More money from your mobile game for $0, part 1

More money from your mobile game for $0, part 1
Will Luton

By Will Luton

November 9th 2012 at 4:54PM

Will Luton offers eight tips on how to maximise sales and revenue

It may seem that the only way you can guarantee mobile marketing success is with a wodge of cash thrown in the faces of greedy ‘user acquisition solutions’.

The truth is that the foundation of a good marketing campaign costs nothing more than time. The same is true of increasing revenue.

This article is the first in a two-parter of tips on how to speculate less and accumulate more from your mobile games.

1. SALES

Perhaps the easiest way to boost revenue is to reduce your prices for a short advertised period. Either this is your IAPs, linked to a targeted marketing push to your users (email, push notifications or in-game pop-ups), or the upfront price of your app.

The latter is known as ‘Peggling’ (owing to Peggle’s notorious iOS re-pricing jumping it around the charts) and if done well can shoot your app up the charts and bring lots of organic users along with it.

2. FRESH VIRTUAL ITEMS

If your game has virtual items you should be constantly building more to draw users back and increase their spend. Consider:

- Seasonal content for international or regional holidays that create emotional connections. Think along the lines of Santa hats and the Easter Bunny.

- Use analytics to identify successes, and seek to understand why they sell so well, then double down on that.

- Branded content, using existing IPs from film, food or even other games can drive huge revenue.

3. LOBBY YOUR PLATFORM HOLDER

The holy grail of app marketing is featured placement. Contrary to popular belief, apps are rarely plucked from obscurity for the spotlight. More likely featured status is a response to lobbying. So get in contact with the developer relations for your platform and ask what you need to do.

4. AB TEST ICON AND NAME

Your high-level proposition is the most important thing in marketing. In mobile this is name and icon – which should grab app store browers and scream “download me!”.

Put love into building a bunch of potential name and icon combinations, then put them on a banner campaign and monitor the click through rate. This will show which are most effective at generating interest. Refine this, and repeat.

Google ‘Markj.net AB test’ for details.

5. AFFILIATE LINKING

Signing up to Apple’s affiliate scheme will earn you an additional five per cent on every sale on the App Store you link to. Plus, you get better tracking analytics. This could even be used to drive traffic out to all iTunes and iBook content.

So, by adding in more games or soundtrack, video or book links, you’ll earn money; even if the customer ends up buying something else.

6. REDUCE BOUNCE AND CHURN

Every part of your marketing funnel needs to be optimised – from banner ads, through to your icon and name. However, in free-to-play the funnel doesn’t end at the game, but instead the IAP.

When designing analytics it is invaluable to build in a way of tracking how far a user gets in to your game. Looking at where players leave will point to where they get confused, bored or frustrated. From this you can identify problems, fix and increase retention, which increases revenue.

7. Make BUILDING an IAP an event

Remove any expendable steps to an IAP, then make a show of the result. Whizzes, bangs and particles will make the experience fun and rewarding, in turn making the player want to repeat the experience. Harvest a gem in Bejewelled Blitz for a perfect example.

8. AB TEST YOUR IAPS

Things as small as colour, wording or placement can make a button more attractive to click, yet it’s very difficult to predict which changes will work and which fail.

Therefore AB testing any button, or indeed the entire process leading to an IAP is the best way of maximising click-through to a purchase.

AND IN PART TWO…

Coming next month are nine more tips, including advice on building a community, insight on refining your pinch point, and perspective on selling merchandise.

And it’s all for sweet FA.