Why Hyper-Casual Games Need Loyalty Programs | wappier
Why Hyper-Casual Games Need Loyalty Programs
Automated Loyalty Programs for Hyper-Casual Games

Why Hyper-Casual Games Need Loyalty Programs

As the market gets more crowded and margins get thinner, loyalty programs can help hyper-casual portfolios continue to thrive.

wappier Automated Loyalty Programs

For all its recent success, the hyper-casual games market is facing a new challenge: saturation.

The proliferation of new titles has increased UA costs and reduced margins. Now more than ever, developers need to start leveraging any and all proven strategies from the industry at large to keep their efforts net-positive. If history is any indication, one opportunity promises greater returns than any other for hyper-casual publishers: loyalty programs. Here’s why.

Retention Is King

Hyper-casual games live and die by their retention numbers. Multiple publishing and monetization experts have cited retention as the key leading indicator as to whether or not a title is worth investment, making it the first to be scrutinized. In his thoughtful analysis of Voodoo’s production methodology, free-to-play consultant Tom Kinniburgh explains how “Each game needs 50%+ D1 retention to even make the cut. This creates a very competitive environment where stats and data become the key to becoming picked up by these top publishers.” This is due largely to the fact that retention is directly correlated to the number of paid ad impressions that can be served to the average user. Poorly retained users are shown fewer ads, and revenue drops.

Today, the standard approach to combating hyper-casual churn is to use cross-promotional ad placements to cultivate a portfolio-wide network effect. As churn becomes increasingly likely, publishers expose players to ads for other titles in their portfolio in hopes of restarting the clock and buying themselves more time for monetization.

It’s a strategy perhaps best articulated by Tenjin CEO Chris Farm in an article for PocketGamer.biz, where he describes how “Value moves from one node in the network to another, increasing the studio’s overall visibility in store ranks, and driving more organic downloads. As long as active users remain engaged and have new content to experience, the studio’s portfolio will be continuously sustained.” This approach, however effective, typically involves a trade-off of paid impressions for cross-promotional ones.

Improve average retention, however, and you reduce the necessary frequency of cross-promotions, allowing for more paid ad impressions. Even a 5% portfolio-wide increase in average retention can lead to a 30-100% increase in revenue. In this way, a properly placed loyalty program can be said to pay literal dividends.

There are some loyalty best practices that are universally applicable across all kinds of mobile games, but hyper-casual games are nothing if not unique. Developers hoping to extract the greatest possible value from their efforts should allocate time for tailoring loyalty programs to their particular engagement model, and that starts with user segmentation.

Boost user engagement and retention with Automated Loyalty Programs

There’s obviously no limit to how granular developers can get with their retention efforts, but in our experience, the most immediate ROI comes from a 2 segment approach. In general, it starts with tracking behavior to quickly identify each user’s affinity for either ad or IAP-based monetization. This is obviously simplified when working with titles that don’t offer IAPs, but those that do should watch for early indicators like multiple visits to your in-app storefront or early purchases of cosmetic upgrades, be it with either soft or hard currency. Knowing how and when to move users into specific segments is less art and more science, and machine learning algorithms (like the ones that power our automated loyalty programs) can help.

Once bucketed, rewards and loyalty milestones should be tailored to each segment’s unique progression path and preferred method of engagement. Those tending more towards ad-based monetization, i.e. showing little interest in IAPs, should receive programs that reward consistent gameplay and rewarded ad engagement (where applicable) with mechanical upgrades, soft currency, and increased earning power. Those with an appetite for IAPs should be set on a path of hard currency rewards, cosmetic upgrades, and admission into VIP programs. By laying out personalized aspirational goals early on in their lifecycle, developers can better illustrate the value offered by long term engagement, thereby increasing retention.

Automated Loyalty Programs for apps and games

Hyper-Casual Loyalty In Action

We’ve seen firsthand the impact that automated loyalty can have on ad-supported mobile titles, most recently in the case of FANANEES 2 by MBC Group. After the title’s initial post-launch gold rush that saw nearly 2 million organic downloads, it quickly became apparent that the title would need higher retention and engagement numbers if it was going to remain a viable long-term contributor to the company’s portfolio. MBC Group integrated our automated loyalty and retention system, providing players with a fully on-brand experience that offered personalized gameplay rewards for increased engagement.

The program went on to produce a 56% increase in day 1 retention, 36% more average sessions per DAU, and a 58% higher average session length. This quickly translated into higher monetization performance, resulting in 113% more ad views per player and 93% more ad revenue per player.

As MBC’s Head of Mobile Products, Amin El Husseini puts it “wappier’s Loyalty Solution helped us boost our game’s retention, engagement, and revenue KPIs. It gave our players an extra gameplay overlay, and a reason to play our game more often, resulting in a doubling of ad revenue.”

Get Started With wappier

The hyper-casual space may be getting more crowded, but there’s no shortage of opportunities for those willing to continue innovating.

wappier’s Loyalty Programs offer a powerful differentiator when it comes to hyper-casual portfolio performance. To learn more about how we can help, click the button below to get in touch and schedule a demo.

