12 January 2016
In a market constantly in the look for user acquisition, the importance of user retention is often underestimated. A predictive analytics study conducted by Gartner Group, shows that 80% of the average app’s future profits would come from as little as 20% of its existing customers. Yet, in the world of mobile gaming, the majority of the budgets is designated toward new user acquisition, leaving little to no marketing funds leftover for investing in the purpose of user-retention.
Given the mobile industry’s budgeting trends, we thought we’d share these six sure-fire, low-cost tips for increasing user-loyalty, and improving gaming retention rates.
- Get your users hooked. The first 1-4 days of game-play are critical in fostering your user’s loyalty. Successfully hooking users during this initial introductory period will earn you dedicated fans and brand advocates. This can be achieved in many ways, like a great tutorial, faster game loops within the early levels of the game, and quick game achievements from the get go, to name a few.
- Encourage in app purchases. In-app purchases are not just about lining the bottom of your pockets (though admittedly, they’re great at doing that as well). Rather, they are an integral element of game-play, used to boost user-engagement and foster user-loyalty. Users that make in-app purchases are proven to have longer session lengths than users that don’t, as well as increased satisfaction from their game play.
- Distribute the occasional reward. Never underestimate the power of a free gift to earn a customer’s loyalty. Within the gaming industry, not only is a free gift a generous gesture, it’s also a necessary element to help users advance within game-play. Occasional reward distribution is a proven tactic to increase user-sink time and drive player engagement. To maximize its benefit, you can analyze when and where most users drop, and target these moments to hand out the free reward. Moreover – don’t just drop the reward out of nowhere – place the rewards natively within gameplay, get your users to seek them out while they play. Just make sure the gift is of decent value, such that it benefits the player, yet not too valuable so that it gives them a quick win
- Monetize (or sponsor) giveaways. You can also externally sponsor some of your in-game rewards, obtaining another revenue source while benefitting your players during crucial moments of game-play. Smart integration of sponsored giveaways (in-exchange for player ad-view or engagement) will increase the value of the giveaway AND… it gets you paid.
- Incorporate the element of social interaction. Integrating peer involvement within game-play in the form of comments, ratings, in-game chat, leader boards and more, substantially increase engagement time as well as overall user-enjoyment. For example, leader boards have been found to encourage whales to play longer and keep on spending, aiming to maintain their top positioning. When it comes to players working together toward a common goal, or friends that compete with one another for a treasured prize- gamers cited this to bea key reason to why they enjoy gameplay.
- Harness the power of notifications. One of the primary mediums for engaging with customers within the mobile industry is via opt-ins and push notifications. But are you fully maximizing their potential to engage? Just like with email marketing, you’ll want to make sure you segment your audience, target your message and a/b test your content. For example: you may wish to present your high paying customers with a notification on a weekend promotion for the latest in app-purchases available, or for players who haven’t been playing for the past few day – send a notification about a limited time bonus level.
What about the importance of acquiring new users and maintaining a respectable presence in the app-store? Well, by focusing some of your energy on user-retention as well, you’ll actually help promote acquisition along the way. Studies show that the average satisfied customer shares the experience with nine friends. That’s quite a few advocates drumming up new business out there for you, isn’t it? As for your pockets, well, retention is a highly beneficial investment! In fact, a Harvard business school study demonstrated that a mere 5% increase in retention rates yields 25% to 95% increase in profits!
Bottom line: Both user-acquisition and user-retention are equally important elements for your success. When carried out in parallel, these two marketing practices will produce killer results.