November 3, 2023
With newly evolving approaches to user acquisition, mobile game development teams are turning to strategies like LiveOps to retain their high-value players for the entirety of a game’s lifecycle. LiveOps is no longer a “nice-to-have” – it is the standard in mobile gaming for the foreseeable future.
According to SensorTower’s State of Mobile Gaming 2023 report, 91% of the top 500 mobile games use a LiveOps monetization model, including the top ten highest revenue generators. LiveOps is also the proven method for maintaining player loyalty in the long run, which is rapidly becoming the most reliable indicator of sustainable growth.
While LiveOps projects are complex beasts, their rewards are immense. The challenge then lies in finding and retaining high-value players for these games by leveraging data across channels to maximize results. This process is often beyond the knowledge and ability of a single person – or even a small team – when done at scale.
So how exactly can mobile player retention software help you do the heavy lifting? What should you look for? The following considerations can help you figure out what’s vital when selecting retention software to maximize your players’ lifetime value (LTV).
Communication is central to user retention. If players aren’t aware of upcoming events or when their in-game resources are replenished, they won’t have a reason to return. And the longer an app stays out of their mind, the less likely they are to get back in the game. According to Airship, 95% of users who don’t receive push notifications within the first 90 days of installing a game will churn.
However, in-game and push notifications are not the only way of communicating with players. Generating email campaigns, sending SMS text messages, and creating robust social media plans all impact brand engagement and retention.
Making sure that coordinated omnichannel messaging reaches players with maximum impact is extremely difficult on a manual basis. That’s why marketers often depend on cross-channel campaign management platforms to tie all of these channels together. They enable campaign automation based on personalized triggers, so that players receive messages at the most opportune moments. Such moments can include when they hit in-game milestones or when play has lapsed for a specific period, among other instances.
They also provide ways to generate scheduled awareness campaigns for live events, in-app purchase deals, and other limited-time offers, so you’re well-equipped to measure performance and test which channel works best. Of course, custom messaging ensures greater relevance compared to blasting all messaging across all channels.
While there are many cross-channel campaign management platforms to choose from, not all are created equal. According to a survey of 26 communication hubs conducted by Forrester, all vendors offer at least email, mobile, and digital advertising capabilities – but the implementation of each varies wildly. Integration of more than five separate channels is more difficult to find, and fulfilling specialized needs, such as e-commerce and chatbots, is even rarer.
That’s why it’s necessary to determine which channels are most important to you when looking for mobile player retention software. It should at least allow for email, in-game, and SMS text messaging capabilities since those are the channels you will have the most control over. Your chosen platform should also provide the following features:
With those in your repertoire, you’ll be ready to take on major omnichannel initiatives.
Catering your messaging to individual users is critical for fostering player loyalty. And personalization is about more than just generating revenue – it’s about giving players what they want and expect. According to McKinsey, 71% of consumers expect personalized offers and messaging, with 76% of consumers becoming frustrated when they aren’t provided.
Your chosen mobile player retention software should enable you to segment your player base into actionable cohorts by providing access to deep layers of data: how they’ve moved through your game, demographic info, geographic location, channel source, and so on. It should also provide tools for offering personalized notifications, offers, and experiences, as well as the ability to analyze the success of these personalized campaigns.
For example, you could sort your player base into categories like “high-value players” or “players stuck in opening levels.” With these segments, you could then create specialized app experiences – like giving stuck players a customized bundle of in-game items that can help them progress past these early stages. This way, you can gain insight into how often players convert on these personalized offers and further hone your bundling and messaging strategies to increase their effectiveness.
Look for the following features in your retention software, which will ideally apply to as many of your channels as possible, to make mobile game retention prediction easier for your team:
Ideally, these should apply to as many of your channels as possible.
The best software features won’t count for much if you’re not securing your players’ data. And between Apple and Google’s ever-shifting approaches to privacy, as well as new state, federal, and global data security and privacy regulations, it’s vital to choose a platform that can help navigate this landscape. Regulations vary between geographic regions, and even if you’re based in one country, your game must be compliant in all countries where players are able to play it.
At a minimum, your chosen platform should be certified for the following security and compliance standards:
While not an exhaustive list, this baseline shares common data security and privacy requirements you’ll likely run into. Publishers should heavily research the compliance requirements for all geographic regions in which they operate to understand the regulatory minimums your chosen player retention software must adhere to. Otherwise, it’s a no-go, regardless of what other features it offers.
Customer service might be low on your list of important player retention software features. But if a platform isn’t available to help you when players need it, you could be throwing money down the drain.
Look for platforms that offer support during your operating hours within the region(s) your business serves. Evaluate which communication options you’ll need – email, live chat, phone, or dedicated support – as these will dictate the software and pricing tier you’ll ultimately select. Emergency and after-hours contact information is particularly useful when it comes to urgent issues that could arise in the middle of the night. Naturally, you should ensure that your platform’s support team speaks one or more languages relevant to your operating region(s).
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for successful player retention, so be sure to do your research on the KPIs that matter most to your business. That’s one way to ensure your chosen player retention software has the greatest cross-section of messaging and compliance features that will help you meet – and hopefully exceed – your goals.
Mistplay can also bolster your overall player retention, as it’s purpose-built to help marketers detect and retain the most loyal, high-value players. With AI-powered suggestion algorithms, it can connect your game to those who will likely enjoy it among a growing global community of millions of gamers. Plus, real-world rewards can help keep them engaged to maximize lifetime value.
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