updated icon August 2 2016

With technological advancements coming our way every year, it is safe to say that mobile app market has been booming. People love to do things on the go – be it taking notes, shopping or gaming. In this post, we’re going to discuss how the gaming app industry has changed over time and how developers can monetize the most out of the current trends.

The change in gaming industry

According to a survey by Facebook, gamers are practically everywhere and across all devices. But smartphones are now the #1 gaming device. About 45% smartphone users play games while waiting for something, 44% while commuting to and from work and 21% while at work!

It is important to understand where, when and how your target market is interacting with your game. This will help you understand and create relevant messages that can peak their interests and encourage them to get back to gaming.

The numbers also go to indicate the change in app discovery in today’s market, with social discovery topping the list of how people come across games. About 28% of people discover apps via social networking platforms, 11% via chat applications and 8% by word-of-mouth.

Each of the above discovery modes focus on users socializing with their friend circles / others who hold similar interests.

With 84% of smartphone users reacting to personal recommendations, the numbers are not surprising.

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Facebook study: Mobile spenders discover their games from trusted sources

Games that are able to sustainably grow in the competitive market today, understand how important it is to make organic acquisition a part of their strategy. The concept of the mobile growth stack is now being slowly accepted and followed by game developers as well.

The importance of community in game monetization

In one of our previous posts, we discussed the two metrics that should matter the most to game developers – players-to-payers and players-to-promoters. But both the metrics heavily rely on how engaged your players are in the game and for how long.

This is where the importance of a gaming community comes in.

According to the same survey by Facebook, players are more likely to stay in the game when they have a sense of belonging to it. In simpler words, they are more engaged when they are a part of a community of people like them.

The players together give each other the motivation and competition to keep going. This keeps the level of interest in the game at an all-time high. But as soon as the community loses interest in the game, it is bound to rub off on the player as well.

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Facebook study: Friendly competition keeps mobile spenders’ in the game

An average gamer is 2.9 times more likely to make an in-app purchase so they can beat their friends! This shows how socially-influenced app users are when it comes to making purchases or interacting with the game.

Players don’t just use the community to keep a tab on what the other is doing, but also to find solutions to where they are stuck – be it from another player or from the developer himself. He is also able to monitor which players made a purchase to complete a level in the game and strategize his move accordingly.

As a matter of fact, the top grossing games have made social engagement a part of their app. Giving the players an opportunity, and a platform to connect on, keeps them engaged longer and boosts their app session length. This is because it eradicates the need for a player to switch apps to communicate with his circle.

For example, Adventure Smash uses an activity feed to create a community for their players. It lets them update their status in the game, keep a tab on what others are doing, as well as interact with questions regarding the game. Players keep each other motivated and provide support to those stuck at a specific level in the game!

Adventure Smash is an example of an app that keeps its players engaged by connecting them through Activity Feeds. On the other hand, it also serves to resolve issues that a player might face before he loses interest in the game just because he couldn’t achieve a certain milestone!

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Ruzzle Adventure Activity Feed

Basically, players’ engagement in the game is a good predictor for monetization. The longer app sessions allow you to understand how a player interacts with the game, what he expects from it and how you can make it better. It also opens up the opportunity for you to personalize his in-app experience and purchase journeys.

“The longer the app session of a player, the more likely he is to make an in-app purchase.” Tweet: “The longer the app session of a player, the more likely he is to make an in-app purchase.” [Source: @GetSocial_now]

For instance, tapping into your player data, you can create effective monetization strategies with the following in place. An example of contextual, social and community driven in-app purchase model, can be seen in Frontline Commando 2. They recommend purchases based on the player’s interaction on the activity feed – where he can also see what other players are doing.

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Front Line Commando 2 Activity Feed

Getting started..

Facebook’s study clearly shows that having highly engaged players, is a very effective way to monetize your app.

While game developers need to continue focusing on creating engaging, interesting and new experiences for their players, it is also important for them to focus on creating loyal communities for their game.

Does your game have a community for its players?

PS: If you’re just starting to implement social features in your game, here are a few reads we absolutely recommend to get started asap: