Every game needs to find the right players, correct? That is the biggest challenge any game developer faces. Even it is the best game in the world, it will fail if no one plays it or the players are dormant.
That is why, as a game developer, planning a user acquisition (UA) strategy is a key part of the development of your game.
Here is what you need to know about UA when creating the strategy for your game:
- There are three types of user acquisition for games:
- Earned UA – social media (viral), SEO, PR, and media
- Paid UA – ad campaigns (ex. Google ads, Facebook ads)
- Owned UA – Internal channels (ex. Blog, Social media posts)
- The most used tactics for player acquisition and player retention are:
2. The most used tactics for player acquisition and player retention are:
– Promotions – Most online game companies use this strategy either to retain existing ones and re-engage former players who have stopped playing or in some cases support in acquiring new players. You can use promotions as a strategy in several ways, but the most common are: Bonuses, Free play, Cashback promotions or Loyalty programs that will award players with points for playing the game for a longer period of time.
– Push notifications – Of course, you cannot be spammy but push notifications can be used in situations where you need to remind your players or subscribers that their favorite game needs their attention. According to recent statistical data, push notifications can increase engagement by 40% and drive retention up by 116%
– In-game CRM systems – Customer Relationship Management helps you retain your best players. These systems support you by getting you closer to your players to establish good customer relationships with them. They gather specific information about your gamers, helping you customize your game’s features according to their general needs.
– Affiliate marketing – In most cases, this operates as a partnership program with different operators or network affiliates, promoting your game on their websites. The types of content they use can differ to a great extent, but usually include: PPC ads that are displayed in the organic search results for specific keywords; SEO or providing relevant content that improves a site’s ranking for specific keywords; and Community affiliates, which normally means driving traffic to your website and engaging your players through online forum activity.
– Advertising – if you want to take your player acquisition strategy to the next level one of the tactic is to invest, for example, in mobile video ads as they’re a powerful way in acquiring new users and monetizing games.
– PR & Influencer Marketing – is currently the fastest-growing online marketing channel, crushing other strategies like affiliate marketing, paid search, and display. It can attract high-quality players to your game, can deliver a strong ROI and by using blogs and Facebook it can give you the best results more quickly than any other advertising channel. Also, it is stated that influencer marketing is the most cost-effective player acquisition channel.
– Partnerships – when you are launching a game you need to take more of a community approach. For that, you can coordinate with other companies that have similar audiences and find a suitable partner. In some cases, for example, you can coordinate product releases with partners to maximize benefits or launch features weeks apart from partner games so limited edition benefits don’t clash between them.
3. Tactics that can rapidly change your UA:
– Unique content and innovation – If you work on building unique and interesting content around your game, it will make the process of user acquisition significantly easier.
– ASO/LPO (App Store Optimization, Landing Page Optimization) – It is extremely important to have an optimized acquisition funnel from the moment your players see the add to the moment they click the Install button/register for your online game.
– Google media channel is a new channel that will aid you in controlling and distributing your marketing budget while offering other alternatives as well.
– Licensed IPs and Celebrities – This tactic normally has a high acquisition cost. But putting a well-known brand up front can help you achieve broader discovery of your game and reduce your acquisition costs overall.
4. Remember these key points when planning your UA strategy:
Test and find your first core UA partners. It is really important to start working as soon as you can with a few partners that you have tested and can trust. That means building a strong support relationship in the future, which will dramatically help you by segmenting your budget between several partners.
Redirect your UA budget smartly. It is never easy to split your budget between in-house user acquisition and an external UA partner, especially if you are a small or middle sized game development studio and you don’t have the budget to waste. In these cases, you need to pick and work with a proven UA partner.
Act fast. Stay on top of industry trends. Especially in the mobile games industry, things change drastically and frequently, often over the course of several weeks and sometimes even in just one or two days. That means you need to keep up with media trends, so you can act immediately if you need to.
5. Support your UA strategy with Steam Tracking if your game is already on Steam:
Even though it’s not easy to launch your game on Steam, it’s even harder to get players and raise sales while your game is on the platform. As IQU is one of the world leading PA agencies, we strongly believe that getting the right players for your game is the key most important fact when it comes to bringing your game to the market. That is why we partnered with Innervate (Gamesight) to help you drive effective marketing to spend through proprietary Steam attribution technology.
We are using this pioneering technology which is specialized in allowing Steam game developers to track which player comes from which source. This feature will help you make more ROI justified investments during your Alpha/Beta phases of the game development process. The process is very simple – Gamesight integrates a simple code or SDK/API into the game. Through that code, iQU tracks and recognizes the players that are being attributed through Steam’s Landing page. A player’s browser gets analyzed after the click of the publisher’s banner and the player lands on the Steam landing page where the game gets installed.