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How Hypercasual Publishers Can Start Exploring IAP Monetization | Pocket Gamer.biz

Dr. Matina Thomaidou is Director of Customer Success at Wappier, the intelligent revenue management platform for apps and brands.

Hypercasual games have all the players in the world – but a fraction of the IAP revenue of similar titles.

While the category generated nearly half of all mobile game downloads in 2019, it earned just 1% of the IAP revenue generated from casual games.

Why? The common wisdom is that hypercasual players haven’t invested enough in the straightforward experience of these games to spend real money on them.

Apple’s privacy policy has compromised the accuracy of ad targeting at the user level, thus raising doubts about the profitability of in-app advertising as a standalone source of income.

Whether this will prove to be true remains to be seen, but one surefire way to mitigate risk is to diversify monetization strategies to include in-app purchases.

Find your “third builder”

Hyper-casual or otherwise, if you’re looking for inspiration for the IAP monetization strategy, you could do worse than studying Supercell’s Clash of Clans, the gameplay of which is masterfully designed to promote IAP.

To ensure that players get the full experience, the game begins by filling their wallets with in-game currency.

Then, when the player is in the middle of their honeymoon phase, they come to a fork in the road where they will be given the option to invest in a dividend stock that will speed engagement or continue at a relative disadvantage.

It is an incentive, known colloquially as a “third builder”, that pulls the needle in to bring immense long-term value to players and increase revenue.

Find that golden route in your gameplay and you’ve found your way to IAP revenue too.

Matina Thomadou

What’s the moral of the story? Find the “third builder” in your Hypercasual game, a moment at the beginning of the experience when the players’ excitement peaks – and with it their willingness to invest in a long-term relationship with your game.

Hypercasual players tend to churn faster than others, so you will likely need to speed up the timing of the offer, but the gist of the strategy remains.

Find that golden route in your gameplay and you’ve found your way to IAP revenue too.

Think beyond the hypercasual box

As Marvel continues to expand its narrative web, Facebook invests in the Metaverse, and Roblox cashes in, mobile game publishers should consider the myriad ways connected universes can drive revenue – especially IAP revenue.

Whether through direct integration or a cross-game loyalty program, Hypercasual games linked to other titles within the publisher’s portfolio are far more likely to encourage players to participate in in-game economies.

Blizzard arguably pioneered this approach, selling packs that unlock rewards for multiple games. For example, they allow players to buy a skin for their World of Warcraft character and receive an item that they can use in Heroes of the Storm.

For Hypercasual games, publishers could increase IAP appetites by allowing players to purchase exclusive items for other games, use currency earned in other titles, and more. Whatever the mechanism, the principle is the same: IAPs make more sense when players are investing in a connected world rather than just an isolated experience.

Update your IAP advertising strategies

Amazon has taught the business world many lessons, but one of the most important has been the power of relevance and visibility to drive consumer behavior.

While traditional retailers have relied on nationwide advertising to inspire consumers to browse their shelves, the online store took a different route. Amazon offers its customers personalized product recommendations – exactly when they are most likely to take action.

If hypercasual publishers pull through IAP-driven monetization, they can’t afford to bury their wares in the IAP store.

Instead, they need to take their IAP advertising strategies seriously. This means delivering dynamic offers that hit players where and when they are most likely to buy.

If you think like Amazon you will take your IAP game to a whole new level.

Matina Thomadou

Are you running out of supplies? Throw them in the game currency at a discounted price. Do they tend to buy the same few items separately? Show them a value pack of all of their favorite items at wholesale prices. Are you from outside of the US? Consider pricing the packages to suit the local economy.

In other words, if you think like Amazon, you will take your IAP game to a whole new level.

The rise of “Hybridcasual”

The past few years have been turbulent, but this instability has a lesson: happiness favors the agile.

Hypercasual publishers can no longer afford to keep all the eggs in the cart for monetizing ads.

Even if you’ve weathered this storm, the next big change in technology policy could prove to be tougher. So consider optimizing for everything by taking a new, diversified approach.

The truth is, a lot of innovative publishers already are. They are called “hybrid casual” and could be the future of the genre.

Dr. Matina Thomaidou is Director of Customer Success at wappier and Insights Thought Leader, who leads a team that enables the success of mobile game and app clients through the power of AI.

Before wappier he worked at Facebook Ireland (Ads, Data Science, Gaming), IBM Ireland as data science leader for Europe, Accenture Greece, Microsoft Norway and Ecole Polytechnique in France, where he led data science and business insights projects. Leader of Lean in Greece: Women in Tech Global Circle.


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