Game monetization tips are often generic and too broad to easily implement, but these six tips from Rob Weber, Co-Founder of mobile game network NativeX, can be easily implemented into your game to get the most value of any efforts to monetize your users.
Weber shared these game monetization tips in a presentation at the last U.S. Casual Connect conference, utilizing experiences and data collected from his company’s leading ad network service for mobile games.
“If you follow these principles, you should be able to double or triple the performance of your game, without changing any core game mechanics,” said Weber. “Developers are really leaving money on the table for not following these principles.”
The following game monetization tips focus on menus and events within a game where call-to-action menus are presented to the gamer asking for a purchase of an additional product or service.
1. Character Associations
The players of your games have strong associations with your game’s characters – monetize them! Players are far more likely to read a message and interact with a storefront if a game character is interacting with it. Text bubbles aren’t required – the character can hold messages up as signs or objects, or be seen lunging forward to grab the message. Conduct strong A-B testing to identify the best interactions for your game’s players.
2. Eyes & Gaze Direction
Taking character associations further, make sure any use of game characters on screen to drive purchases is maximized by having the character’s eyes point in the best direction. NativeX’s research indicates that the way that a character is viewing an ad or call-to-action has a significant impact on whether a player will interact with the message. Best practices include eyes of excitements pointed properly at the message, but A-B testing can help maximize the right distinction.
As a rule – do not just paste in already created art assets of your characters if you are using them for a call-to-action – make sure to first adjust the eyes and targeted viewing location of the character to maximize your game’s monetization.
3. Native Design
Any menu asking the player to interact within your game, whether to browse a storefront or to interact with actual gameplay, should use a consistent design throughout a game.
Too many free to play games break their design principles when gamers enter a game’s storefront or view advertisements. Consumers notice the difference and will tune out, according to analysis by NativeX.
Developers should make sure the same fonts, color palettes and art styles are applied throughout a game, ensuring that microtransaction storefronts or advertising display pop-ups offer the same visual experience as regular games.
4. Lines & Encapsulation
Any ads or call-to-action screens should be highlighted to the gamer through the user of lines and encapsulation techniques. Pulling all of the information into a large and closed box will help the gamer focus on the call-to-action, and having background visuals direct the eyes to the call-to-action will ensure the gamer notices the message. As shown in the example above, the call-to-action is encapsulated in a textured box, and vine graphics in the background weave the player’s eyes towards the message.
Lines and encapsulations can apply throughout your game’s experience, highlighting distinct components of a game’s experience, such as firmly lined arrows, swirling lines behind focal points of a game, and boxed-in game objects to interact with.
5. Movement (Animation)
A little animation for a game’s menus goes a long way, but a lot of animation goes the wrong way.
“When you’re dealing with core UX and interfaces, if you use too much animation, we’ve found that you start to see a big decrease in performance,” said Weber. “It’s alright to have a little animation, just don’t overdo it.”
When you do use animation, make sure it’s used in the screen locations where you want to attract the player’s eyes.
6. Color and Contrast
Purchasing and ad screens must have the right level of contrast between backgrounds, icons and messages. Having a stand-out color, with strong contrast, behind a “Buy” button is a required practice. Ensuring text is easily readable, and that the purchasing menu or ad is easy to view in front of the game’s own interface is critical. Weber compares the need for strong contrast and the right colors in a game to those of web browser ads on Google, Bing and Yahoo – the ads on these search pages all follow a similar set of rules around contrast and color.
The lack of color can also be used to decrease confusion to the player. Objects not yet ready for interaction by the player, or objects that should not be the current focus, can be grayed out or less colorful, ensuring the player does not see too many choices of interaction and rejects further interactions.
Game Monetization Tips Case Study
Weber initiated his discussion with a quick case study on the free to play game Dragon City. As illustrated below, Dragon City succeeds in game monetization due to a following a number of the rules above.
The full presentation, presented at Casual Connect, can be viewed below. We highly recommend it.
Read CONSULGAMER’s Monetization channel for more tips on video game monetization.