April 2016 - redBit games

5 Growth Hacking Strategies for your App or Mobile Game

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What kind of Growth Hacking strategies exist, and how can they be applied to your Mobile Game Marketing?

This article originally appeared in Italian on MD – Digital Marketing Blog.

In our previous article on Growth Hacking we’ve talked about its difference from Digital Marketing and why it can be the perfect strategy for Companies to grow their audiences with 0 (or very little) budget.

Today we’re going to talk about several kinds of Growth Hacking strategies, and we’ll give you 5 useful advices to adapt them into your mobile game marketing strategy.

There are many examples (find here 20 awesome cases) of how growth hacks have helped very well-known Companies to get successful results on the market, Facebook, Quora, Uber and Twitter being the most outstanding ones to keep in mind and to replicate.

But, what does it mean having a growth hacking strategy?

Simply stated, it means to input more and output a lot more. Growth hacking is about finding those little hacks that make a huge difference in reaching your Company’s goals.

“Eat like a bird and pooh like an elephant”, Guy Kawasaki (former Apple employee)

Eat like a bird

There are different kinds of strategies that could be implemented, according to the business nature and the given objectives:

  1. Integration Hacks: Facebook Connect has allowed many services to grow their audiences. By allowing its users to post the tracks that they’re listening to on Facebook, Spotify has grown to be the big player that it is today in the streaming music sector. King, by creating social games where people could ask for and give lives to friends, leveraged one of the 6 rules of persuasion, consensus. It allowed people to discover that their friends were playing and their location on the map, which got them more involved in the game.
  2. Community Hacks: getting to know the precise target you’re referring to, allows your strategy to be very focused. For example, if you’ve to promote an innovative service, you know you’d better be looking for early adopters and trying to engage them during contextual occasions that refer to other innovative services, engaging already established user-base that you know could be interested in your own service.
  3. Invitation hacks: exploiting your existing user base (if you have one) to invite new users to your platform is always one of the best hacks. Examples of the success of this strategy are from Dropbox, that grew through the mantra: “Invite for storage”. Existing users were rewarded with additional storage space as long as they invited new users to join the platform. In mobile gaming, all incent sharing tools can get you incredible results, because users are incentivized to invite friends to get something they care about in the game, while spreading the word about the game among all their contacts. Our Cookie Clickers is the perfect example of this!
  4. Embed Hacks: YouTube became the largest video platform because they allowed 3rd party websites to embed their video player onto their own site, while YouTube’s competitors failed because they wanted not to lose all the traffic onto their own webpage. Same thing for Twitter: an embedded Tweet brings the best content created on Twitter directly into your article or website, ready to be retweeted or quoted.
  5. Engineering Hacks: develop software that will automatically develop growth, like bots. Paypal developed a bot that automatically made transactions on Ebay to become the most popular payment method on the site. Being the most popular, it made people believe that Paypal was also the best and most trusted, making it the no. 1 payment method on Ebay.

Talking about applying these strategies to games, we have to get very creative and to use available tools in a different way to get better results, because competition has become really aggressive, and it is close to impossible to launch a mobile game without a proper marketing budget.

The Growth Hacking tools we’ve get used to during past years (FreeAppADay, AppGratis etc.) are not working as well as in the past, and probably the growth hacks that are working today will not be effective within a few months. The advice is simple: always keep your ear to the ground and your eye on analytics, because the market is constantly changing as well as human preferences and consumption behavior are. The targets we aim for are constantly moving too, thus we have to continuously check the analytics to understand what has been hiding behind these numbers.

5 good advices for your mobile marketing strategy are:

  1. Entering emerging markets: localize your game in less competitive countries, where it’s easier to get visibility in games’ categories, and less downloads are necessary to reach high positions in the App Stores leaderboards. It could be a great way to start conquering the market and collecting user information and gameplay data to optimize your future campaigns.
  2. Social hooks: all Social touch points into your game are fundamental tools to give impulse to WOM (word of mouse/mouth) between users and to let them share the game in exchange for some kind of benefit. You’ll get two results, increased user engagement and higher LTV (Life Time Value) because users are encouraged to play with (or against) their friends.
  3. Use Deep and Differed Deep Linking: thanks to deep linking you could drive users right deep inside your app and target them better. Then, recognizing them and treating existing users separately will help you to better communicate with them and improve their engagement.
  4. Using promoted in-app purchases as boosters: everybody likes promotion and discounted prices! The same is for discounted in-app purchases in-game. Making regular promotion or special one linked to a special event or period (like Christmas bundle for example) could lead to crazy increase in revenues for IAP (and also a strange kind of income, like this campaign to buy “Nothing for Something” during last Black Friday).
  5. Influencer marketing (ATTENTION: “big” budget required): not really a growth hack due to its cost, but still the perfect way to reach the right target. It is implemented by video contents made by YouTubers who already have an important user base to refer to. Services like Gameinfluencer.com could help you scale the charts by asking many different YouTubers to review your game and to publish the video to their audiences. The problem is that such a strategy is costly but they guarantee a certain minimum number of views.

