzling Starlight Sculpture, and other items. The package name and items reinforced the connection to Ramadan. For example, the crescent moon and star are important symbols in Islam, with the new moon’s crescent signifying the beginning and end of fasting during Ramadan.

“Ramadan is one of our important seasonal offers. The 2020 Ramadan-themed IAP package brought a 40% increase in our 7-day average billings in SEA.”

- Lilith Games Operation Team

3) 8 Ball Pool often introduces new cues for Diwali and Holi​


Miniclip created several IAP bundles in 8 Ball Pool to celebrate Holi and Diwali. These bundles offered a discount of around 80% to players in India. The bundles included Diwali Dhamaka (firecrackers) and various Cues for Diwali and Avatars and Surprise Boxes for Holi. Also, players who purchased the Diwali bundles received the Drum Beat avatar as a free Diwali gift.

“Incorporating local seasonal events, such as Diwali and Holi, into our promos and offers in India have helped to grow our revenue by over 20% and built stronger relationships with our players in the local community.“

- Saad Choudri (Chief Strategy Officer, Miniclip)

4) Clash of Clans celebrate Lunar New Year across Southeast Asia​


Supercell added several festivities on Clash of Clans to celebrate the 2021 Lunar New Year with players across Southeast Asia.

They revived the Warrior Queen skin and introduced a new Lunar New Year Warrior King skin. There was also a new wall breaker decoration (Firework Fanboy), lucky shrub obstacle, hog mountain scenery, and a fun challenge.

“Providing seasonal-fit game contents and events to our players has brought us positive, visible results not only in revenue but also in new users as well as DAU in SEA regions.“

- Lucy Yinhua (Business Development, Supercell)

Final word​

If you are looking for a reliable mechanism to increase your revenue in India and Southeast Asia, then tying themed game promotions and activities to regional events and holidays can be a highly effective strategy.

In the next article in this series, we cover best practices for experimenting with local items and characters.

If you have questions, reach out to us at [email protected].

Check out the infographic version of this article for easy sharing with colleagues here.

With contributions from Farish CV, Program Manager, Google Play Go India & SEA (Games)


Increase engagement and distribution using local events and holidays was originally published in Google Play Apps & Games on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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