NEWS

Kim Kardashian on the Success of Her Mobile App and Her Social Media Empire

by Zach Seemayer 7:24 PM PST, March 01, 2015
Photo: AdWeek

The first thing most people picture when they think of Kim Kardashian is likely not her business savvy ways or her new media entertainment empire –- but maybe it should be.

The 34-year-old Keeping Up With the Kardashians star and social media maven recently sat down with AdWeek to talk about the tech mogul aspects of her omnipresent career.

Kim's mobile game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood -- in which players take on the role of an aspiring celebrity trying to gain fame and fortune anyway they can -- ended up earning the game's developer, Glu Mobile, over $74 million last year, and is projected to make $200 million this year.

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So what is it about the app that makes it so popular? Kim says it's all about relatability.

"I had just had the baby [North West], and so I was being really choosy about what I was working on. I got a call from the company Glu Mobile to partner up and do a video game," Kim explained. "We went back and we came up with this really cute concept that I thought was relatable and very much like me. It had to be something that fit my personality."

Since its release, the game has been downloaded over 28 million times, and people have played the app for a combined total of 11 billion minutes -- or 183 million hours.

So how much say does Kim really have in the feel and look of the game? According to her, she speaks with the game's programmers and developers on a daily basis.

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"The look of the game was really important to me. I must have pulled thousands of references of all the different ways that characters should have their hair, the outfits and the shoes," Kim told AdWeek. "One time there was a strap wrong on one of the character's shoes—her feet weren't matching. I had to change the programming to fix that. It was important to me that everything is right."

Photo: AdWeek

Kim also has one of the biggest social media presences, with over 29.5 million Twitter followers and 27.1 million Instagram followers – a milestone she recently passed. Kim posed in a thong as a way of thanking her fans.

However, despite her reputation and her world-famous name, Kim claims that she never consciously considered branding herself, and that her popularity on social media is an organic development.

"Social media works when you're open, when you're honest and people want to feel like they're getting a little glimpse into your life," Kim said. "It's not that I brand myself like I'm a celebrity. It's just I'm living my life and sharing a part of my life with the world."

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However, reality stars and gaming apps both have notoriously short shelf lives. But Kim says she has a plan as to how she's going to keep her game relevant and popular. She believes it's all about providing new content for people to get excited about.

"I think that adding my family members [as characters] and a bunch of cameos will get people excited. I started with adding my mom and now my sisters. Even my pets that I've had either now or in the past are in it."

As for her role as a pop culture touchstone, Kim says that she thinks her family's E! reality series are still relevant.

"We still have a few more years left in us," Kim said. "We always say when it gets to be really crazy and not fun anymore, we don't want to do it. And we haven't gotten there yet."

"I hope they get out of it that we are a normal family," the 34-year-old reality star added. "They may not think we're normal, [but] we are a family like everyone else's that goes through so many different things and we're always there to support each other."

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It's a good thing that they haven't gotten to that point, because E! reportedly renewed the series for three more years for an impressive estimated $80 million.

It's a sizable price tag, however Kim is looking to make $85 million just on her mobile game alone -- her share of the profits in her partnership with Glu Mobile -- if the app continues to perform as predicted.

In January, days before her T-Mobile ad aired at the Super Bowl XLIX, Kim spoke with ET about her selfie obsession and how she decided to team up with the cell-phone provider for the somewhat self-deprecating commercial. Check out the interview, below.

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