4 Marketing Strategies to Get (and Keep) Mobile Game Users on the Hook
By Rory Phillips, Content Marketing Director at Brainium
It’s no secret that the mobile gaming market is hot right now. With 2.5 billion players and $77.2 billion in revenue, 2020 was a banner year for the industry and that ascent has continued in 2021. Gaming apps now account for roughly 25% of all iOS app downloads and 21% of Android downloads.
Players now have more choice than ever before when it comes to mobile gaming—and an app can be downloaded and deleted in the blink of an eye. If publishers want to succeed and leave a lasting impression in a crowded market, they’ll have to double down on their user engagement strategies or risk being left behind as new competitors enter the app stores everyday. Below are four marketing tips to acquire and retain users’ who are constantly inundated with ads for competing games.
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Know That Users Will Judge a Book by Its Cover
In a highly competitive market, first impressions are everything. Users are most likely to first discover your game through an advertisement in another game or while browsing an app store, so you need to ensure that your brand identity and representation are consistent, recognizable and attention grabbing across all consumer touchpoints.
One must carefully curate each component that makes up a listing on the app store: title, icon, screenshots, videos, and descriptions to strike an emotional chord with prospective players. Your title and icon are the face of your game; they should be unique and clearly communicate what your game is all about. When it comes to screenshots and videos, authenticity is key. These should be pulled directly from your game to give users a transparent peek into the world you’ve created for them. And lastly, the copy in your game’s descriptions should be constructed with a focus on ASO (app store optimization) for better placement in search rankings. That means they should be clear, concise, and enticing while leveraging keywords relevant to your genre/category.
Users might also stumble across your game out in the wild. And when it comes to mobile game advertisements, video and playable ads reign supreme over the static banners of the past. When creating video ads, it’s important to include accurate gameplay footage so users know exactly what to expect when they download your game. End each ad with a clear call to action (like “install” or “play now”) to give users a clear path to download.
Strike a Balance with Your In-App Ads
Once users have downloaded your game, they want to cut right to the chase. It’s your job to bring them directly to the fun on their first launch by highlighting features that make your game worth playing. To do this, in the case of games supported by in-app advertising, don’t bombard users with ads as soon as they open the app. Your principal focus should be hooking them with engaging gameplay. Engaged users deliver a higher return on investment, since they’re more likely to return and thus, watch more ads, make in-app purchases, and be more willing to download other games from a publisher they trust.
Of course, for many free-to-play mobile games, ads serve as a critical monetization channel. But no need to fear. There are still effective ways to integrate ads into your game without eroding player engagement. One strong strategy is using rewarded videos where users are offered in-game rewards in exchange for watching an ad.
Rewarded ads can be used to help a player level up or achieve a difficult goal and are often presented as a benefit along the lines of “You’re on your way! Watch a short video to gain 50 coins!” This gives players the choice of whether or not to opt-in to the ads, which lets them play in the way they find most enjoyable. These ads can also help encourage players to interact with certain in-game features, while rewarding them for their participation.
Reactivate Users with Personalized, FOMO-Inducing Push Notifications
Push notifications, when used poorly (and most are), are a nuisance that get lost among the myriad of buzzing, flashing, and near constant alerts coming from one’s device. However, when used thoughtfully, they can be a fantastic way to remind users that your game is here to help them relax and bring a little extra joy to their day.
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To really see your push notification strategy pay off, make sure the messages are personalized. You can do this by serving them at a time of day you know the player frequently launched your app. And tie them to features a given player has often interacted with when playing the game. This could be reminding them to keep a streak alive by completing a daily challenge, or introducing a time limited piece of content. The more personal, the more likely your notification will stand out on a lock screen filled with messages begging to be opened.
Surprise Users with Rewards and Promos to Keep their Loyalty
Let’s say you’ve drawn users back into your game with a perfectly timed and crafted push notification. Now what? To retain those re-engaged players, you’ll need to be creative in generating new content for them to devour. In-app events, marketing promotions, and trial features are great ways to continually engage users and strengthen the value exchange between both parties. The instant gratification and exclusivity of scoring a limited time offer is a great way to remind players there is always something fresh to discover in your game.
Such limited-time events often score big with high-value users who tend to engage with features more passive players gloss over. Reward their loyalty with special bonuses such as virtual currencies or time limited access to premium game features. These are the users that are the most costly to lose and hardest to find. So you’ll need to be strategic in making them feel appreciated, motivated, and hungry for more.
The Bottom Line
Acquiring and retaining users is a game in itself and one that can have multiple winners – your game and its players. These four tips are just a few of the many ways that you can skyrocket your mobile game to success. And at the core of it all is your ability to provide players with an authentic and engaging value proposition, from the first time they see an ad to each time they tap that icon and choose to spend some time with your game.
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