In the next article we’ll talk about how to set a process to conduct growth strategies in a very analytical and practical way, with the aim to get the maximum result from insights and tests.

We’ll look at data and real case studies from our launches and we’ll reveal some insights about secret tools.

Thank you!

New mobile game rumors: we’re developing a completely new racing game!

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One of the tracks in the Country environment

There are some new mobile games coming soon on your devices! The one we’re talking about today is a completely new racing game. We interviewed the CBO of redBit games, Gabriele Achler, who will tell us more in depth about the game development and new features.

We are always eager to find out some sneak peeks of the latest news from the redBit games World. It’s exciting to get some updates on what’s concocting, isn’t it? 😉

Indeed, many new projects are in progress, some of them being really vast. The work is hectic and relentless, but also fun, of course!
This is the case of the game we’re going to talk to you about. Not much can be said though, we can only unveil that this is a casual racing game, with unique and innovative features.

To get more details about it, we asked the Project Manager and CBO of redBit games, Gabriele Achler, to answer some questions and to give us a preview of how the game will be structured.

What gameplay characteristics were the ones that convinced you to start developing this new kind of racing game?

After the adventure of Qbeat, our first 3D musical game, we did experience the power of 3D and its potentiality. We wanted to take the ability of developers to the next level, trying ourselves in the development of a casual game with innovative characteristics, both in terms of graphics, thanks to the use of polygonal art, and in terms of gameplay, thanks to the introduction of multiplayer feature with online challenges. This is an absolute change to a casual racing game. We were motivated by the desire to “raise the quality bar” of our mobile games, throwing ourselves into a completely new development adventure.

Teaser Screenshot during a race

During a race

Can you unveil to us how the game is structured?

In the first release there will be 30 playable tracks (they will become 40 at least with first update) for 4 different campaigns, characterized by spectacular graphics, and 3 game modes: single-player mode, head to head mode (with challenges) and multiplayer mode (with tournaments).

When do you think it will be released?

We are working hard to finish the development by the end of April. Onwards, there will be about one month for testing and debugging, then a soft-launch in few countries. The game will be available worldwide on both iOS and Android App Stores. For the exact release date, stay tuned! It’d be soon (fingers crossed). Indeed, we’re about to make a call to an Open Beta: so you could participate to be among the first playing the game!

Lately, many of the Top Ranked mobile games’ genre was “car racing”, all presenting unique and innovative features. What distinguishes your game from the others?

The gameplay of our product is very innovative, for two principal reasons: the first is that the game mode is one simple tap, which is very easy and makes it suitable and accessible to a very broad audience; the second is that it extensively uses 3D, not very common genre in this kind of games, and that it’s got a fresh look and pretty realistic graphics, thanks to the technique of polygons able to create suggestive and visually striking landscapes.

What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome during the development of the game?

The main challenge was the need to reduce the size of the graphic assets package (both 2D and 3D), to limit overall weight and allow optimal performance on different devices (even older ones). The other important challenge was game design, in finding the optimal balance between all elements, in particular trying to ensure that the UI (User Interface) was as immediate and understandable as possible to all potential users.

What compromises you had to accept to make development more accessible to the team?

As mentioned earlier, certainly the reduction of 3D graphic assets of campaigns, both to decrease development time and to focus on a smaller number of processes, to assure perfection. We also decided to give up some features such as chat and achievements, at least for this first release. Finally, we decided to give up the management of tailored-with-action sound effects, but we can assure that overall sound quality hasn’t been marred in any way. Indeed, the game’s soundtrack is one of game strengths.

If you had to describe the game with three adjectives, what would you use?

Minimal, immediate and a funny challenge!

What can we expect from this new adventure?

We have really high expectations on this game, and we believe that users will love its detailed graphics, the immediate but still challenging gameplay, and the addictive game mode, not failing to attend all challenges and tournaments. We can leave with a promise: if we receive great reviews from our users (i.e., YOU!), that will demonstrate that the game is well received and appreciated, as we believe it will, we will be open to feedback and new suggestions coming directly from the players, and willing to add new features to the game according to them. We want to make it more and more beautiful and intriguing for and with you!

Thank you and good luck with development!

Thank you and run to the fun!

Mobile First Strategy to win the Mobile Moments

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Mobile First is the strategy that allows Companies to win the digital challenge and to master Mobile Moments.

This article originally appeared in Italian on MD – Marketing Digitale Blog.

In our previous article on digital Companies we had discussed how mobile could be the strategy that allows Companies to win the digital challenge in an increasingly interconnected market. Let’s see now why Mobile First is the way to do it.

