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App Monetization Strategies That Really Work

3rd June 2014

So you have made a killer mobile game, you invested a lot of money to drive app installs and you have a impressive amount of mobile users.
Now, the hard part, you need to figure out how to monetize said users.

Doing that is no easy feat. This is because it’s becoming difficult by the day to attract a paying audience due to the crowded playing field and the number of free apps available. According to a Gartner report, the pie for paid applications is sliced unevenly; 94.5% of app downloads will come in the shape of free apps by 2017.

Because of this dilemma, the status quo is to come up with smart mobile game monetization strategies without compromising user experience. Here are 4 strategies to get your app off the ground to a new level of revenue generation:

Freemium model

This is continuing to be one of the most effective models for mobile game monetization. Gamers download a demo-version of your game, and after playing it for some time, they face restrictions such as restriction of levels, time, and bonuses. A premium version is then offered to lift such restrictions.

Another method of monetizing through the freemium model is to allow gamers to download a full version of your game without any cost but charge for certain restrictions (such as one sniper gun per day). This strategy could also lead to impulse buying at the user’s end.
Candy Crush Saga is one of the prime examples of a freemium game that effectively leverages the impulse purchase. Anyone stuck on a particular level looks to buy extra moves just to advance to the next stage.

Alternative payment solutions

There are several aspects to mobile gaming these days, and developers using in-game transactions have a lot more options to choose from. While you can achieve good results with traditional payment options, adding alternative payments can be a crucial factor to mobile game monetization success as it improves the experience for users playing your game. This can increase your revenue as it opens up options to existing and new gamers alike.

A look at the company overview of Matomy, a provider of alternative payment solutions, shows off some of the available alternatives for mobile game publishers as well as mobile game advertisers. Such platforms offer “a unique opportunity to channel revenue” for your mobile app by watching videos, registering for websites and shopping online (where consumers pay in the form of taking such actions while you get money from banners and interstitials).

Consumers can also be presented with a range of mobile offers to get virtual currency, which they can use to advance to new levels or unlock virtual goods. The two methods could be effective in converting non-paying gamers in a fun way while boosting revenue for your app.

Cross marketing

You can get in touch with other game-app developers to market their apps and ask them to do the same in return. Think of it as an advertisement exchange, where you could place the content and link of your game in their game, and in exchange allow them to place the content and link of their game in your game.

Also, do not over-inflate opinions about your app’s value or have unrealistic expectations about how many game developers are going to coordinate with you. Be honest with yourself, before you hunt for game-ad exchanges, and ask yourself: “Just how valuable is your game? What gamers like about it? How many publishers would be interested in the offer?”

Apart from cross marketing, you could also implement affiliate marketing tactics by advertising other apps/products within your game. This strategy is more subtle and therefore proves to be effective than traditional advertising methods.

Breakthrough moments

Explore the aspect of your game that triggers emotions and user retention. Utilize the same features for in-game advertisements or purchase offers by integrated components that deliver value to users.

Breakthrough moments could be a great monetization weapon in this regard as they can be used to offer ad and virtual goods purchase opportunities that attract gamers during the emotional time in game play, such as when they are in need of help, or get a high score.

Breakthrough moments are very addictive to gamers, tempting players to take action while they are in their core gaming loop. This could result in deeper engagement, happier players, and more good purchases and clicks on your advertisements.

Take a hint from Temple Run 2 – when a gamer is falling, running on to an object, etc. gems are presented to revive the character. If the gamer doesn’t have any gem, he/she has the opportunity to purchase them on the spot with direct payment. This can be very tempting for someone who’s about the break a high score or increase an existing high score.

Corey is an all round tech guru who has worked at some major blue chip companies. He started Poweronemedia to share his views and knowledge with the rest of the blogging world.