We’ve been here now for two weeks. We’re met some really interesting startups and found some new friends along the way.
Will have much more to say. Here are just a few of our initial observations.
In talking to 7 of the largest game publishers in the world the past month, here are some common problems we have been hearing.
1) How can I create a better way to enable 1:1 communication with my players across multiple titles?
2) How can make sure my top paying players keep playing and paying?
3) How can I get more Downloads at at cheaper cost?
4) How can we create internally a cross platform, cross title marketing solution when we don’t have engineering resources, or have no buy in from our studios?
5) How do I increase user sign ups for my registration system?
6) How can I create a more fun and engaging user experience?
All of these pain points we believe relate to one common problem which is making sure LTV>CAC, which means that you need big spenders to keep spending and find new ways to get non spenders to spend.
There are several solutions, taking off our biased Gimmie hats, that companies have tried, trying or considering.
1) Build a cross title loyalty and rewards system. Surprisingly only 2 of the 7 had done this.
2) Use third party Platforms for repeated short ‘bursts’ for User Acq. Learn, optimize, iterate, repeat. Throw in offerwalls, CPI networks, ad networks, incentivization networks.
All 7 do some of this to some extent, especially on mobile. Some have their own tools to handle.
3) Email Marketing- something that the top grossing online/mobile revenue grossing publishers we found did so than those that weren’t grossing as much. Boring, dated but still a great and cheap(er) way to get users coming back and for discovery.
4) Single Title Loyalty - Island off ‘rewards system’ that are title specific. 4 of the 7 have or had something like this.
5)some other stuff that can’t be written here or would be too obvious who we’re talking about.
The Gimmie perspective:
Airlines as we talked about before, don’t consider a frequent flyer mile program as a temporary or short term bottom of the barrel marketing tool. Why is it that some large gaming companies making millions then think otherwise ?
We suspect its equal parts trepidation and equal parts lazyness. Trepidation because the games already make so much money, and they already have such strong data mining and funnels why change a good thing that’s not broken? Lazyness because even if marketing wants this (which more than half of the companies want), PMs from studios and engineers can’t be bothered focusing on a solution that is going to help the company, when their own KPIs and jobs depend on getting revenue for their Game only. Full Stop. Sounds crazy right?
In the land of instant gratification (Use this tool, get XX revenue increase now ) etc, it’s important to realize it is very difficult for any third party to think they can actually drive enough new revenue to make a difference.
We fell into some of that trap ourselves, but luckily now realize through some bumps along the way, that sometimes its good to be patient.
A Frequent Flyer mile and rewards offering to work needs to solve as many of these pain points in a way that can be tailored to each publisher.
So do we really know what large game publishers want? Not really, but we are good at asking questions:)
An amazing infographic from our friends at App Annie
Some takeaways we have observed:
First, China is huge on downloads across the board, short on revenues.
Second, 88%, a good number by Chinese standards, and interestingly enough representing the ‘sleeping dragon’ for mobile revenue that is Brazil. In addition to Google Play revenue there growing like crazy, iOS we have also seen increases.
For that market we hope to share some of our findings and upcoming projects.
Third, developers still prefer iOS and this doesn’t really show anything new to indicate otherwise.
Gimmie started out with global ambitions to be the defacto rewards platform for developers with our own universal currency. We found however there was even more demand for what we call the
"Frequent Flyer Mile Loyalty Platform’
For those interested on Frequent Flyer mile programs, our favorite airline in the US Southwest is featured in this article which gives a good introduction.
At Gimmie we see the general goals set out by Southwest as being very similar to larger game and media publishers online and on mobile:
Southwest loyalty goal:
" aims to win new customers and deepen ties to existing business travelers, who generally pay higher prices."
If you think about the 80/20 rule, Game publisher revenue sources in particular can be even more skewed where finding a way to reward your most loyal customer is vital. In addition for publishers offering free content, finding ways to get that user to pay is also always a concern. Finally, how do I acquire and ‘win new customers’? With no end in sight for rising customer acq. costs (especially on mobile), organic growth and direct 1:1 communication with potential paying customers is of the utmost importance.
For Southwest, they believe this new Rapid Rewards program is a game changer, a $700M business in fact. We would like to think that with the right tuning and with Gimmie’s expert help and experience in already having built out a rewards network of our own, we also can help make our platform a game changer for publishers that will have long lasting effects not a 1-2 month burst or limited to one type of content, webpage, app etc.
