This is the last part of F2P Monetization. In the previous part, I've covered the Hook and the Line part of the formula in common mobile games. I'll be covering the Sinker part in this post, along with some insights on Ad-based Monetization.
Daily Reward Cards - The Sinker
Daily Rewards Cards of varying time periods - Heroes Charge
An uncommon but trending IAP type is known via many terms: Monthly Card, Weekly Card, etc. The above image immediately provides 4 examples. These are long-tail benefits that provide players a small boost (usually premium currency) on a daily basis depending on the duration of the card. 30 days (Monthly Card) is the most common one found in many Asian RPG titles. They are usually inexpensive due to its non-instant benefits and are targeted towards low to mid-tier spenders. These cards are the sinker due to how it entice players to come back on a daily basis to claim what they've paid for; they boost retention rates and allow players a sense of saving up towards their next opportunity of spending premium currency.
Calculate and grasp how these IAP will benefit players based on the game's economy. If 100 Gems were to be given daily, it would take the player 10 days to earn 1,000 Gems with possible additional surplus (e.g. 500) given from doing other game activity. Would 1,500 Gems suffice for players to perform a spending activity that is satisfying for "10 days" of coming back or playing effort?
Some games with suitable content would create a one-time per day spending activity that costs really low to pair up with this type of IAP.
Ad-based Monetization (Videos)
Nothing unfamiliar to players and developers alike so I will just jump to the common ad placements in mobile games, alongside some tips:
Integrated Ad Placement in Food Street
Always curate the video-ads that are played, both in-game and the ad-provider(s). Lengthier video ads can dissociate the game's pace and impact burnout of players' willingness to watch ads the next time. Simultaneous ad views in the same game session is also discouraged with similar reason and should be limited from the game client via timers or limits.
Free2Play Monetization can be a broad topic but there is often no one best method as it is really dependent on game content. Monetization designers must understand the game's progression and economy to utilize any known techniques in their game. An attractive IAP from Game A may not directly translate the same effects to Game B, even if they are of the same genre. Look closely into your game's player community to understand the popular content players are pursuing as well as analytics to match trends with spending and usage behaviors.
Thanks for reading!
Hello again! Here is Part II of the F2P Monetization post which consist of practical known tricks that mobile games have been using. For my experience, I always follow my self-conceived formula of: Hook, Line and Sinker
Starter Packs - The Hook
Starter Pack Pop-up - Summoner's War
The earliest form of IAP presented to players. It is usual and best for games to show a prompt for this after the tutorial or ensure that the player has obtained fair knowledge for item(s) in the starter pack. For example, non self-explanatory items such as a Mystical Scroll may not appear directly useful for players that does not know what it does. Otherwise, these types of IAP are usually only buyable once for a limited time. Designers (Mobile) would term this as first-time conversion. It is to present a heap of benefits to players when they just got hooked. Depending on genre, starter packs are usually cheap options (ranging from $0.99 for casual games to $7.99 for RPGs). Many mid to hardcore games offer a Whale Starter where it's much more costly for spenders wanting to get the immediate big boost to "get ahead" of other players. This is definitely a pay2win factor.
Measure the starter pack expiry time based on average player progression. Usually near the expiry date, players' need for the starter pack benefits would peak. This can be perceived as a payment wall, depending on the game balance.
Currency Packages - The Line
In-App Purchases Menu - Lego Quest and Collect
This applies only to games with in-game currencies. It serves as the standard way of purchasing content over other IAP types. The most common strategy in games is to sell pricier packages for better value, this is usually either done by giving more currencies for higher price tiers or giving the same ratio of currency for a discounted higher pricing tier:
> A) 500 Crystals for $0.99, 1600 Crystals for $2.99 (+100)
> B) 500 Crystals for $0.99, 1500 Crystals for $2.79 (-$0.20) uncommon method*
Pricing tiers usually follow a ratio-like basis (with some offsets), this is often done to represent currencies in a referential format where players can indirectly but easily see the benefits of purchasing more expensive packages.
> C1) $14.98 yields me 1000 (+50) Crystals
> C2) $44.98 (about 3x price of the above) yields me 3000 (+300) Crystals
By purchasing [C2] as the player, I would know that I get a benefit of 250 gems (300 - 50). Smart spenders love to work out benefits themselves while the IAP menu remains discreet about explicit advantages.
Balance and master the monetization economy by referencing the currency sinks in the game based on what the game wants to achieve. For example, a 10x Character Roll costs 5000 Crystals in a game:
> D1) Selling a price tier slightly below 5000 would encourage players to earn the remaining required currency or purchase another lower-tier IAP
> D2) Selling a price tier slightly above 5000 would create post-spending impression where players are not left with 0 currency and have "spare" change to unlock content that may costs less Crystals.
Thanks for reading! Stay tune for Part III which will cover the Sinker!