Your app goes viral and now you just sit back and rake in the bucks, right? The founder of Trivia Crack — one of the most downloaded apps in the world — explains why no matter how many downloads you’re racking up, the monetization battle is just beginning.

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In December 2014, Trivia Crack, the casual-social quiz game from Etermax that had been topping the charts in Latin America, hit the U.S. and started breaking records. It stayed in the top ranks of the Google Play and Apple App Store for 66 consecutive days, and has since rarely given up those spots. And it’s among the most downloaded mobile apps in the world.

But downloads don’t mean the dollars come rolling in — and that’s the company’s biggest challenge, says Etermax founder and CEO Maximo Cavazzani.

“We reached those 200 million downloads without any user acquisition — it was all organic, very viral,” Cavazzani says. “But at the same time, the game does not have a very high lifetime value for each user.”

The task, he explains, is to get a deeper understanding of the virality of the game — what brings users in and why, what keeps them there, and how to encourage them to invite other users along for the ride. This impacts not only their user acquisition strategy, but is key to boosting their advertising efforts. It’s a particularly important piece of the puzzle for the company, because 70 percent of the game’s income comes from advertising.

But it’s in-app purchases that have the most future potential, Cavazzani believes.

“Most people, they don’t want to pay two dollars for a game they may play all year, even though they might go to the cinema and pay ten dollars,” he says. “The same happens with in-app purchases. You might say hey, spending twenty dollars on a game is a lot, but that’s just because you think it should be free.”

Consumers tend to believe that that everything on the Internet should be free, he explains. “But the truth is if you want great content, if you want people to be working on something, then you need to pay those creators somehow,” he adds. “And I see a clear curve of people understanding that paying content and paying for entertainment in the gaming industry makes sense.”

It’s a gradual shift, but one to be prepared for. The Xbox and Playstation consoles are moving toward the freemium model, where testing the waters is free, but you have to pay to play. And consumers have overwhelmingly switched from illegally downloading movies and music to paying for industry-leading offerings like Netflix or Spotify.

“Companies like Netflix know that they’re offering a service, and that the services should be top notch,” Cavazanni says. “When the user realizes that and experiences it, then they pay.”

And that’s where thinking about monetization gets tricky — because the wrong strategy can kill your game, no matter how viral it goes. “If a user feels like you’re just trying to take their money, they will go somewhere else,” says Cavazanni. “And they will go somewhere else where people are thinking about their game, rather than just getting money from it.” And Cavazanni is now developing what he hopes will be the perfect balance in order to increase revenue from in-app purchases.

That said, he emphasizes that no monetization efforts will succeed if the app itself isn’t stellar. “It pays to think about monetization,” he adds, “but you should never forget that in the end, the best game wins all.”

No matter what kind of app you have — game, utility, entertainment, etc. — there’s more to learn about monetization at the hands of a master like Cavazanni.


Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.


In this webinar, you’ll learn to:

  • Customize your monetization strategy so that it’s scalable
  • Unlock the revenue potential of lower spending users
  • Attract higher-spend users
  • Negotiate monetization strategies without alienating current users

Speakers:

  • Maximo Cavazzani, CEO & Founder, Etermax (maker of Trivia Crack)
  • Jessy Hanley, VP Marketing & Customer Experience, GSN Games
  • Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VentureBeat
  • Rachael Brownell, Moderator, VentureBeat

 

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