Many smaller publishers and developers still question and believe they can get paid a few thousand here by swapping out game and app promotions, using offerwalls, interactive banner ads and the like.
For a short period of time they are right. However ultimately the content gets the users back, and because they don’t have a system to effectively capture all of their users, they lose a huge opportunity to monetize them directly. The best way in our opinion to get someone to pay is to make them happy, and rewards both virtual and real are a great way to do that while giving them more reason to connect with you.
Rewards make us feel special and if properly balanced and with some fine tuning on selection, there truly can be something for everyone. The Flyer that wants to save enough for an international trip won’t be tempted to cash out immediately once they can get a free ticket from SFO to LAX. Conversely, flyers who don’t care about the future and want immediate satisfaction are likely to pull the trigger right away. Personally I’ve done both in various programs. I suspect many users would feel the same way in that they want something of actual value, and determine on their own how they want to use the hard earned ‘miles’ they got to their satisfaction.
We are very excited in this new direction and look forward to sharing more insights as set our new course.
We were planning on capturing our event but thanks to Michael from Pixile Studios
for doing the work for us !
Here’s the full recap
Finally, a segment from the event thanks to Jaymes and our friends at Citizen space !
We’re very happy to report that we have a 1 to 1 link working closely with every developer that has come in contact with us. While perhaps we are missing out in the short term by not just blasting the SDK out there for everyone, we believe in the long term that close relationships will pay off for everyone.
Just a quick snapshot of some of our partners:
We’re super excited to have a great line up of guests headlined by our friend Jason from Openfeint who will be on hand to give feedback and advice to any up and coming game developer on building a great game. In addition, Roy from our team, a fairly decent game dev in his own right ( he did lead dev on mobile ver of plants v zombies after all, so we aren’t too biased) will be on hand to also give feedback.
Because many of our partners also have asked us tips on funding resources, we have not one but two experts led by Sunil from Tandem and Alex from Intel Capital to speak on that, who can talk about getting your company funded to start and then through growth.
Attendees so far range from vary famous publishers to small indies and it should be a lot of fun. We also have several other VCs and angels who are on hand and know the space well so no matter your goals, there should be plenty of good networking chances… and we are working on some rewards as well of course (it’s what we do:)
Are you one of our partners ? then mail me david @ gimmieworld.com for a free invite code !
After an awesome week, we get to now kick back and check out Super Bowl along with Madonna’s new single Give me all your Luvin’
We wished the spelling was different, but at least she’s thinking of us !
Of course, Gimme or Gimmie songs aren’t anything new.
For instance who can forget Ciara’s ‘Gimmie Dat’
If you’re an ‘old school fan’ we have the classics
ABBA- Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimme!
and the original, Rolling Stones, Gimmie Shelter
So which Gimmie song is your favorite ?
Let’s start off by thanking the wonderful team of VSC PR ! Vijay, Alice, Caitlin and Stacy were so awesome. To any one reading this that wants to get the word out in the mobile/tech space the Gimmie team highly recommends them.
Here are some highlight quotes, complete with all to date listing of our coverage !
I think there’s some good ideas at work in Gimmie. As developers move to freemium, they absolutely need to keep users engaged or there’s no way to make money off them through ads or in-app purchases. That’s something app analytics firm Localytics reaffirmed recently in a study. And Gimmie’s approach makes sense, keeping users inside a game or app and letting them choose what they want. If done well, this can help some users stick with a game if the rewards are reachable and appealing.
-Ryan Kim, Giga OM
If you love Plants vs. Zombie, then you will scramble to join a new beta mobile app platform
-Marianne Pfeifer SF Web 2.0 Examiner
As far as Gimmie is concerned, Citron expressed his confidence in the platform – which will look to reward players for carrying out actions in-game with real world rewards - in a statement to couple its beta launch.
"The biggest part of developing a good mobile game is creating the best user experience, and so often mobile ads get in the way of this," said Citron.
Gimmie’s strength, he claimed, is not only its ability to offer a monetisation method outside of in-app ads, but one that doesn’t draw the user out of the game like other incentivistion tools.
-Keith Andrew, Pocket Gamer … writing about Jason Citron, founder of Openfeint endorsement of Gimmie
Some of my favorite purchases I’ve made have been to unlock levels or new content. A great example is from Robo Defense . It turns out that many analysts and experts are predicting that more people each year are making these purchases. A trend that no doubt started in Asia where the market is more mature, but now is everywhere.
Here are some interesting findings for developers interested.