5 Growth Hacking Strategies for your App or Mobile Game

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  • April 29, 2016
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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!