Here is your casual games acquisition guide! Casual games saw a 56% increase in downloads in 2022 when compared to 2021, and without a strong user acquisition strategy, even the most exceptional ones may go unnoticed in the sea of mobile games. This blog post explores the importance of user acquisition in casual games, explains the characteristics of casual game players, and delves into various proven strategies to acquire and retain users.
Why is User Acquisition so Crucial in Casual Games?
User acquisition refers to the process of acquiring new players or users for a game or application. In the context of casual games, it involves attracting and converting potential players into active users. The growth of a casual game may stagnate without a steady inflow of new players, hindering its potential for success. When we look at mobile gaming genres with the largest percentage of advertisers, we see that casual games are at the top of the list with 27.8%. (Source: SocialPeta)
Users acquisition specialists around the world closely monitor metrics such as ROAS, LTV, and retention rates. Increasing a game’s user base and revenue significantly depends on user acquisition. The greater the player base, the greater the potential for in-app purchases and advertising revenue, as well as the likelihood of word-of-mouth referrals and organic growth.
What are casual game players like?
It’s crucial to understand casual game players’ demographics, preferences, and behavior before diving into user acquisition strategies. In general, casual games are enjoyed by a broad audience, spanning a wide range of ages and genders. Casual games are an ideal choice for these players who seek quick and accessible entertainment during their leisure time.
Like its name, this mobile gaming vertical is popular among casual gamers as it requires little concentration, giving them an opportunity to escape boredom from everyday life or play while on office break, commuting or watching TV. Since the vertical is a broad one, it can include a simple puzzle or a wording game as well as a strategy game. This gives players a chance to choose between different games based on their mood.
The data indicates that women spend more time playing casual games than men with an average of 22 minutes per day (an average male casual gamer spends 19 minutes). When it comes to age, 40s and over 50s take the lead with over 22 minutes per day. As far as regions, Africa has the longest average time with 26 minutes per day. (Source: Adjoe)
User Behavior and Preferences
Game developers must understand casual game players’ behavior and preferences in order to successfully acquire them. In order to identify pain points and areas for improvement, data on playing patterns, session lengths, and favorite game features can be analyzed. For example, you can monitor the specific levels and moments in the game that players tend to quit and try to strike a balance between the levels to ensure challenging levels won’t drive future players away from the game.
Another example would be, if you are experiencing low D1 retention, and see that the players quit playing during onboarding, this might indicate that the game’s onboarding process might be complicated or not enough.
The gaming experience can be enhanced by catering to user preferences, ultimately increasing user retention. Casual games don’t require deep concentration and a large investment of time, so app performance metrics such as loading time and crush time can have a significant impact on user experience.
Casual Games User Acquisition Channels
It is possible to categorize UA channels into organic and paid channels:
1. SEO and ASO (App Store Optimization)
Organic search visibility can be significantly improved by optimizing a game’s website and app store listing with relevant keywords and appealing descriptions. The goal of App Store Optimization (ASO) is to increase the chances of potential players discovering and downloading the game in app store search results. Your app title, app description, screenshots and management of user reviews are either get you a high rank or push you down on the lists.
2. Social Media
The use of social media platforms is one of the most powerful organic methods of attracting casual game players. Players can be attracted and retained by engaging content, such as gameplay videos, contests, and community interactions. A game’s social media presence can be boosted by leveraging influencers and gaming communities.
3. Word-of-Mouth and Referrals
There is still a great deal of power in word-of-mouth in the gaming industry. It is possible for satisfied players to become brand ambassadors, promoting the game to their friends and families. You can further boost organic user acquisition by implementing referral programs or incentivizing sharing.
1. Paid Advertising
Developers can target specific user segments with precision using paid advertising. A variety of targeting options are available on platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads in order to reach potential players based on their demographics, interests, and behaviors. To entice users to click and install the game, compelling ad creatives are crucial.
Read how to create creatives that make people click!
2. Influencer Marketing
A partnership with influential gamers and content creators can help bring the game to a broad and engaged audience. User acquisition can be greatly enhanced by influencer partnerships since players often trust the recommendations of influencers.
