Akshit Pushkarna
Gaming and e-Sports

Here’s how micro and nano-influencers are helping A23 win Tier-II and Tier-III markets

Gunnidhi Singh Sareen, VP, marketing, Head Digital Works, explains the strategy and the brand’s efforts in promoting responsible gaming.

Real-money gaming apps have become a popular sub-category of the expanding gaming industry in India. In this sub-category, A23 or Ace2Three Games, an online platform with real money games like rummy, poker, cricket, etc., has emerged as a big name. The Head Digital Works-owned platform has over five crore downloads and a strong user base.

The app signed actor Shah Rukh Khan as its brand ambassador in February 2022. Since then, it has launched two campaigns, featuring Khan, one in August and another in October.

Gunnidhi Singh Sareen, VP, marketing, Head Digital Works, shares that A23’s primary target audience is men between the ages of 22 and 50.

Sareen, in an exclusive interaction with afaqs!, mentions, “We’re trying to build responsible gaming as a strong narrative for our campaigns. Customers should be mindful of the fact that they’re associating with online real-money gaming. Hence, they should be mindful of their monetary as well as time limits. We help facilitate users set these limits on our app.”

The gaming platform is deploying a combination of TVC and digital marketing. “To reach out to the broader audience, nothing can beat running TVCs during important events. Given our target audience and their propensity for sports, we ran our second ad during the T20 World Cup last year,” Sareen adds.

A23’s key message is, “Come, let’s play together and responsibly. Our first campaign saw Khan saying, ‘Chalo saath khele’. The second campaign is a follow-up to this, where people ask him to play with them offline. To this, he says, ‘Chalo saath khele A23 pe’.”

To make the campaign effective, the company had to arm it with a lot of performance marketing spends on the digital channel, along with the TVCs. The brand identified that its key audience is present on traditional digital platforms like Google and Meta. They’re also present on payment apps like PhonePe, Paytm, among others. So, the company has bought specific properties within the app where they can put up their creatives. 

“We try to look at the best possible property on these platforms so that we don’t end up being hidden somewhere on the app. We want to be seen right up front to our TG,” reveals Sareen.

He believes that people from Tier-I (metro) cities have been a priority for the brand for quite some time. However, the company is also seeing a spike in the number of engagements from Tier-II and III cities recently.  “We believe this is a direct result of the kind of messaging and positioning that we have had over the last year or so.”

Discussing the overall marketing strategy, Sareen says that the company is using a phased approach for its digital expansion. Keeping the branding activities done by Khan at the centre, the company is engaging with influencers to supplement its promotions. 

The first phase, which was carried out around the first ad’s release, included macro-influencers and celebrities, who spoke about responsible gaming on the real-money platform.

In the second phase, the macro-influencers were replaced by micro-influencers, with a following anywhere between 50k and 500k on social media platforms.

“In this phase of promotion, we’re trying to get influencers from a particular region, on board. They do promotional activities in their native dialect,” Sareen says.

“We’re looking to find ways to keep this influencer activity always on, in a meaningful manner, without diluting the strategy.”

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