Monetization - 11 min read  - April 24, 2020

8 tips to Attract & Acquire Mobile Game Users during the COVID-19 Lockdown

Now, more than ever, it is particularly necessary to optimize the customer acquisition and loyalty strategies of your application and, at Appodeal, we want to help you achieve that.

In recent weeks we have seen how users are changing the way they use mobile apps. 

The coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown has kept many people in their houses, and several publishers are detecting substantial variations in users’ behavior and their KPIs performance.

Now, more than ever, it is particularly necessary to optimize the customer acquisition and loyalty strategies of your application and, at Appodeal, we want to help you achieve that.

A few days ago, we published “7 tips to Retain Mobile Game Users”, a highly recommended reading. The post has got such good reviews and results, that we decided to create this other article with more tips, this time focused on how to acquire mobile game users.

These are the tips that we prepared for you to keep growing your mobile app and find new ways to acquire more users:

1 InApp Promos Acquisition Goals - Attract Acquire Mobile Game Users

1.  Rethink your in-app promos & revisit your acquisition goals.

The economy of many countries has suffered a substantial setback. Many people have lost their jobs, and with it, their source of income. Now they’ll have to prioritize where they spend their money, and your mobile game app must adapt to this situation.

You may start noticing lower conversion rates on your IAPs and in-app promotions. If that happens, you may need to adjust the price points on your in-game stores and start pushing a significant number of discounts

You can also change the content in your promos. Perhaps, you can A/B test new in-game bundles, the keywords you’re using in your featured offers, or tweak other aspects of the in-app packages to make the offer more appealing to the users.

These are some of the tactics we’ve been noticing from TOP developers to avoid lowering their ARPU (Average Revenue per User) and keep their monthly revenues.

You can keep your mobile game app untouched and maintain the same monetization strategy, but then you will need to revisit your acquisition goals.

If you’re lucky, your metrics will remain stable, and you won’t require significant changes. But if you detect a drop in your income, then you’ll have to adapt your User Acquisition Strategy.

You may want to focus your marketing budget on high-performance campaigns based on CPI & CPA (Cost per Install / Action). If you were already executing these campaigns, then readjust the CPI to the new market situation. If you detect new user behaviors, you can test further in-app actions to be promoted on your user acquisition campaigns.

Try developing new creatives for your campaigns and test new audiences. People’s needs have changed, and what they are looking for may have changed, too.

There are many ways you can adapt your User Acquisition strategy and goals for this new coronavirus situation. Choose the one that best fits your mobile game app.  

2 Update App Store Increase Organic Installs - Attract Acquire Mobile Game Users

2. Update your App Store Pages to increase organic installs

This last month, some mobile games and apps are updating the assets on their App Store Pages.

Your app description is probably the asset you can adapt more quickly. Include updated in-app events, promos, or even send a message of hope to newcomers. Your top competitors may already have updated it. Check their apps to get ideas on how you can approach it.   

We also noticed some other mobile games are testing new strategies for their low-performance keywords. A new wave of users is navigating on the App Stores and searching for new apps to spice their lives up a bit. With them, new keywords have become more popular among app sections. Track with your preferred ASO Keyword Tool the usage of particular keywords and detect new opportunities for your games.

Some apps have updated their App Store Screenshots too, and have adapted it to the latest market demands. Perform a quick analysis of your screenshots to get an idea about what you can change. The most common approach is to improve the readability of the message, add awards and testimonials, and focus your communication on the value of your app instead of its features. 

All these previous examples may help you to improve your organic acquisition. However, before you update your App Store Pages, first analyze your markets and keep your goals local.

Every country is experiencing the COVID-19 lockdown in its own way, and what may work in one country may not be ideal for its neighbor.

Check the current status of your app in each affected country; detect new trends, patterns, and behaviors in those markets; analyze what your competitors are doing; and A/B test every change before bringing them to live.

3 Update App Increase Organic Growth - Attract Acquire Mobile Game Users

3. Update your App to increase your Organic Growth

In the previous Appodeal’s post, tips for growing and retaining mobile game users [LINK], we saw a few marketing strategies to take into consideration during the coronavirus lockdown. In short, we suggested you create in-app events, promote new game features, come up with new bundles and IAPs, and adapt your app to any new detected user behaviors.

When you decide to update your mobile game and launch a new version with new features, you will be attracting, at the same time, the new organic users in your app.

Every time your mobile app game is updated, it gets more relevant to your audience. Allowing your brand to relate and react to any changes in your market is positive for your app’s growth. 