(Via: ellaecreative.com)

(Via: ellaecreative.com)

We saw that mobile is the unifying element of two main digital transformation factors, which are the digital customer experience, allowing to speed up all steps along the funnel, and the operational efficiency by streamlining the structure to get huge cost benefits.

This mobile maturity goes hand in hand with the digital one, requiring the same organizational changes to ensure complete focus on a single direction.

The mobile, as internet, is a radical revolution, and it can change not only the Company structure but also strategy: from business model to pricing, from distribution to customer service including the entire infrastructure. To get ready for this transformation, it is therefore necessary to revise the analytical metrics, organizational models, priorities and resources needed.

You have to think and act differently to win in mobile moments.

Higher expectations from consumers entail a greater responsibility: Companies have to increase efforts to ensure these expectations are met, meaning that they have to work harder, to spend more money and to study new ways to earn users trust and also increase their earnings.

The present moment is very rich in opportunities, but it’s experiencing a deep crisis because Companies are not yet fully able to exploit them. From the moment the first iPhone made its appearance on the market everything has changed, and current impression is that Companies are neither able to anticipate the times nor to keep pace with new digital needs.

The risk is to fail, as those Companies that, having underestimated the power of the internet, have been forced to close because of their invisibility on the market.

To exploit all opportunities, mobile must become an integral part of the corporate DNA, because it offers something unique and essential: the opportunity to build a real-time, interactive relationship with the user. And, unfortunately, they are still too many companies that are not taking advantage of this opportunity as they should.

Most often used approach is “we do our best“, which means to adapt their existing web strategies to mobile, obtaining much lower results if not opposite to those desired, such as little user involvement, early churn in use of the service and less earned money. The worst thing is that many resources are spent on mobile channels to acquire new users, but no strategy is set to ensure that these users will find satisfaction during their experiences.

In order to implement a Mobile First Strategy, first of all we have to act on Governance to optimize resources, to promote the creation of a diffused mobile culture and to implement best practices.

What really matters is not continuing to see mobile as a mere distribution channel, but rather as a real new business, with dedicated structures and metrics. The aim must be to revolutionize not only the Company itself, but also the User Experience and therefore the way users interact with the Company and its products/services.

To do this, a Company should:

  • Melt small mobile teams within the organization, in order to make their functional capacity grow and enable them to facilitate mobile strategic features within the Company;
  • Spread Mobile culture within the whole organization, to make clear how important it is not only to the User Experience but also internally, discussing success stories and communicating the results achieved so far, and promoting new ideas and opening discussions;
  • Integrate digital teams with non-digital ones. User Experience is given both on-line and off-line. By involving non-digital teams, all new opportunities and lifestyle changes that mobile leads may be better understood, so that a complete view will be possible (an example is how technology is radically changing our travel experiences in and out of airports);
  • Ensure that Mobile Units have total control over their functionalities. Unless Core business itself is not already digital, meaning tightly connected to mobile (for example as internet banking), it must be ensured that the mobile experience is entirely decided by the responsible Mobile Unit. It has to find the new features and to study new future updates, without any interference from the digital team. Mobile experience is not a small version of digital experience, and the Mobile Unit has to ensure that all of its unique features and capabilities are best expressed, to let it bring differential value compared to on-line (a good example is Health & Wellness market, deeply exploiting new possibilities from wearables and collecting data to track user behavior and to provide specific services and solutions to different needs).

The analysis conducted by Forrester Research Inc. (Source: “Own Mobile to Own your Customers”, Forrester Research Report, 2015) suggests creating an operating model made by four parties. Each party will have a say over the leadership, governance or executive action between different Mobile tasks. The details vary according to the type of industry, geography and Company size.

Multiple Team IDEA to enhance Mobile Development

Multiple IDEA Teams to enhance Mobile Development (Source: Forrester Research Report, 2015)

You should:

  • Create a steering cross-functional cabinet committee, with representatives of key geographies, products and functional groups. Only 24% of Companies surveyed have a mobile steering committee;
  • Create a mobile center of excellence. This center will serve as a resource for the whole organization, teaching how to use mobile to improve the digital part of the User Experience and business results consequently. Only 25% of Companies already have it;
  • Create IDEA teams. IDEA is an acronym created by Forrester Research Inc. to guide enterprises in their quest to win, serve, and retain customers in their mobile moments. They are teams made of 4 to 10 professionals, representing development, product management, and project management functions, including non-digital corporate staff. To date, 40% of the mobile business have Agile teams, but not IDEA teams with managerial and technical personnel working together;
  • Dedicate IT resources to support marketing initiatives. Too often the lack of technical resources dedicated to continuous analysis improvement and marketing control, condemns valuable initiatives to failure.

