How to easily build a fan base

Launching a new game is always a hard job. Every developer wants to get their voice heard and can be a challenging task in a overcrowded mobile space. If you’re not launching your first title, then there is a way to make things easier for you.

We’ve experimented with incentivizing players using a virtual currency in exchange for becoming our Facebook fan and Twitter follower. There are many disputes about using these types of mechanics but we can confirm it’s something which isn’t a block for an approval by Apple or rejection by Google. Below are two examples of what we usually incentivize. Our goal was to build communication channels to players, build stronger relationship and cross sell new titles to the community. Having this “ammunition” could help a lot in regards to the launch date of the new IP if there’s a good fit with the target group.

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We were able to get over 5200 Twitter followers and 6000 Facebook fans during a three month period after the launch of Iconic. From over 310 000 downloads, 265 000 users have a version with in-app notifications but only 125 000 have in-apps active. Recently, we conducted a test to see how we can convert people to a specific action which was to register their emails.

The thing is that email marketing is in its Renaissance. Having a direct connection to your players means MUCH more than having them on Twitter and Facebook. Quite often people have too many followers on Twitter to be able to catch your message in the news feed. Facebook is even worse: we could reach only 230 users out of 8500 fans with a particular message because of Facebook algorithms. If we would like to reach an entire fan base there would be additional expenses for a sponsored post.

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Once we’ve pushed a notification to a segment of 47 000 players who had at least 3 game sessions, we got an 82 % delivery rate. The open ratio was 5.8% which was equal to 2260 leads to the webpage. There was an email sign-up rate of 16% which was about 360 emails. That’s not much from such a crowd. But it’s even worse on social media! The same message was clicked only 3 times on Twitter and 4 times on Facebook, which is an extremely poor result. To sum it up, the effectiveness of incentivized social signups is worse than we expected and push notifications are good for valuable in-game messages but don’t work well for events outside the app. That could be the case when you would like to forward users to your new app to download.

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Now it might look like a fail or a dead end but there’s another way to acquire sign-ups and get high quality contacts. One thing which worked pretty well in Iconic: every player gets to a “sign-up for a notification screen” once finishing the initial content pack of 200 puzzles. People who make it so far in the game are truly hard-core fans who absolutely love the game and are hungry for more. From 6000 players over 3000 registered their emails in Iconic which is pretty fabulous. Their value is 10x bigger than of those TW/FB fans who just wanted free coins. Engaged players are in love with the game. You as an author have an easier job to approach players with your new game. It’s a simple trick to help build a high quality database, isn’t it?

Once we publish a new IP, you can expect to see figures about email open rates and download conversions here on the blog in an update.

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