If you build it, they will come. A classic line from a classic movie. But if you’ve ever published a mobile game to an app store, you know the line doesn’t hold up as sound business advice.
Building a game — even a great game — doesn’t guarantee anything. That’s why investing in marketing is essential to reach your target audience. And one of the most important KPIs for mobile game publishers? Conversion rate.
If you can’t convert traffic into players, you’ll never grow your customer base. And when you can’t grow your customer base, improving revenue becomes extremely difficult.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a tricky proposition especially in today’s privacy-focused environment. Fortunately, we have answers.
Here are seven tips to increase your mobile game’s conversion rate.
1. Understand your target audience
It doesn’t matter what you’re selling — mobile games, business software, ugly Christmas sweaters — you have to understand your target audience to sell effectively.
You must research your market. Who are these people? What do they like and dislike? How can you serve them better than you do right now? Look for demographic information, such as age, gender, and the physical location of your ideal customers as well as psychographic details including gaming preferences and in-app behaviors. These data points are essential.
“But Chartboost, how do I find them?” Start by assessing your game’s first-party data. How do current players interact with your game? Study your advertising metrics on Facebook and Google. And spend time with your users. Join them on forums, respond to their social media comments, or ask them for interviews.
Once you’ve collected a sufficient amount of data regarding your target audience, use it to build user personas for your mobile games business.
A user persona is a fictional character that represents a specific kind of customer. Having one (or two or three!) will make it easier to market your game because you can craft all of your marketing materials with those personas in mind. This ensures your efforts hit the mark rather than falling flat.
2. Optimize your app store listings
Once you have a better understanding of who comprises your target audience, you can craft app store pages that speak directly to them. Doing so will give players confidence that your game is the kind that they like playing. As a result, your conversion rates can reach a whole new level.
But you need to give them this confidence quickly, as most app store users decide whether they’re going to install an app or not within a few seconds. Yes, seconds. No, that’s not much time.
To make the most of it, focus on three elements:
- App icon: Generally speaking, your app icon is the first thing potential players see when they come across your game. Make sure it’s unique, matches your game’s vibe, and is easy to read. Try to avoid text and photographs if at all possible.
- Screenshot gallery: Your screenshot gallery gives potential players a taste of your game. Use it to build excitement for specific characters, levels, features, etc. Make sure most images include short textual descriptions to provide context.
- App promo video: A well-made app promo video can increase conversion rates by 40%, so you need to get this one right. Don’t worry — include authentic gameplay, hook users in the first five seconds, and show top features, and you’ll do fine.
These aren’t the only app store page elements that matter. Users will look at your game’s description and reviews, too. If they are subpar, your conversion rate will plummet.
However, the app icon, screenshot gallery, and app promo video are usually seen first, which means they have the greatest impact on conversion rate and should be optimized immediately.
It’s also worth mentioning: the Apple App Store and Google Play stores are different. You need to optimize each individually. If you don’t, you’ll likely see less-than-awesome conversion rates.
3. Choose the right ad formats
Once you’ve optimized your app store listings you can think about running ads. Before diving into the deep end, consider the kind of ad format you’d like to use to promote your game(s).
As you probably know, there are many ad formats out there. The ones available to you will depend on your advertising platform. For example, Facebook has different ad formats than Google, which has different ad formats than most ad networks. (For clarity, ad networks let you promote your game inside other mobile games your target audience plays.)
When it comes to increasing conversion rates, interactive ad formats tend to work best. These are playable ads, lead ads, carousels, and the like. Let’s take a quick look at each:
- Playable ads: As the name suggests, playable ads allow users to try new games while already engaged in the current game. Research shows that playable ads perform eight times better than interstitial ads, which is outstanding.
- Lead ads: Available on Facebook, lead ads are specifically designed to help businesses generate leads. Users can answer questions, share contact information, and more without ever leaving the Facebook platform, which increases conversions.
- Carousels: Just about every major social media network offers carousel ads. They’re considered interactive because users can swipe through a collection of photos and/or videos to learn about products and services, making them more appealing.