Smart leaders know that constantly experimenting and perfecting approaches to collaboration is the only way to keep teams energized and productive.

In the next article we will understand what benefits Mobile First strategy gives to the entire organization and which KPIs are to take into account to measure its actual effectiveness.

How is your own world changing with new mobile features? What is the most radical change your mobile device (phone, tablet or smart-watch) allowed you to experience? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

Thank you!

Digital Companies OK, but Mobile is better!

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Why should Digital Companies should consider Mobile as the strategy to succeed in the market? Let’s discover why Mobile possibilities are endless!

This post originally appeared in Italian on MD – Marketing Digitale Blog.

Mobile and Digital Companies

To demonstrate why digital Companies should invest in Mobile, we don’t need to look at statistics or at the most recent studies on Mobile Apps usage. Indeed, we have it proved everyday: just think about how Mobile devices have changed your lifestyle!

During our most intimate moments (those spent lazing under fluffy covers, relaxing on the sofa during a pizza and TV night, or soaked into a hot bath), we believe we are alone. But are we? Actually, not really.

It is always with us, and it is always connected for sure. It’s our mobile phone.

Forrester Research Inc. has studied this phenomenon (Source: “Own Mobile to Own your Customers”, Forrester Research Report, 2015) and has found out that there are more than 100 times in a day when we take it, switch it on, use it to give a relief to our sense of alienation. During these hundred times a day, our attention is absorbed by a 5 inches’ screen (at least) for even a very short time.

Moments that Forrester has called “mobile moments“.

To win the digital challenge, Companies will have to try their best to trap, fill, engage and retain engaged users during their mobile moments.

This is a tough challenge though. Mobile has also changed consumer expectations: everything has to be available at the moment they want it and in the place where they are. If not, it simply doesn’t exist.

The purchase funnel of a product continues to grow, increasing number of steps, and then the possibility that a user never comes to conversion. An attitude that could be considered hysterical, not linear, causing a fragmented and confused decision process.

However, if it’s well governed by the Company, each step becomes a major possibility of attraction and engagement. Indeed, Mobile is the most suitable instrument to guide them through the steps of their decision process.

Company’s success is increasingly linked to its ability to provide great Mobile experiences, for both users and organization members.

This will be possible if it:

  • Provides access to information and services anywhere and anytime
  • Encourages customers and employees to actively interact with Mobile
  • Makes the user experience special: ensuring a pleasant journey will improve its brand image, bringing faster to brand loyalty and awareness.

Mobile has got them all, being able to deliver unprecedented advantages thanks to its immediacy, simplicity and relevance to users. No need to go Mobile from the very first step, it can affect just one part of customer’s journey towards conversion (for example, by sending a notification, or by giving the possibility to use the device as a ticket or as a method of payment itself).

Mobile possibilities are endless, and it can destroy the business as we have known it ‘till today, radically changing business models, making new features possible and reducing certain costs incidence.

The most important thing is to become completely aware of it, to be able to govern the change and not to be left behind from competitors.

To sum up, the World is becoming more and more digital and Companies need to keep pace.

Mobile is the fundamental element a digital business has to govern to become successful. It can do it by driving two main drivers: the user digital experience and the digital operative excellence.

As a matter of fact, it can:

  • Improve and speed up user experience, making known and easily reachable the product/service, creating a real value added funnel, while helping to better define customer value;
  • Allow optimization: while connecting employees and users it also improves the efficient use of resources, ensuring at the same time that the structure is simplified and the processes are more effectively executed.

Of course, easy to be said but much harder to be done. In spite of more than 60% of Marketing Managers involved in the study are favorable to the Mobile revolution, there’re many difficulties such as the need of both a radical cultural change within the organization and dedicated funds. Also, it’s highly needed a close cooperation with IT department, often more inclined to simply run things rather than trying to find new ways to support innovation.

And, more importantly, making an App is a real project, rather than a simple product, therefore it should be consistently followed, with frequent updates and continuous alignment between feedbacks and changes to be done. All these actions of course involve a strong effort and the Company’s will to make a significant investment.

Companies should look at Mobile not as a channel, but as a real business, through which they can successfully face new digital market challenges. Managers should start to think about Mobile as an advertising medium that can improve customer satisfaction and increase engagement, and not just as a User Acquisition tool (this last approach is clearly the most pursued given main objectives of current Mobile strategies, like increasing brand awareness (29%), acquiring new customers (23%) and appearing more innovative (24%)).

In the next article we will see what a Company has to do to begin implementing those changes that will lead towards full digitization and exploitation of the mobile opportunities, and why a Mobile First Strategy could be the correct way to obtain it.

What about you? Are you operating in a still poorly digitalized market or in a not very technological context? What do you think of digital world? We would be happy if you’ll share your opinion in the comments.

Thank you!