10 Tips to Monetize Social Games
by Melissa Higbee
Social media present businesses with many unique opportunities. Some companies have turned the potential of social games into multi-million dollar ventures. By inserting targeted advertisements into social games, social media websites, and social applications, companies have been able to take advantage of untapped sources of revenue. In many cases, they’ve created virtual economies in these social games. Those monetization opportunities tend to run the gamete from social web site to social games to other applications.
Still, if you’re going to monetize social games properly, there are some things that you need to know. First of all, not all social games monetize the same. There are a number of factors in a social game that can determine its monetization potential, including:
* The theme and mechanics of the game
* The style of the game
* The demand for virtual currency within the game itself
* How the game balances its ups and downs
* How monetization is promoted within the game
* How engaging the game is for the end users
* How users of the game are retained
* Whether users tend to use the game once and discard it or whether they use it multiple times over a longer period
When you’re able to optimize each and every one of these components, you’ve got a much better chance of squeezing all of the monetization you can get out of any given social game.
Before you even look at monetizing your social games, there’s another aspect that you need to consider: is the game fun? Is it fun to use? Will your users like to play the game? Will they like it so much that they want to invite their friends? If the answer to these questions is “no,” then you need to start all over. Go back to the beginning and build a social game that people will actually want to play. Your game is never going to be ripe for monetization if no one wants to play it. It has to be engaging before you do anything else.
Here, then, are 10 tips that will help you squeeze the most you can from a social game:
1. Define your sinks. Sinks are where you make money – where the user “sinks” money into your social game. These fall into three separate categories – functional, decorative, and behavioral. Functional sinks change the way the game works. Decorative sinks change the way the game looks. Behavioral sinks change the way the game interacts with the user.
2. Connect your sinks with currency. You want to use a dual currency system: an in-game currency (like blocks, bricks, widgets, or whatever) to encourage and engage users. You’ll use RMT currency to monetize. Users buy credits in order to get blocks, bricks, widgets, or whatever you’re using for the in-game currency.
3. Identify user sources of currency. There are a number of places your users can get currency. They can complete quests, do specific tasks, or just log in. Premium currency, however, comes from cash payments, from accepting ad offers, shopping, or some other actual revenue source.
4. Create a balance between engagement and monetization. Give your user enough to enjoy the game and even become a little bit hooked on the game before they ever really “need” to lay out any cash. Let anyone who wants to play your social game do so. However, let those users who are willing to pay advance through the game more quickly than the rest of the users.
5. Watch your exchange rate. Don’t set it too low, or there will be a low perceived value. Set it too high, and you’ll have high inflation.
6. Realize that users expect games to be involved. You can release a game even before you’ve implemented all of the features. Users expect you to constantly make changes and improvements to your game, so take advantage of that fact.
7. Promote the virtual currency. Make sure you’re always offering the option for the user to add credits. Show there balance on every screen. Utilize everything from news feeds to in-game notifications to messaging to let the user know that more credits are just a click or two away.
8. Keep currency in demand. By offering level-specific purchasable goods, perishable goods, or new and unique content, you drive demand. The same goes for leaderboards.
9. Keep a balanced economy. Tinker with the exchange rate to see how things work, but never flood the RMT currency.
10. Adjust your tactics as time goes on. Test and measure various approaches, and then see how your users respond.（Source：avenuesocial）