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Everyone knows that developing a game is all about presenting a fun and enjoyable, experience to players. But for game developers, there is another goal which is earning money from their games.
Because if they can’t earn any money, that means their business won’t last long.
So in today’s blog, we will look at 5 monetization strategies that can help you as a game developer to make more profitable games while delivering fun, engaging games to your players 🔥
What Does Game Monetization Mean?
But first, let’s start with what ‘monetizing’ actually means. Game monetization is the process when generating income from mobile games through different revenue models.
If you have the right monetization strategy, your game will remain profitable.
And it leads to creating a balance between making revenue and providing an enjoyable experience for your players.
But it is because we live in 2023 and everything changes rapidly that you must always keep up with the latest trends.
Also, you should adapt approaches that help you stay ahead of the competition.
Let’s start with IAP, also known as in-app purchases, which are the most effective and popular way to monetize games.
It means selling virtual collections, premium content, or in-app currency to players to boost the gameplay experience.
Before getting deeper, I should say that creating IAPs can be challenging. First, you need to find the right appealing items or content that the player wants to buy.
Also, players must feel secure when buying. If they feel rushed or forced into the IAP, they may quit playing the game.
But if you want to add spice to this process, you can offer time-limited or exclusive items to create a sense of urgency.
Remember, when creating IAPs for your games, make sure the pricing is not too intrusive, experience-inducing, or provides an unfair advantage for paying players. People can feel furious and become non-paying players.
What are the types of IAP?
There are several types of in-app purchases that can be included in games, including:
- Virtual Goods: Power-ups, cosmetics items, or exclusive characters can be offered to players as virtual goods which increase the user experience.
- Premium Content: Offering extra levels, game modes, or storylines as purchasable content can entice players to extend their gameplay and unlock new challenges.
- In-App Currency: Players can spend virtual currency in-game. This makes it easier to buy things and spend money, which feels natural.
Ads are the most-known monetization strategies for games and can be a very powerful revenue stream.
There are different types of ads that offer different goals to developers, such as banner ads, videos, playable ads, and native ads.
Most developers use ads to reward users to optimize ad revenue while keeping player satisfaction.
You can earn money by displaying ads inside the game and earning money based on impressions, clicks, or completed actions.
Let’s look at the various types of ads to understand them better:
- Banner Ads: These types of ads are small, rectangular, and displayed inside the game, usually at the top or bottom of the screen. It can be just graphics or animated and they do not spoil the gaming experience.
- Interstitial Ads: They are full-screen ads that appear between levels or during natural gameplay breaks. It can be static images or videos and include a close button so players can skip them after a short duration.
- Video Ads: These are short video ads that can be non-skippable or skippable after a few seconds. It can be integrated into reward ads or displayed during gameplay breaks.
- Native Ads Blend: They are added to the game’s design and user interface, providing a less disruptive experience for players.
Freemium Model & Paid Apps
1. Freemium Model
Freemium-model mobile games allow players to download and play the game without paying any price but of course, freemium games can offer in-app purchases or premium features to players.
Because they can play and enjoy the games without a financial commitment they attract more players.
Here’s an overview of the main features of the freemium model:
- In-App Purchases: As we discussed, there are many types and reasons to add in-app purchases to your game. This includes those who choose freemium models for their games. It encourages players to spend more time and money, which increases revenue.
- Balancing Content: It’s essential to strike a balance between low-cost content and premium offerings in a freemium game. The free version should be enjoyable, while premium content should provide a clear value proposition that entices players to spend.
- LiveOps: Freemium models rely heavily on keeping players engaged. LiveOps features include a leaderboard, tournaments, rewards, regular updates, and ongoing support.
2. Paid Model
Paid models, as we can understand from the name players should pay upfront before downloading and playing the games.
Even though this model may have a limited number of potential users, it guarantees revenue for each download.
Here are some tips if you’re considering a paid model:
- Deliver High-quality Content: Players who pay upfront for a game have strong expectations. A polished, high-quality experience that justifies the asking price should be what your game offers.
- Offer Regular Updates: Keep your players engaged and maintain your paid app’s value by providing regular updates, updated content, and ongoing support.
- Choose the Right Price: Research the market and competition to determine the right price point for your game. Consider factors like the game genre, the target audience, and value.
- Leverage App Store Optimization (ASO): Optimize your game’s app store listing with relevant keywords, an engaging description, and eye-catching visuals to improve visibility and drive downloads.
Before finishing this part here is another point about those models:
To choose between freemium and paid apps define your game genre, target audience, and objectives which help you choose the right models for your game.
There is also another popular strategy known as subscriptions, in which players subscribe to exclusive content or benefits on a monthly or annual basis.
We can think of a Netflix or Disney Plus model.
The subscription model offers several benefits, such as:
- Predictable Revenue: Subscriptions provide a steady stream of revenue, which benefits long-term planning and investment.
- Boost Player Engagement: It can encourage players to spend time in the game and take part in exclusive events or activities, increasing engagement and retention.
- Increase Loyalty: When players subscribe to a game, they are likely to invest more time and money over time, which leads to a loyal fan base.
When implementing a subscription model, there are many things to consider.
First, pricing to determine the right pricing strategy you should assess resources based on market, player preference, genre, and marketing objectives.
The second is the content, which is so important. Find high-quality content or features that justify the subscription price and provide a clear value proposition for your players.
And finally, cancellation policies. Make sure to provide clear and transparent cancellation policies that guarantee players can cancel.
In-game Sponsorships & Partnerships
In-game sponsorship partnerships have become popular mobile game monetization strategies in recent years.
This means when two brands or games decide to work on some content. It could be any type of social networks, branded content, or cross-promotions. Which can lead to expanded revenue opportunities for both sides.
Sponsored events are the most common. It includes exclusive in-game events or competitions sponsored by a brand or advertiser.
One example of this is a mobile game that is offering a car race. This can be partnered with a car brand and together they can offer an in-game and in-game event that features the brand’s latest car models.
What are the benefits of in-game sponsorships and partnerships?
- Increased Revenue: They provide you with extra revenue sources which can be especially lucrative if you work with well-known brands or companies.
- More Advanced Experience: They can provide players with exclusive and engaging material, such as in-game events or in-game items.
- Brand Awareness: It can help you reach new audiences and increase brand awareness by promoting their products or services to mobile game players.
How do you identify suitable partners for your mobile game?
Start with reaching brand alignment, target audiences, and marketing goals. For example, a mobile game that focuses on sports could partner with a sports brand or team to offer in-game events or items.
Their partnership was about turning McDonald’s locations into “Pokestops” and “Gyms,” offering exclusive in-game items, and even introducing a special McDonald’s-themed character in the game.
This helped the brand at the same time McDonald’s promoted a more diverse and younger audience and Pokemon GO improved their player experiences.
In the blog, we discussed the importance of monetization in developing games, which requires careful planning and execution.
There are different strategies which all offer a completely different output.
Creating a balance between monetization and the player experience is critical to avoid frustration and losing revenue.
The most effective way to earn money from mobile games is to follow these guidelines and use data to plan a strategy. This will create engaging, profitable games that retain players and generate revenue for years.
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