Mobile Game Publishers, What’s Your Game Plan For Profits ?, Marketing and Advertising News, AND BrandEquity


Serious gamers may be willing to subscribe to a model that provides them with an ad-free gaming experience. (Photo for representation / iStock)

By Raviteja Dodda

Who doesn’t want to play to win? Emerging a winner is the ultimate goal of not only mobile game enthusiasts, but game designers and publishers as well. Designing a mobile game that hooks their players is only part of the game, but game publishers can only cross the finish line when fed the vital M, also known as ” Money “.

There are proven in-game monetization methods such as in-app ads, in-game progress purchases, initial game purchase, and subscription game pass. But do all of these methods work for everyone? No! Game publishers should follow a policy of horses for lessons and choose the strategies that best meet their needs and help them reap the moolah.

We’ve tried to break down some of the important monetization methods, the pros and cons of each income-generating strategy, and what each strategy involves in the long run.

1. Ads integrated into the application

Ads are often seen as appearing at the least expected time, interrupting the player’s experience. However, if they’re relevant and contextual, players won’t find them intrusive. Mobile game publishers need to strike a balance with a healthy balance between frequency and quality of ads, so that ads are rewarding and not obnoxious.

The biggest advantage of in-app ads is that users don’t have to pay to play the game; it is therefore easier to attract the free-to-play (f2p) public. On the other hand, this strategy does not allow tapping into a player base that has connectivity issues.

2. Integrated purchasing

It works well when the game’s content, characters, skins, weapons, and energy charges are high. This is where the big peak lies – the more factors, the more ways to personalize offers, resulting in higher conversion rates.

But publishers must be prepared to share a percentage of each transaction with the App Store. In addition, it is easy for players to slip into the “pay to win” compartment, which affects their progress, resulting in a decrease in the f2p user base. Publishers should also note that payments are for adults only.

3. Free trialThe user has access to all game features during the trial period, usually 30 days. The advantage is that the user already thinks and behaves like a buyer, but the developer only has one chance to convince the user to buy the full version. Mobile game publishers can entice gamers with gripping gameplay and gripping storyline.

4. Paid games

This method appeals to serious gamers who don’t like to make in-app purchases. Here it is easier to experience trial versions where players can experience the game before purchasing it.

The downside is that it is difficult to earn recurring income with the same player base. It is therefore crucial to acquire new players. Publishers also have to spend heavily on robust marketing, as users are reluctant to pay for start-ups and new developers. Here, too, payments are reserved for adults.

5. Game pass / battle pass by subscription

Serious gamers may be willing to subscribe to a model that gives them an ad-free gaming experience. Publishers can experiment by launching exclusive content for subscribers but at the risk of eliciting a hostile reaction from non-subscribers.

In the long run, this method is considered the highest ROI monetization model and has a higher potential to achieve a higher LTV (lifetime value) and lower CAC (customer acquisition cost). If the benefits keep pouring in, the likelihood of opting out is low. But it is difficult to expand and is for adults only.

Fantasy cricket is expected to be the hardest hit of all skill games, as the ban comes right at the start of the biggest T20 cricket season in recent years …

Tips for an effective monetization modelSlow player progress

This gives the developers time to create new content and doesn’t make the gameplay boring. It also gives the publisher the opportunity to introduce micro-transactions.

Create cohorts to personalize offers

– If a player installs the game from ads on social media, publishers should show the benefits of referring other users from the start of the game.

– Editors can create internal levels / brackets for bucket users based on content completed.

– For repeated attempts of the same level, showing a purchase option in the app helps players to gain a “buff” and complete the level; if a player runs out of “energy” they may be offered the option of purchasing “energy”.

– Publishers can offer similar resources by observing player buying behavior and customize messages to convey the benefits accrued.

– Communication should be based on the activity level of the players. Publishers can engage the most active users sparingly with offers through in-app interstitials, instead of push notifications.

Focus on existing players

Game publishers can provide social validation options and allow customers to share their achievements on social media with just one click. Additionally, strategies can be developed to bring the existing player base back to the game and engage with it more frequently. These include launching recurring events to introduce new scales of achievement as “seasons”, hosting tournaments, and distributing in-game rewards and personalized gifts.

Analyze customer engagement

Like any other marketing strategy, gaming marketing requires powerful and insightful analytics to make a profit. Publishers need to track user behavior and interact with players to provide them with a satisfying experience. Satisfied customers are more likely to stick with the app and refer their friends, allowing for a lower cost acquisition. This helps build communities, as players are more likely to stay in a game when they feel like they belong.

Offer a mixed price

A blended monetization model is useful because customer choices vary. Some prefer rewards, some like upfront purchases, while others go for subscriptions.

Hyper-casual games can choose video ads, less frequent ads, and micro-transactions. For massively multiplayer online role-playing games, esports, and multi-frame-per-second games, the micro-transaction and subscription models help convert free-to-play users into paid gamers. Successful games that have gone for a hybrid model include Mihiyo’s Genshin Impact and Activision’s COD: Mobile.

Thus, game developers and publishers must attract and retain customers by creating dynamic and segmented pricing models. When that’s done, the winner takes it all – money, customers and loyalty!

-The author is co-founder and CEO of MoEngage. The opinions expressed are personal.

About Cedric Lloyd

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