June 28 2016

Was there ever time when you sat back and wondered how on earth were some games in the market so popular? And how much they were monetizing from their users?

Well, you’re not alone.

Bluecloud solutions actually dug deeper into the app market and analytics to gauge how much the top grossing games were earning on a monthly basis:

  • Clash of Clans – $12.3 M
  • Game of War – $11 M
  • Candy Crush – $5.67 M
  • Boom Beach – $2.07 M
  • Mobile Strike – $873 K
  • And well, you could go check out what some others are making too!

If you observe closely, these games are not just well developed and optimized often, they also follow the Mobile Growth Stack very seriously. The mobile growth stack basically takes into account every little element that contributes to the app’s growth in the market – from channels of acquisition, acquisition tactics, user engagement and retention, to monetization and analytics.

Taking a cue from these top games, we decided to put together a list of tactics that they used for sustainable growth and popularity gain.

Focus on both paid and organic acquisition

Paid campaigns are always a part of marketing and acquisition strategies for games. It is the one way to broadcast the app’s unique selling proposition to the internet users via channels they are most active on – social media, digital forums and more.

But as we stated in our previous blog post, having an organic acquisition strategy in place right from the start is as important. It helps games focus on acquisition of quality users – which might not be the case in paid campaigns.

Unlike paid campaigns that are focused around showcasing what the app does or how it looks, organic acquisition focuses on leveraging word-of-mouth marketing from the acquired quality users. With 84% people reacting to personal recommendations only, this strategy is an important aspect of growth.

Games that grow faster and sustainably, have both paid and organic acquisition going hand in hand right from the beginning.

For instance, Adventure Smash makes use of GetSocial Smart Invites to encourage their quality users to ‘invite’ their friends to the app making use of popular chat platforms – in this case, Whatsapp. Since the recommendation comes from a friend or family, the recipient is more likely to click through the link sent to him and convert.

Ps. With Smart Invites you can personalize your invite messages so that your users can feel they are naturally chatting with one another – and not forwarding someone else’s sales pitch. (Know more about Smart Invites and organic viral growth)

adventureSmash_whatsapp.png

Adventure Smash invite sent on Whattsapp

Make user engagement A primary goal

We had recently created a series on app user engagement to further quantify how important this metric is for an app’s growth in a competitive market. The top games include social engagement in their game design to ensure they have the user hooked right from the first screen.

Keeping a user engaged is not just about creating competitive levels in a game, but also find ways and means to keep him on the app longer than he would. The normal mobile user is often switching between games – one of them always being a chat app.

Games that have longer app sessions incorporate their need of socialising in the app itself. Top games’ tactics include:

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Ruzzle Adventure’s activity feed

Implement personalized monetization strategies

Monetization is the point wherein app developers need to nudge a user towards completing an in-app purchase. It could be unlocking a new level in the game or simply getting more coins to get ahead of a competition.

But the underlying catch here is, how do these top games trick their users into converting?

Well, they don’t.

Games that monetize the most focus on adding value to the user, instead of just counting the conversions. They focus on user engagement and make it their primary metric for monetization. The longer they stay, the more likely they are to make in-app purchases.

In-app purchases suggested to users who are already spending a considerable amount of time on the app, are more contextual in nature. Knowing how long the users interact with your app, how they are using it and where you’re losing a possible conversion, helps marketers create personalized in-app purchase recommendations.They are not just able to time the promotion or suggestion well, but also personalize their messaging. And this results in them converting at a higher rate than promoted purchases.

The more personalized the message and recommendation is – based on the user’s behaviour and needs – the higher is the conversion rate. Social in-app purchases and dynamic pricing are common personalization tactics used for app monetization.

Another thing to keep in mind though is to ensure you time it well. You don’t want the user to lose interest!

For instance, if you observe that a particular user has been stuck on a level in your game for about a week and his app sessions are reducing – you could promote an in-app purchase of coins that help him cross this level.

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Front Line Commando 2 in-app promotion

Over to you

Growing your app in a competitive market, irrespective of the industry, can be a hard task at hand. It is important for developers and marketers to understand what their target audience want and accordingly create strategies that are aimed at first engaging them.

User engagements leads to higher retention rates and the higher the retention rates are, more are the in-app conversions as well as word-of-mouth marketing.

What other ground rules do you think the popular games deploy to remain the top grossing?

Ready to engage, grow and monetize? Discover your app’s growth potential with GetSocial