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Why Hyper-Casual Games Need Loyalty Programs
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Why Hyper-Casual Games Need Loyalty Programs
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As the market gets more crowded and margins get thinner, loyalty programs can help hyper-casual portfolios continue to thrive.
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12 September 2018: Video Interview for PocketGamer.biz

Interview Title: “wappier on Using Dynamic Pricing in Mobile Games to Increase Spending and Retention”

Last September, wappier joined forces with Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2018 and was part of this amazing mobile gaming gathering. On day 2, our Founder and CEO, Alex Moukas, met with James Gilmour, Video Production Editor at PocketGamer.biz. Alex chatted with James about Dynamic Pricing and how we are using machine learning to automate the pricing of IAPs in mobile games leading to a positive impact on both user spending and player/payer retention.

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21-22 January 2019: Pocket Gamer Connects London 2019

Session Title: “Loyalty Programs – Increasing Engagement and Retention Outside of Gameplay”

Our Founder and CEO, Alex Moukas, took the stage this January and shared his insights on why app developers need to invest in loyalty and retention to make more out of their existing users.

Summary: Leading brands and organizations around the world use Loyalty Programs as a way to engage meaningfully with their customers. Why not in mobile gaming? Loyalty Programs are an easy and effective way to improve engagement and retention outside of gameplay. Even a 5% increase in retention can lead to 30-100% increase in revenue. Plus, it’s cheaper to retain an old customer than acquiring a new one.

In this session, Alex Moukas will demonstrate how game developers can get revenue and retention boosts of 30%+ by enabling an Automated Loyalty Program for their existing players on top their game. He will focus on specific loyalty tactics, how to set up a program without affecting the underlying gameplay, and share case study results from over 30 mobile games.

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28-30 May 2019: wappier part of GameDaily Connect London 2019. With over 7,000 attendees each year, GameDaily Connect, ex Casual Connect, is one of the largest mobile gaming trade shows across the world with events in China, Serbia, Kyiv, Tel Aviv, London, Seattle, Anaheim, San Francisco, and more.

Panel Session Title: “Mobile Gaming Today”

Awesome Panelists:

Awesome Moderator: Our own Ted Verani, VP of Business Development @ wappier

The mobile market represents around half of all global games revenues, and opportunities abound for savvy developers, but how can today’s game makers stand out from the crowd on the App Store and Google Play? How can they not only acquire users but retain them? What are the keys to success and what lies ahead for the booming mobile space? Our panel of experts will discuss the vital points developers need to understand.

wappier does #PGCHelsinki2019 Flag: Finland on Google

1-2 October 2019: wappier proudly being part of Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki in October 2019. The mobile gaming industry was there and so were we! On day 1, our Ted Verani, VP of Business Development at wappier, took the stage to wow the crowds.   

Session Title: “IAP Pricing Optimization: Timing and Place”

Summary: Knowing the right price in the right location at the right time is the first step towards maximizing revenue from in-app purchases. This tour of factors proven to impact IAP purchasing decisions will offer attendees a collection of low-cost, high-impact techniques for developing profitable mobile gaming environments combined with a case study on Global Pricing (per country optimization) results.

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wappier featured @ PocketGamer.biz 📹

23 January 2018: Video Interview for PocketGamer.biz

The wappier team traveled to London this January to take part in Pocket Gamer Connects London 2018.

Interview Title: “wappier on Improving Mobile Game Monetization by up to 50%”

On day 1, Alex Moukas, Founder and CEO at wappier, gave a very insightful interview to James Gilmour, Video Production Editor at PocketGamer.biz. Alex shared with James his insights about the mobile gaming industry and how wappier is here to help it by building a cloud-based platform that optimizes revenue for mobile apps and games through Engagement and Loyalty Programs and Dynamic Pricing.

 

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4-5 June 2018: White Nights Conference @ Saint Petersburg

Alex Moukas, Founder and CEO at wappier, took the stage last June and shared his insights on why it is crucial to starts investing effort and intelligence on post-acquisition.

Session Title: “Users Acquired … Now What? Mastering Your Game’s Loyalty & Pricing”

 Summary: Established industries, multinationals, the Fortune-500 companies around the world use Processes and Systems that deliver 30-50% revenue increase from existing customers. Why are they literally non-existent in the Mobile Gaming World? It’s cheaper to retain an old user than acquire a new one, right? For the first time in history, 50-people companies are called to manage 50 million users, this cannot happen with typical marketing automation, segmentation, and workflows. Case studies show it’s time to start thinking of ways to reduce user churn and increase revenue from existing customers.

 

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Our VP of Global Business Development, Ted Verani, was there to talk Mobile Gaming and explain how wappier’s Intelligent Revenue Management Platform is transforming the way app developers and marketers maximize consumer revenue with powerful AI that moves beyond marketing automation.

Session Title: “Users Acquired … Now What? How to Use Loyalty Programs and Pricing Optimization to Maximize Revenue”

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What did we talk about? While the vast majority of mobile game revenue is earned through in-app purchases, designing games for optimal IAP remains a major challenge, requiring deep knowledge of UX design, virtual economy tuning, pricing economics, and many other disciplines. Featuring experts across these fields, this panel will give attendees concrete and proven advice for designing free-to-play, IAP-driven mobile games that consistently drive IAPs without alienating the player base.