The New Acronym for All Game Developers: What You Should Know About RTPs?

May 12 · Chartboost · 4 Min read
When your game receives quality users from an unconnected app, don’t just shrug your shoulders. Understand how they got to your game and capitalize on their reasoning for choosing it. Our VP of Product Marketing has more.
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Oh hello again gentle readers (yes I watch Bridgerton it’s a guilty pleasure and I’ve made my peace with it). 

About a month ago while I was trashing app store categories, I started talking about user motivations. No one wakes up one morning and thinks “Oh, I know what I’m going to do today, I’m going to download this app where I balance a snowboard across a giant bald head and avoid it falling off.” Rather, they have some inner need, want, or goal, that they may not even be able to articulate but that they are looking to fulfill through this game play.

Storemaven’s Head of Creative Intelligence, Daphna, calls these “RTPs” – Reasons to Play. She has this wild theory that if you tap into a user’s RTP, they’ll play your game… even if they’re playing in a different category. For each category of game, there is a core set of RTPs, and lo and behold, there is a finite list of RTPs, which means games that fall into different categories will, in fact, have overlapping RTPs.  

Now let’s flashback to my previous post (Oh, did you not read it? Awkward. I’ll summarize:)), More and more developers are seeing this phenomenon where they get quality users not from direct competitors but rather from apps of a completely different genre. If Daphna is to be trusted (and she is, the woman is an oracle), then the reason these seemingly unconnected apps of a certain genre are goldmines is because they share RTPs.

Let’s take this to example land:

  • One RTP driving users to the games section: Adrenaline Rush. Same way some people feel the need to jump out of airborne planes (psychopaths, all of you), some people look to games for that sweet release of energy.
  • Adrenaline Rush is a core RTP for Battle Royale apps like PUBG and Fortnite. There’s nothing like combat to get the heart rate up of course. But Adrenaline Rush is also a core RTP for Poker apps (my style rush, for the record.)
  • Meet Peleg: a gamer and resident Adrenaline Junkie.
  • Peleg wakes up Sunday morning looking for a fix that doesn’t require putting on pants.
  • He opens up his oft-played app Apex Legends… fun as always but not quite hitting the spot. An ad for a poker app pops up. Peleg is intrigued. Peleg could go for some high-stakes poker. Peleg downloads. Peleg plays…. and plays. Peleg finds the competition thrilling. 

Now, the strength of RTPs goes beyond just figuring out where you should be hunting for prospective users (which is massively impactful in and of itself) – it guides the creatives and the messaging that you use to capture users. If you’re a poker app aiming at capturing the Pelegs of the world, your ad might look for the tenser and anticipate-y moments of a good poker match:


Whereas if you’re looking to tap into another Poker RTP- Competitiveness- you might go with something along the lines of:

Or something like:

Wait, I have another:

And now that you’re nailing your top-of-the-funnel performance metrics with on-point creatives and targeting, bring your brilliancy further down the funnel. If you understand why your users are coming to play, you can customize onboarding flows, create relevant In-App Events, and even analyze which RTPs correlate with higher revenue. You can even use this to inform future game development to focus on genres with complementary RTPs to your existing titles. And THEN move on ahead to world domination!

So take a look at referrers who are bringing you powerful users. What genres outside your own seem to hold a draw? (If you’re not sure how to do this, hit up a Maven, we’ll guide your way). What is the common RTP? Create a message to hit that, measure the results. Roll around in the piles of cash you eventually amass by your brilliant marketing. Buy yourself a giant smart TV and watch some Bridgerton…aha! We’ve come full circle.