When it comes to monetizing your app, there are a lot of options out there. It’s possible to make money from your app with in-app purchases, freemium subscriptions, offerwalls, rewarded surveys, and more. A properly monetized app will take advantage of a variety of different strategies in order to maximize income potential from a wide range of users.
Gaming apps present a particular sort of opportunity when it comes to app monetization — as well as a unique set of challenges and considerations. Creating profitable gaming apps isn’t as simple as building a game that users love and inserting some ads here and there. Far from it, in fact. In reality, a well-monetized game will take all potential monetization strategies into advance from the very beginning and work to effectively build these strategies into the game’s economy from the beginning.
What is a game economy, though? What’s the key to game economy design? And how do you maximize your earnings potential while keeping users engaged? In this informative blog post, we’ll answer all of these questions and more. Let’s get started!
What Is a Game Economy?
If you’re new to the world of gaming apps, you might be a little unfamiliar with the idea of a “game economy.”
Non-gaming apps are relatively straight forward when it comes to how users engage with them. If they’re free to use, they may utilize monetization approaches such ads and offerwalls in order to earn revenue. Or, they may offer a freemium version that allows users to access premium features for a fixed cost.
Gaming apps are more complicated. From the very beginning, you can assume that users will be interacting with your app in a particular way. They’re not logging in to check their bank account balance or stream a podcast: they’re using your app purely for entertainment. And with that in mind, you can develop a “game economy” that takes advantage of the relationship between your app and its users.
Simply put, a game economy is a sort of virtual economy which controls all of the game’s so-called loops: its currencies, experience points (XP) system, access to new levels, time loops, and so on. The game economy determines how users will interface with the game. This economy controls how users manage to unlock new features, advance within the game’s structure, and more.
What Does Good Game Economy Design Look Like?
So, is setting up a game economy as simple as creating a currency and assigning prices to various features and game levels? If only things were that easy! Of course, you technically could take this sort of overly simplified approach — but it completely fails to take into account the monetization opportunities associated with your game economy.
Your goal as a gaming app developer is to design a game which balances user engagement on the one hand with monetization opportunities on the other. If you require users to jump through too many monetization hoops in order to use your app, you’ll never build user loyalty or buy-in. But if you fail to take advantage of enough opportunities to generate revenue, you won’t earn enough from the app to justify the time spent on development and updates.
One of the keys to effective game economy design is to hook your users before you ask too much of them. Your primary focus with new users should be to create as much engagement and buy-in as possible. You want your users to get the feel of your game, enjoy themselves, and — ultimately — your goal is to leave them wanting more. They should be ready for the next stage or itching to level up their character. And that’s when you hit them with your monetization strategy of choice.
What Kinds of Monetization Work Best with Game Economies?
There are a lot of different ways to tie monetization in with your game economy. We’ll look at two: video ads and rewarded surveys.
With video ads, users will be prompted to watch a video advertisement in exchange for something such as in-game currency. Video ads are generally more engaging than simple banner ads, and also present a better opportunity for monetization on a per-user basis. Plus, with 87% of mobile advertisers already incorporating video into their advertising, it’s clear that video ads are the future when it comes to mobile advertising.
Unfortunately, there are some downsides to video ads. They can sometimes drive down user engagement, and can even lead to lower user retention over time. Don’t get us wrong, of course: video ads can be an important strategy to incorporate into your game economy. But if you rely too heavily on them, you could potentially both alienate users and miss out on other opportunities.
Here at TheoremReach, we help app publishers monetize their in-game economies using rewarded surveys. We make adding surveys to your existing apps easier than ever before. Plus, we’re currently developing a variety of new products that will include game design elements as part of our survey integration functionality, including log-in bonuses, consecutive usage bonuses, weekly bonuses, and more.