More money from your mobile game for $0, part 2

More money from your mobile game for $0, part 2
Will Luton

By Will Luton

December 7th 2012 at 10:00AM

Will Luton offers more tips on how to maximise sales and revenue for your mobile titles

Last month I gave you eight thrifty tips on how you can generate more revenue from your mobile games with nothing more than time. This month I have nine more hot ones, primed and ready. The focus is again on both marketing and monetisation, dispelling the myth that the only way you can win is with a stack of money.

BUILD A COMMUNITY

Building a community is something that should start before launch and run through the life of the product. Typically offering early previews in the form of a beta test, through Test Flight, gets people buzzing about the game. It also has the added bonus of giving you great feedback and catching missed bugs. Create a dialogue with quality activity – not begging for retweets or posting old screenshots – on Twitter, Facebook and forums. Have a unique voice, show your passion – it will spread – and build stories about humans. Your customers are your biggest advocates. Exceed their expectations and they will do the same back.

CROSS-PROMOTE

Cross-promotion is a catch-all term for a wide range of activity, from simple link exchanges to complex character or theme swaps. The dev community is a fertile ground for creative approaches to the problems of discovery. Sharing players can be a brilliant way to keep them in an ecosystem of likeminded studios.

REFINE YOUR PINCH POINT

Controlling your consumable limited resource, such as virtual currencies, is essential to good monetisation. Adjusting when and how much you supply will have a huge knock on to your pinch point – where consumers worry about a resources security, boosting demand, which in turns effects your in-app purchase revenue.

All changes should be lead by analytics and direct comparison. If you can AB test or adjust over time, you will have hard data on which to base decisions.

ADVERTISING AND OFFER WALLS

Adding in either banner or interstitial adverts are brilliant ways to generate revenue for very little effort. However, it is well worth considering what impact it will have to a user’s perception of your app, especially when mixed with IAPs or an upfront price.

If you have an existing virtual currency, or other consumable resources, then an offer wall is interesting. These request actions from a user, from watch a video to get an insurance quote, but in return reward with virtual currency. The developer gets bling-bling-cash-money.

UP YOUR BIGGEST IAP

The cheapest consumable in-app purchase in your game may do the most volume, but it is often the case that most revenue will come from one the highest priced IAPs. Adding another at the top-end can drag revenue up. Don’t exceed the maximum spend of your game, however, as is likely to irk users who may feel you are charging them unnecessary for additional content.

NON-GAME CONTENT

You don’t have to be Rovio to do merch. It can be as simple as a device wallpapers bought inside the game, as in Temple Run, or by setting up a no-risk print-on-demand store (see services Cafepress or Zazzle). If you have a dedicated fanbase, they’ll be giddy to buy your character-endorsed G-strings.

PRODUCT PLACEMENT

If your game is already a big success you can look to brands to do some subtle advertising through product placement. Several companies exist to do make this happen. But, keep in mind the emphasis on subtly.

UPDATE IN PROGRESS

An update has a few magical properties and if timed and executed well can shift numbers in the right direction. Firstly, it draws back churned players via the App Store update notifications. It also clears negative reviews from previous versions; for example where bugs have hit, shows commitment, builds positivity, and in-turn the desire to reciprocat. And, with the use of an updated icon, can draw in new organic traffic previously blind to the old proposition.

FREE GAME PROMOS

There’s lots of big free app promotion sites out there that charge for placement. Others, however, can drive great numbers either totally free or free with strings. Of note is Daily App Dream.

WIN WITH BALANCE

Having the resources for a big user acquisition push puts lots in your favour, but you will only turn a profit if you use the money wisely by maximising profit and the effectiveness of your campaigns. Think holistically – each step of the process to the purchase needs to be efficient and to make your users happy before, during and after it. Uniquely, all these things cost only time and thought, so use both.

Read the first part of Will Luton's article on getting more from your mobile games