Key Social Media Monetization Tactics for Mobile-First Gaming Brands

By  | May 29, 2019 04:18 (edited)

When you think of a typical gamer, the mind is quick to paint a mental picture of a young male. However, that is not the case at all in this growing industry that topped 43.8 billion in 2018. There is a huge audience – and demand – for casual mobile games that span across demographics. For example, 65 percent of women in the 10-65 age range report they play mobile games and 20 percent of female gamers discover new games on social media.

Casual gamers aren’t particularly dedicated to specific genres or games; most tend to play for free and the gaming sessions are short, yet addictive, and they have only a few in-app purchase options. Their interaction with games tend to occur while passing time while commuting or taking a little break from work.

Casual gaming is also growing rapidly at 3.5 times its market share, so the competition for winning players over is rife. But how do these games make money? It all comes down to brands selling in-game ads to other advertisers.

Social Media Monetization Makes a Bet for Gaming

Gaming advertisers are known to be technologically savvy and they invest millions in user acquisition and retention. Social platforms like Facebook and Instagram have been quick to hop on the gaming wave to develop bespoke ad formats fit for attracting casual gamers. Below, we have compiled some of the latest tactics and innovations to attract and retain users on paid social.

The Rise of Interactive Ads

Facebook recently introduced Playable ads that allow users to try a game before they download it. This mobile ad format opens into a full-screen game view where brands can recreate key game functionalities for the user to experience without leaving their feed. When designed correctly, Playable ads can be a great source of quality leads.

There are a few considerations advertisers should take into account with this ad format and adhering to the best practices can drive a clear uptick in performance:

  • Short loading times are a must so that the user doesn’t become frustrated and scroll along
  • Include a clear Call-to-Action from start to finish to encourage conversions throughout the experience
  • Guide players at first and then let them explore; visual cues such as arrows and hands guide the user on how to navigate the win
  • Design for the win: let the user experience success in the ad for a positive reward
  • Interactions over time: as this isn’t a video format, focus on the number of in-ad interactions over the amount of time it takes to complete the sample game
  • Give a sample: don’t recreate the game in its entirety but, rather, offer a taste of what’s to come if you download the game

Creative Testing for Better Performance with Social Media Monetization

In 2019, one of the performance marketing trends constantly gaining popularity is creative testing and running more scientifically sound A/B tests to determine what really moves the needle. On social media, in particular, an ad becomes old news fast and marketers need to cycle in new creative to fight ad fatigue. However, updating campaigns constantly makes it tough to understand causality: between targeting, new creative variations, and factors like seasonality and changes to attribution models, how do you really know what pushed the lever?

For a sound testing plan, don’t rush to test too many variables at once. For insights that really matter, it is important to lay out a structured framework, a testing calendar with a clear cadence, and a plan of elements to test.

A good general rule is to only test one variable at a time.

Another faux-pas to avoid is not to test new creative against your best-performer within the same audience. This approach can drive a false negative if the new variation fails to perform against the older one. It is likely that the audience is already familiar with your advertising and less susceptible to your marketing messages.

What should you do, instead?

You could try running this creative test by targeting broad audiences which are people who, based on their behavior, could be interested in your game.

Finally, once you’ve found your winning combination, you can then create a campaign conversion lookalike audience that finds people similar to the converted gamers. That way, you can expect the creative to do well with the new audience, too, and, ultimately, lead to greater monetization.

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