User acquisition for mobile games is getting a makeover because, well, it has too. The growth of the mobile game market is driving up the prices of traditional UA, making things very expensive for studios. According to VentureBeat, the cost of an individual user grew over 100 percent from 2014 to 2015. This expensive trend is forcing devs to think outside the box and take risks to find alternative, cost-effective UA methods.
Some mobile game studios are already finding creative ways to amplify their UA—through video influencers or on-the-ground marketing. The numbers point to cost-effective success for these studios.
Here are three effective UA tactics to consider outside of the traditional pay-for-play UA models of yore:
1. Connecting with YouTubers and video influencers
YouTubers—and influencers on other video streaming platforms like Twitch—can be a great way to acquire users for mobile games, as studio Seriously found out when promoting its puzzle game Best Fiends. Seriously was one of the first studios to try connecting with YouTubers to promote their game 2014.
For example, the company’s Treasure Hunt campaign asked 13 YouTubers to create videos explaining that they’d hidden stickers in the game for players to find. The campaign helped Seriously acquire 60,000 new users organically and increase DAUs by 40 percent. With influencers, comes UA power.
2. Capitalizing on mobile-saturated events
The English Premier League is one of the most watched soccer competitions in the world. Broadcast to over 600 million people, the Premier League sells advertising space during its games visible to viewers globally. That’s why First Touch Games, the team behind soccer stardom game Score! Hero, decided to advertise their game on ad boards surrounding the field during games.
Though it’s hard to measure their exact value, Score! Hero was advertised during some big games featuring popular teams like Arsenal, Manchester United and the league champions, Leicester City. And, with a global audience, many of whom will check their phones to use gambling apps in the U.K. and beyond during the games, featuring a mobile game during the mobile-heavy matches is a smart investment.
3. Getting in with food providers
When The Angry Birds Movie hit theaters in 2016, Angry Birds Action! (the movie tie-in game) got a boost after partnering up with a slightly unusual, but powerful, supporter: Ronald McDonald.
The game benefited significantly from branding on sheets of paper on trays at the fast food chain. Rovio, the studio behind Angry Birds, also printed “BirdCodes” on the side of Happy Meal boxes which helped players access new content.
“You open the app, zap the zapper and you get an augmented reality animation,” explains Paul Farley, CEO of Tag Games and developer of the game on Rovio’s behalf. And with McDonald’s serving over 60 million customers around the world daily, the game was able to fly up the charts.