Casual Games Promotion – What’s The Secret?
Trends in the mobile game industry aren’t the same as they once were and we can thank casual games for that. They continue to dominate the app store’s charts with more and more downloads in this genre, but what makes some succeed while others fail in the market?
What can we learn from them, and which strategies should be applied for better performance?
What exactly are casual games?
The exact definition of casual games doesn’t actually exist. It’s pretty much any game that’s doesn’t require tutorials and onboarding for new users. You could say it’s the type of game that’s instinctive to play.
That’s why they take little time to produce and have a minimalistic interface. Casual games are uniformly lightweight, so people can pick and play almost instantly. User sessions are short, which makes them suitable to play anywhere and anytime.
How it all started?
It started in 2013 when an indie developer from Vietnam released the casual game he created in only a few days. Flappy bird was born and it went viral in early 2014 taking the market by storm. Although it received a bunch of bad reviews from critics claiming it was a plagiarism and had poor graphics it was still on to charts in China and US.
An interesting phenomenon happened later on when the developer Dong Nguyen decided to remove the game from both App Store and Google Play. He made the decision despite the fact he was making $50k a day through in-game ads stating “it ruined his simple life”.
Whatever his reasons were, he showed other developers that it doesn’t take much to succeed in the industry dominated by large game studios.
Why are they so popular?
Casual games have simple game mechanics that makes them instantly playable and infinitely replayable. Having a very simple and addictive gameplay keeps hyper-casual games users coming back for more.
Another reason is that most sessions last very short even for more experienced players and in that way make users want to replay them over and over again. The length of a single session is what gave them an advantage over other game genres which normally take longer.
They’re free to play and easily accessible to all people regardless of the age, sex etc.
Promoting casual games
Casual games promotion implies surveys of your target audience like any other schemes of mobile app trading.
App Store Optimization (ASO) is a basic requirement to give your game a chance of climbing on top charts. There are some key factors you’ll have to be careful about like: App Name, Localized product page, User Ratings, Subtitles, and User reviews. The list is pretty much the same for both App Store and Google Play. You can check more about ASO here.
Cross-promotion can be applied if you have more apps. A great example in mobile games promotion is a video game publisher Ketchapp. They have a portfolio of more than 80 casual games both for Android and iOS.
They’ve grown so large in the industry they actually promote other publisher games via their own. With such volume, they can cross-promote users to a new game before they churn out.
It is a free method where you’re able to use each game for promoting others and thus turn retention into acquisition.
In a time when we’re constantly bombarded by all sorts of ads, people want something different. That’s where video ads come in handy. According to Business Insider video ads have an average clickthrough rate of 1.84%, the highest of all digital ad formats. They’re efficient and the numbers prove it.
Social Media is a generator of customers when it comes to game promotion. It is a great opportunity to spread the word about your casual game. There are several places suitable for game promotions. You need to find a place where different people from the industry share their experience and opinions.
Gaming forums and various developers groups are a good place to start. Nowadays for your game to go viral, it’s not enough just to make a good game. To have a good game, the whole world needs to know about it.
Monetization with casual games
Speaking of casual games there’s one type of monetization model that prevails. User acquisition campaigns can be optimized early on and users are monetized immediately.
In addition, players of casual games can be acquired for low CPI’s, which means developers have a great chance to climb app store charts.
However, the lifetime value of such users is low, and market acceleration is entirely a factor of virality. As most casual games publishers rely on ad-supported models, monetization and profit depend mostly on scaling.
There’s a lot of room for casual games to grow and it’ll be interesting to watch how developers will scale and adapt their businesses models in the years to come. We may even see casual games utilize both ads and in-app purchase monetization models.