3. Reward-based UA
Play-2-Earn and Rewarded Engagement model work by offering rewards to players in turn for their time and engagement. When your game is listed on the offerwalls, users install your game and do certain tasks within the game that ultimately boost user engagement, ad revenue and IAPs.
How to Create Effective User Acquisition?
And here are the answers.
Creating a Compelling Game Proposition
A successful user acquisition strategy starts with the game itself. An engaging game with intuitive mechanics, visually appealing graphics, and engaging gameplay will naturally attract players. It is possible to lay the foundation for organic growth by focusing on the player’s experience.
Optimizing Your App Store Presence
The app store accounts for a significant portion of user acquisition. The app store listing can be optimized through ASO, appealing screenshots, and positive user reviews to increase visibility and credibility.
Designing Effective Advertising Campaigns
A well-planned and executed paid advertising campaign will yield the best results. Test different ad creative options and targeting options to determine the most effective combination. The performance of each campaign should also be tracked to allocate resources where they are most effective and yield ROAS+ results. Data analytics is your best friend when it comes to advertising campaigns. You can improve your games and acquisition strategies by analyzing user data continuously and discovering trends, pain points, and trends.
Influencer Partnerships and Collaboration
Choosing influencers whose audiences align with the game’s target demographic is crucial when partnering with them. Developers can ensure that the promotions feel genuine and engaging to influencers’ audiences by allowing them creative freedom.
Retention: The Other Side of User Acquisition
Casual games require users to be acquired in order to expand their player base, but they must also retain their player base to maintain their success. In addition to nurturing loyalty and encouraging them to become valuable advocates for your game, retaining existing users is often more cost-effective than acquiring new ones.
Additionally, high retention rates contribute to higher revenue generation. In-app purchases are more likely to be made by loyal players, leading to a steady flow of income for game developers. Retaining players also increases ad revenues and engagement metrics since they spend more time in the game.
Strategies for Retaining and Engaging Users
1. User Segmentation in Targeting: Segmenting users involves dividing them into specific groups according to their age, interests, playing habits, and in-game behavior. You can divide your users into paying users and engaged users. The goal is to increase revenue from existing paying users while converting non-paying users into buyers. Maintain regular buying cycles for them by providing them with interesting offers and ensuring they get value for their money. Users who are engaged are potentially paying customers, since the more engaged they are, the greater the chance that they will make a purchase. Identify what they are most interested in and provide more of it.
2. Regular Content Updates: It is important to keep players interested by adding new features, challenges, and levels regularly to the game. It is possible to build anticipation and excitement among players by providing a roadmap of upcoming content.
3. Social and Community Features: Incorporating features like leaderboards, multiplayer modes, and Discord channels allows players to interact with one another, which fosters a sense of belonging and healthy competition. It is more likely that players will stay engaged in a game if they can connect with other players who share the same interests and the developers.
4. Customer Support and Feedback: In order to address issues promptly, developers should offer excellent customer support and actively seek feedback from players. The key to building trust and loyalty is to engage players and show them that their opinions matter.
5. Push Notifications and Email Marketing: Email marketing and push notifications are powerful tools for retaining users. Players can be reminded about the game and enticed to return by push notifications, which allow developers to send timely and personalized messages directly to their devices. It is important to take care not to spam and to deliver notifications that are relevant to the recipient.
Marketing via email is just as effective, especially when it comes to engaging dormant players. You can encourage players to rediscover the game and get involved again by crafting compelling emails that contain enticing offers, updates, and personalized messages.
Measuring User Acquisition
Tracking and analyzing specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) help developers determine user acquisition success.Some essential KPIs include:
- Cost per Acquisition (CPA): Calculates the average cost of acquiring a single user.
- Conversion Rate: Measures the percentage of users who take the desired action, such as installing the game after clicking an ad.
- Retention Rate: Indicates the percentage of users who continue to engage with the game over time.
- Lifetime Value (LTV): Estimates the revenue generated by an average user throughout their entire engagement with the game.
- ROAS (Return on ad spend): Measures the revenue generated from the ad compared to the cost of the campaign, indicating the effectiveness of the investment.