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Mobile App Adoption Case Study: Angry Birds

December 20, 2017

Angry Birds is a name that needs no introduction. Since the game’s inception in 2009, over 50 million individuals have downloaded the app.

The total number of hours consumed by Angry Birds players worldwide is roughly 200 million minutes a day, which translates into 1.2 billion hours a year. After Angry Birds was featured as the Apple Game of the Week, it reached first place in the App Store from #600. So, how has Rovio’s game about flinging furious red birds at snorting, sickly-looking pigs done so incredibly well?

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Firstly, because all marketing efforts for apps direct potential customers to the App Store, it makes sense to have a visually pleasing and informative download screen. The Angry Birds team achieved this by creating a memorable app icon, including appealing screenshots that showcase the crisp, fun design of the game. This was reinforced with a captivating and engaging description. The release of Angry Birds merchandise from clothing to plush toys around the time of the app’s launch also helped to build hype and solidify the brand.

Rovio marketed the game towards everybody rather than producing something niche. They wanted to create a game that was physics-based (a popular format on Flash websites at the time) with no tutorial and minimal loading times, so that users could easily pick up their phone and play for as short a time as one minute. This concept appeals to the fast-paced nature of modern life, providing users of all ages with a quick and easy distraction for their daily commute to work or a way to occupy children.

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The team used use the Freemium business model for the app, where the service is offered for free but contains in-app purchases and advertisements. This model allows customers to develop a liking for the game and work up a sense of loyalty that eventually makes them willing to pay for premium features.

Adoption is further encouraged because the UI is simple and easy to learn, but gets incrementally harder with each level. This challenges the user to form a strategy to attain the reward of passing to the next level. This allows users to experience an addictive sense of gratification, encouraging them to return to the app and continue playing the game.

Strong brand awareness, a fantastic UI and the addictive nature of the game itself proved to be a winning combination for Rovio’s Angry Birds – let the stats speak for themselves!