Every year thousands of people gather at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco to attend the Game Developers Conference. It’s an exciting week of learning, inspiration and networking.
This year I attended for the first time and I’ve tried to be present at almost every panel about business, strategy and monetization.
I’m the CMO of Libring, a tech firm based in Cambridge (MA), that created an intelligent platform for mobile game companies to aggregate and organize all the ad revenue and app stores reporting data in seconds, making it very easy to correlate and analyze what works and what doesn’t when it comes to monetization. So hearing from game monetization experts that people are now more open to ads in the games and bigger guys are embracing the ads was music to my ears.
I’ve listed below some insights I’ve heard about (1) what success means for game companies, (2) non-traditional emerging challenges and (3) the future of ad monetization:
1. Game Success
. Create and design a game that people play not just for days but also for months and years.
. Build a fun game but also make money.
. Making games is really tough so put passion above all.
. Know for whom you are making the game. Put yourself in the user’s shoes. Get your friends to play, get the more feedback you can.
. Take good care of your game community.
. Do cross-promotions. Featuring is not the only strategy.
. Failure is guaranteed. Always remind your team they need to believe in success.
. Competition is so fierce in the mobile market that UA (User Acquisition) became a great priority. Do a lot of experimentation to keep moving things forward.
. UA will not make a bad game good.
. Don’t do UA until you know how your game monetizes.
. Find what works for you. Minimize the risk to find more users.
. Some companies don’t spend on UA but spend a lot on Marketing.
. You cannot monetize a bad game.
. Collect data to help you have better results. Use analytics tools to leverage data.
. Analytics. Analytics.Analytics.
2. Non-Traditional Emerging Channels
. Don’t ignore the value of community management! Thinking on how to grow your community in an organized and healthy way may work better than using influencers
. Make sure influencers are playing because they like the game.
. If influencer marketing doesn’t work for you, try “un-influencer” marketing.
. Depending on the stage you are on UA, stick to the basics. Facebook could never go wrong.
3. Ad Monetization
. Be upfront of your users. Look for the right breaks and right transition
. Keep users entertained. Add always something new to retain your users.Ad monetization is about less interruption and more integration. Build it as a feature.
. Think of integrated ads more like product placement in movies.
. Segmentation to the extreme is the key.
. Rewarded videos are becoming bigger and bigger. You can use rewarded video as a feature of the game to drive more engagement.
. Try to find the sweet spot between making money and not annoying players for each game. Test it.
. Don’t treat payers and non-payers differently.
. KPI is not only about installation. Monitor how long your users play.
We are aware that building a game that players want to come back to each day is not an easy task. Unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all answer to what works and what doesn’t in mobile advertising. But with the right tools to monitor your metrics and analyze your results you can keep your game on the right track.
This article has been first published on LinkedIn Pulse.