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Challenge

In April of 2017, Activision set out to reveal the latest installment of its blockbuster video game franchise, Call of Duty: WWII. The ultimate win? Drive unprecedented pre-orders and break records for the best-selling, award-winning franchise for the fourth year in a row and make Call of Duty: WWII the biggest entertainment property of 2017.

Strategy

For the release of COD: WWII, Activision activated a multiplatform digital strategy across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Google and YouTube. Activision also teamed up with Amazon and third-party ecommerce retailers to offer fans a wide range of buying options to purchase the new title. These compelling ads targeted loyal fans and action game enthusiasts, while aligning with key sporting events to drive mass awareness and capture engagement data across a broad audience.

Execution

After realizing that many loyal COD gamers were also interested in sports, the team ran Facebook video link ad campaigns that targeted gamers who also were watching top-rated NFL games on channels where ads were televised. Significant lifts were observed in ad recall, familiarity, and purchase intent among users who witnessed both ads during football games and while surfing on Facebook. In addition to targeting football fans, basketball fans who were looking forward to the start of the 2017 NBA season were targeted. On the two opening nights of the NBA season, Activision delivered max reach video ads to user stories and within NBA content on Snapchat.

Three weeks before COD: WWII’s release, the promoted trend #CODWWII was launched on Twitter with a own custom emoji to spur excitement among gamers. Firstview video ads of the Live Action Trailer were served to encourage fans to rally their
friends from the original Call of Duty days to play the new title. On YouTube, a series of Live Action trailer ads were served that depicted the journey of a band of long-lost friends joining together to play COD: WWII. These ads were shown correspondingly with each viewer’s watching behavior, leading viewers down the funnel from awareness to consideration, and ultimately to purchase intent.

Results

Since its release on Nov. 3, COD: WWII has been the number one selling game of 2017 in North America, surpassing $1 billion in sales on the continent. Call of Duty has also been the top-selling game franchise for the ninth year in a row and the top-selling franchise worldwide for eight out of the last nine consecutive years. The campaign amassed 9.4MM impressions, 83K clicks, a14.8% ACoS and a $6.73 ROAS.

Facebook
13MM Impressions
0.06 CPV
11.2% VTR
46K Clicks
1.4MM Views
16.7% VCR

Snapchat
13MM
19% NBA VTR
12% Stories VTR

Twitter
26.5M impressions
12.4M views
46.6% view rate
45.3k engagements

YouTube
2.1MM views
$0.03 CPV
35% VTR