Also, a new game version gives you the chance to be featured in the “New & Updated Games” category within the Appstore. And besides, Google Play and Apple App Store take into account the frequency of updates of your app for your ASO (App Store Optimization) positioning in the ranks.

4 Low eCPMs - Attract Acquire Mobile Game Users

4. Low eCPMs? Take advantage of this situation!

Many advertisers are rethinking their marketing budgets for the coronavirus lockdown. The uncertainty of this situation is starting to affect the eCPM’s of some developers negatively. 

Low eCPMs are usually bad news, but it also unlocks new paths for your Paid User Acquisition strategy.

Now is the perfect opportunity for indie developers who want to launch or scale user acquisition campaigns to markets that usually were out of reach. Identify potential users you were not able to access before. Create target audiences that have not yet been explored by your competitors. Adapt your ad creatives to the current context.

If you are having a hard time spotting new markets or audiences to push your awesome mobile game, you can always take advantage of this decline of eCPMs to reactivate churned users. 

In this case, you will work with audiences you already know and have a reliable data on how they will interact with your app. You already know what works, what to communicate, and you may drive conversions with ease. 

Coronavirus may give you an excellent opportunity to review your trusted User Acquisition channels. Watch them from new angles, and get the most of them.

5 Low Performance Assets Scale Creatives KPIs - Attract Acquire Mobile Game Users

5. Update the Low-Performance Assets & Scale Creatives with strong KPIs

If you already have detected new audiences and tuned your User Acquisition Campaigns, you may be wondering what else you could do to attract more users.

Your ads are already set up to reach your users, but the ad creatives will be decisive to influence your audience to click your ad and install your mobile app. So, the next step to achieve better KPIs with your UA strategy is to optimize your ad creatives.

There are multiple ways to optimize your UA Creatives. 

Find new ways to approach specific parts of your ad units. Tweak & test your icons, buttons, call-to-action, duration of the video, text, message, art style, and more. The possibilities are endless.

Test new ad formats too. Have you already tried native or video ads? And what about playable/interactable ads? Consider integrating new ad formats that are going trendy in the mobile industry. You can reduce your ad fatigue, and you will have fewer apps competing in those spaces.

Another way to optimize your creatives is to localize them. You probably translated the text for different countries. The next step is to adapt the whole ad creative to the country’s culture you are aiming to. 

In any case, the best course of action is to test every new creative with your audience. This way, you will know what works best with you.

Most new ad creatives (9 out of 10) don’t usually meet the UA Campaign goals, but finding a single high-performing ad may drive you significant gains.

Once you have identified your most profitable ads, it is highly recommendable to reuse these high-performing creatives with new targets. Can create new ad sets and reuse the same ads with audiences that have similar interests or have lookalike values as your VIP players.

To avoid losing track of which ads you’ve tested, it is recommended to apply a horizontal scaling method. Start testing an average of 15 ads at a time, detect the winning ones, and replicate them in a separate campaign aiming for different audiences.

One of the most trending tactics to scale User Acquisition Facebook Campaigns is to launch small budget campaigns and, once you detect the best-performing ones, raise their budgets by 10% to 20% every 4 to 7 days. This way, the ad set will retain the collected data from the starting phase and learn from its performance. Larger variations may force ad sets to start all over again and, therefore, generate higher volatility on your KPIs.

6 Promote Game App Social Media - Attract Acquire Mobile Game Users

6. Promote your Game App proudly on Social Media

For some people, social media are exciting and stimulating. Some others think they are boring and tedious. It doesn’t matter in which group you identify yourself. If you’re an Indie Game or App Developer, being active in your social media is a must. 

During this lockdown, you may observe your Social Media has more activity than it had before. Now you should, more than ever, take care of your community, connect with them, and get feedback. It may be time-consuming, but your audience is at home with tons of free time, and now they have the time to create deeper connections with you and your mobile game. 

Seek to maximize your reach and concentrate on those actions that generate more interest and awareness. You don’t need to be on every social media. Stay active only on those platforms where your audience is.

Find your style and create a powerful and compelling message that can attract users and become viral. Once you’ve chosen a direction, be consistent. Use the data from your platforms to know which ones are the most effective and favorable to your mobile game.

Once you have already gotten the attention of your mobile app or game’s community, you can keep them engaged by giving them incentives, creating contests, and rewarding them with prizes. 

When you think about your social media, you can’t forget to interact with other bloggers, brands, and YouTubers. Go beyond the social media pages you own, and contact with influencers that stream and review apps and games like yours. 