Every audience is different, and you should always cater to your ideal users’ preferences. But more often than not, you’ll want to choose video ad formats. Why? Because they work. According to Facebook, video ads hold attention five times longer than static ads.
Chartboost supports the most common and engaging ad formats for mobile games.
4. Craft compelling ad creatives
Once you’ve determined what kind of ad you want to run, it’s time to start designing ad creatives that grab attention and present your game in a positive light.
The key to success is compelling visuals. Your creatives need to stop your target audience in their tracks and make them think, “Woah, what’s that?” If they don’t, your potential users will focus their attention elsewhere and forget your game exists.
Now, grabbing someone’s attention and holding it aren’t the same thing. That’s why bright neon images don’t have a 100% conversion rate. Pair your visuals with engaging ad copy that sucks players in and makes them need to play your game.
5. Incorporate gameplay previews
You need to craft compelling ad creatives to promote your game, but you’re not an all-star designer. What should you do? Incorporate gameplay previews. In fact, you should incorporate gameplay previews even if you are an all-star designer. They’re that powerful.
Think about it: gameplay previews are the closest users will get to playing your game without actually installing it on their devices. As such, they’re the best way to showcase the mechanics of your game and the unique features you’ve worked so hard to build.
Create gameplay videos that illustrate the way your game works, promote popular characters and levels, and demonstrate the insane fun your target audience is in store for.
Or go a step further and use actual gameplay videos from other players, i.e. your customers. This accomplishes two things: it displays your game in an incredibly positive light and shows potential players that your game is worth playing. If it wasn’t, people wouldn’t make videos with it.
6. Re-evaluate your advertising approach
Let’s take a moment to refresh.
You’ve taken the time to understand your target audience and optimize your app store listings based on their mobile gaming preferences. You chose an interactive ad format to market your game(s) and created compelling ad creatives that featured gameplay previews.
Now you can sit back, relax, and watch the avalanche of people install your game, right? Not so fast. You need to analyze your marketing approach to evaluate if it’s working.
It’s vital that you track essential metrics like click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, retention rate, and daily active users (DAU). Doing so tells you if your marketing efforts are effective. They also tell you if you’re targeting quality players who will stick around and drive revenue.
We’ll be honest, your marketing campaigns may fall flat at first. That’s to be expected. You need to study your results and then iterate based on data. In other words, you need to run A/B tests and experiment with different aspects of your ads to optimize them. This is the only way to achieve a stellar conversion rate for your mobile game(s).
Pro tip: Only A/B test one element of your ads at a time. This ensures you get clean, usable data, which you can use to build more effective advertisements.
7. Adapt to evolving privacy regulations
As you’re undoubtedly aware, privacy regulations have turned mobile game marketing on its head. Thanks to Apple’s ATT, GDPR, and CCPA, game developers don’t have access to many of the data points they once did, which makes it difficult to increase conversion rates.
While this reality is frustrating, it’s exactly that: the reality. We recommend following all regulations because not doing so could result in serious fines as well as a sullied reputation.
Here’s the good news: you can maintain top-level conversion rates and adhere to all privacy-related legislation now and into the future. You just have to get creative.
Look for new ways to learn about your audience and test your advertising strategies. Study the data and use what you learn to optimize your approach for future campaigns. It may require more effort on your part, but it’s possible. Roll up your sleeves and get to work.
Boost your conversion rates today!
Conversion rate optimization is critical to the success of your mobile game(s). If you can’t achieve and maintain a killer conversion rate, you won’t reach your revenue goals.
Fortunately, increasing conversion rates isn’t a mystical art. If you follow the advice in this article, you will create ads that produce positive results, connect with more gamers, and eventually, earn more money from your games than ever before.
To make the advertising process as simple as possible, why not partner with Chartboost? Our advertising platform will help you acquire your ideal users with pinpoint precision, thanks to innovative machine learning models. The result? Greater return on advertising spend (ROAS).
Contact us today to supercharge your games’ earning potential.