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3 Essential Steps for Monetizing Your Online Game [Part 3 of 3]

By: Jeremy Coker
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In the first part of this blog series on online game monetization, we addressed the importance of starting with a solid ecommerce infrastructure of back-office capabilities, including global payment processing and fraud management. In the second blog, we covered monetization options that go into building a successful revenue strategy. In this final installment of our three-part series, we will bring it all together by getting to know your audience and when you should sell to them.

Get to know your players and when to sell

Understanding your players and the different user segments within your game empowers you to monetize smarter. When you segment players into different buyer groups, you can deploy more targeted offers and price points, which can pay huge dividends. Did you know the average age of a video game player in America is 35? Or that women ages 18 or older represent a significantly bigger portion of the game playing population (33%) than boys ages 18 or younger (15%)?1 Understanding the purchase preferences and buyer profiles within each group will give you an advantage in ecommerce marketing and merchandising. Keep in mind that your users and segments could look very different than any other game out there.

Clearly the interests and needs of a 17-year old girl in Florida are going to differ significantly from a retired business man in Germany. But consider market segmentation on an even more nuanced level — gender, age groups and niche communities within larger geographic areas. To grow your online gaming business, you need to actively market to these different user groups with the right products and items at the right time. Pay attention to how these user groups engage with your game. Understanding player engagement is key to monetization. A 2015 study conducted by SuperData research shows adding variation to a game is a top reason 40-70% of major market consumers purchase in-game content. Providing new and diverse in-game content is crucial if you want to offer your user groups the most desired experiences, and keep them playing and paying.2 If this seems daunting, don’t worry — there are incredible user segmentation and merchandising tools available to help you achieve significant conversion rates and elevate the lifetime value of your players.

Let’s take a look at some specific ecommerce approaches you can use to effectively sell your online game and grow your brand.

Offer types: Enable category-based inclusions and exclusions, quantity and purchase amount thresholds, time limits, and discount quantity limits.

Dynamic content: Easily change or update special promotional content areas, hero spots, landing pages, top sellers, featured items, pop-ups and more — all in real time and targeted to different user segments.

Cross-selling: Suggest or bundle complementary products that will make an online game easier or more enjoyable to play. This will add immediate value and — even if the initial offer is rejected by the consumer — the idea will be planted in the minds of your players, which often helps drive sales later.

Up-selling: Offer players an upgrade to a product or service that they may already be considering. One of the simplest ways to think about up-selling is to ask the question: Do you want to supersize that? Your players have already decided to buy so it’s a perfect time to suggest an upgrade.

Flexible pricing: Modify price lists based on shopper engagement, user segmentation, and regional and global opportunities.

Personalized product recommendations: Consider purchasing history and patterns to provide a cross-section of products (or content) that visitors may find useful or intriguing. Recommendation engines provide automated and manual merchandising capabilities to showcase additional or alternative products for sale on retail ecommerce websites. Use this tool to help boost new products for high visibility or match like-minded individuals with products that may be relevant and personalized. Consider incorporating the following:

  • Offer discounts
  • Coupon codes
  • Offer restrictions based on locales, purchase plans and usage limits
  • Custom bundles for guided selling opportunities
  • Automated start and end dates
  • URL-triggered offers
  • In-cart merchandising with offers, bought-also-bought spotlights and coupon code entry
  • Wait-don’t-leave messaging to reduce abandonment

Putting it all together

With the tips we discussed in this blog series, you have a winning formula for monetizing your online game. Start with a rock solid ecommerce infrastructure, use a variety of monetization strategies, and get to know your audience and when to sell. But don’t stay idle. Remember, it’s important to continue paying attention to your community. If you don’t evolve your online game to satisfy the changing expectations and feedback from your players, you risk losing all that you’ve built.