Digital Insights

How Candy Crush used Social Media to become Marketing Genius’

Published: May 11, 2017

What gets played by 93 million people (mostly adults) every day and has an estimated net worth of $7.1 billion? If you answered “Candy Crush Saga,” you are the lucky winner….sort of.

According to Time magazine, the simple app-based game is so addictive people have forgotten to pick up their kids at school because of playing it. While this might not be a resume-builder for the players, it sure has given its creator, the Sweden-based gaming company King Digital Entertainment, a big leg up.

No matter who you ask, Candy Crush Saga is delivering big wins all over the place. For marketers in particular, its allure centers around how the game lures players in via social media – and how other marketers can emulate its success.

The Candy Crush Saga 411

If you haven’t yet played Candy Crush Saga, you might be scratching your head right about now. Sure, $7.1 billion sounds good to you. So does 93 million users, for that matter. But what is it and why do folks love it so much?

Here are some Candy Crush Saga stats:

  • Candy Crush Marketing 411 digital eye mediaCandy Crush Saga was released by King (Stockholm, Sweden) in 2012.
  • The game first launched on Facebook, where an estimated 1 in every 23 Facebook users now plays it.
  • The game is now also available for download to any mobile device via a free app.
  • Advancing to higher levels often requires in-app purchases.
  • The premise is simple – match up 3 different candy graphics and advance.
  • Its user base says they are “addicted” – one player was quoted as calling candy Crush Saga “crack candy.”

If you’re feeling impressed as you read, you’re not alone. And if you are beginning to understand the rapt following the game has developed amongst marketers eager to replicate its success, keep reading!

Candy Crush Saga Dominates on Facebook

Cdominate on facebook digital eye mediaandy Crush Saga is the first-ever app to be available simultaneously to iOS and Android users and also members of the largest social media network, Facebook.

And since Facebook is now larger than China, virtually speaking, this was certainly a big win for the free app-based game’s creator!

Candy Crush Saga’s presence on Facebook has generated as much negative as positive publicity – so much so that Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, was interviewed in 2015 about the overwhelming demand by his community’s users for a way to block invites to play the addictive game in-network.

Meanwhile, for the estimated 500,000 people who daily access Facebook from their mobile devices, playing Candy Crush Saga from within Facebook offers two things they can’t get by playing from the app alone:

  • They protect their progress in case the app crashes.
  • They can share their progress with their Facebook network.

And for Facebook, it is the social network’s most-liked app (with 35+ million “likes” to date).

How Candy Crush Saga Uses Social Media to Keep Its Players Hooked

Using Social Media to Keep Players Hooked Candy Crush Marketing TipSo here it is – the meat of the uber-popular game’s global success. Candy Crush Saga has used the heck out of social media to propel it – and keep it – at the top of its game since its 2012 debut.

  • Candy Crush Saga links directly to a player’s Paypal account, which makes in-app purchases literally effortless once the initial account link is established.
  • Candy Crush Saga’s mobile app can also be linked to a player’s Facebook account, making it possible to join in with a wider network of enthusiastic and competitive players.
  • Candy Crush Saga debuted on Facebook, the world leader for social media, where today it is every bit as popular with the network’s 84.2 percent of international users as it is for those in North America.
  • Candy Crush Saga’s developers also use social media feedback from its players on an ongoing basis to make adjustments and refinements to the game. This includes recent additions to simplify the difficulty of certain higher levels and the addition of a Booster Wheel feature to help players get past roadblocks on certain levels, which has been very successful in luring departed players back to the game.
  • Candy Crush Saga is constantly creating and launching new, higher levels of the game to entice players to keep playing. On average, a new level is released every two weeks – and, of course, the release is promoted via social media.
  • Candy Crush Saga rewards its players for their loyalty in many ways, not the least of which has been eliminating all in-app ads once revenues from in-app purchases made this possible.

Use Candy Crush Saga’s Example to Promote Your Business

marketing tips from candy crush use to promote your businessCandy Crush Saga itself is not nearly as unique as its success. This means there are some key learning points that every savvy marketing professional can use to positive effect.

  1. Collaboration Is King. Candy Crush Saga emerged right out of the shoot partnered up with the giant of social media networks, Facebook.
  2. Connection Is Key. Candy Crush Saga’s focus on sharing successes, asking for help and inviting others have garnered it loyal fans and new players worldwide.
  3. People Will Pay More When It Is Optional. Candy Crush Saga is still free to play. There is a loophole to paying for players willing to ask friends for help. Paying is totally optional….which is likely why revenues from the game are still the 4th highest of all gaming-based apps.

Candy Crush Saga is a true rare long-term success story in an industry known only for producing here-today-gone-tomorrow fads. Happily for other marketers, even its most brilliant tactics are ultimately simple – collaborate, connect and have fun!


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