Working for a company whose customer list is built around some of the leading brands in the mobile space, I didn’t think that it would be game companies that would provide the most valuable lessons for the broader mobile landscape.
But while working with our expanding list of companies across all verticals, I’ve also had the opportunity to engage with a number of game companies that have been using Srwve since the early days and continue to do so with success. What I’ve come to realize is that the way in which these game companies use mobile marketing can teach a lot to companies of all shapes and sizes.
Mobile marketing automation is so important to the game industry; they need it to really succeed. In the free-to-play world, it’s near impossible to generate revenue or business without a sophisticated way of tracking user behavior and intelligent techniques for engaging with them at just the right moment.
Game companies have thus been leading the charge on this movement since day one, and as an industry leader in mobile gaming analytics solutions, we’ve been lucky enough to be learning about it together. Solutions that have been built away from this “win or lose” environment can suffer as a result – lots of analytics and charts that look superficially impressive but do little or nothing to move the needle on the metrics that matter in mobile.
So what have I really learned from the game industry? In a few points, I’ll try to summarize some truths that games companies uncovered some time ago, but a lot of other mobile businesses still struggle with today;
- First Impressions are important. When a user downloads your app, they’re often just checking it out of curiosity. This is why game companies put so much effort into creating an outstanding first-time user experience and great onboarding: Because sticking around on the smartphone screen is a huge win, and it doesn’t just happen. Game companies also know that this requires not just great experiences but testing them thoroughly as well.
- All players are not payers: Game companies have learned that not all users playing their game are their customers. The install isn’t the metric for any mobile business. The important milestone to strive for is getting your users to the point where they begin to meaningfully interact with the product. In games, this meaningful interaction is most likely to be an in-app purchase. This milestone moment will be different for other verticals, but companies need to identify what it is — and aim for it.
- Identify your MVPs — and reward them: Half of all gaming revenue comes from just 0.19 percent of players. Game companies have realized the significance of this statistic and the players behind it, and they have gotten smart about rewarding them effectively. Their business succeeds or fails based on those loyal players, so maintaining that loyalty is a top priority. Sure, this won’t be so extreme in other verticals, but it’s still majorly important nonetheless to identify your most valuable users on mobile and figure out how to maintain their value.
- Make it easy for players to spend: This may seem like an obvious one — but you’d be surprised by how often the usability of an app obstructs users from making the decision to spend money. Games companies make spending as easy as possible by having a well thought out monetization strategy, and they use A/B testing to ensure that spending in-app is a ‘native mobile’ experience. Apps in other verticals could learn from them.
We’ve been fortunate enough to be positioned on the cusp of a wide range of different bleeding edge mobile business verticals over the past couple of years, there’s lots to learn and much to trial regardless of the sector in which your firm is operating
With vast swathes of capital flowing through the online gaming sector over the past decade, there’s been expensive mistakes made and truly innovative successes. The gaming industry learnt from its mistakes, with little margin for error in such a high-stakes industry, setting it apart as a prime example of how a logical, reliable flow of organised data can help hone your business strategy and ultimately, make you a better mobile marketer.
Tom Farrell is the senior VP for Marketing, EMEA at Srwve, specializing in driving innovative mobile marketing success for app vendors.