Always try to grab the influencer’s attention by rewarding them. Give them exclusive benefits: 

  • access to premium in-game features
  • beta features still not globally released
  • free limited edition assets
  • extra spending of your virtual currencies
  • or also dedicated assets (unique skins or get them featured in your game).

Influencers that already have a significant and solid fanbase will probably ask you for a fixed price to promote your mobile game. If your budget is limited and you can’t afford it, don’t let that stop you. Be creative and offer them alternatives like referral codes or a percentage of the generated income. Now that brands are cutting their budgets for their social media, some influencers may be more open to it.

Make sure that the goal of your social media actions expands your community. Encourage your fans to share your content, invite their friends, and/or review your game.

And of course, make it super easy for everyone to download your mobile game.

7 InApp Multiplayer Social Features Viral - Attract Acquire Mobile Game Users

7. Promote your In-app Multiplayer or Social Features and become Viral

Isolation has adverse effects on people’s health, and the world’s locked down. 

Unsurprisingly, the World Health Organization (WHO) is encouraging people to stay socially connected while they remain at home, and multiplayer video games are the best excuses to socialize with our relatives.

If your mobile game has multiplayer or social features, it is time to promote them.

Online gaming has experienced a boom these last weeks, and many non-gamers are finding out that they don’t even need to get into a complicated multiplayer game. Mobile users are looking for games that allow you to compete with friends. Boards, words, and puzzle games are having a very positive impact on newcomers.

Your mobile game’s social features don’t need to involve direct multiplayer sessions. 

Are you hosting a competitive league, a guild system, or score leaderboards? Do you let players challenge their friends to beat their scores? Do you even have a simple in-app message system that allows them to exchange gifts or emotes? If that’s your case, then try to promote those social features too.

Your players may start inviting other friends to play with them, improving your retention rates, and keeping them motivated. When your users start to feel they belong to your community, they will engage more with each other.

Social engagement generates the “word of mouth” effect, which helps you reach new users for free, and at the same time, boosts your organic reach in your App Stores.

8 Update App Ads txt demand eCPM - Attract Acquire Mobile Game Users

8. Add or Update your app-ads.txt to increase demand and eCPM

Now that you updated your App Stores, your paid ads, and are attracting and acquiring new users into your app, you may be thinking what else you should do, right? 

Our last tip for you is to improve your monetization set up and update ASAP the “app-ads.txt” of your mobile app.

It is strategically vital for you to add this file on your developer’s website, or you may not be allowed to work with exchange ad partners, Appodeal included. 

The App-Ads.txt will increase your ad revenue and help to:

  • Establish yourself as a reliable publisher.
  • Mitigate the risk of fraud.
  • Attract quality advertisers and programmatic buyers who are actively looking for publishers with your app-ads.txt file.
  • Avoid sources that generate low income and eCPMs and get more advantageous deals.
  • Cut off unauthorized developers that you want to avoid for strategic reasons.
  • And you will help to create a better mobile app ecosystem.

When you exclude certain brands or apps on your app-ads.txt, this will not prevent them from buying your inventory, but it may discourage them from buying it.

Connect your account with any new ad network. You can find all the steps to integrate and enable it in Appodeal’s wiki app-ads.txt support

We will connect with your Ad Networks automatically to provide them all the necessary information. Focus on developing your app game, while we optimize your ad monetization

To learn more about what App-ads.txt is, read this 2-min article. If you have any questions about app-ads.txt, reach Appodeal’s Support Team, and we will gladly help you with it.

9 Stay Strong Not Give Up - Attract Acquire Mobile Game Users

9. (Extra +1) Stay strong & do NOT Give Up!

Some countries are already relaxing their lockdown situations. Some others are preparing their population for a long-time of home confinement. One way or another, COVID-19 will still keep us on alert. 

We must not let it take a toll on us. Do not stop your efforts on improving your mobile apps and games

Experience has shown us that, in moments of uncertainty, the quickest to adapt is also the one who, in the long term, benefits the most.

Big brands and companies may need time to react and adjust their User Acquisition campaigns. Some of them are freezing their assets and stopping their marketing campaigns. But on the other side of the coin, Indie Game Developers and Small Gaming Companies are used to working with agile methodologies and fast-paced environments. 

We don’t know how much more we must endure the lockdown, but those who take advantage of this situation will surely come out strengthened.

Get your Assets & User Acquisition Campaigns ready and attract high-quality users again

Now is the time to turn your app into a top-earning hit.

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Marc Llobet
Marc Llobet

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