Where’s My Water and the Art of Selling Paid Content
By Michail Katkoff
Freemium games are ruling the top grossing charts so well that even all the traditional paid games are now having IAPs. But the fact is that adding IAPs into a game, which was designed as a $0.99 app to be played off-line seldom makes the game any better nor transforms it into a top grossing title. These games just lack the freemium economies. They don’t have the core loops with infinite sinks and grinding loops.
But all is not lost. In case you have a solid retention and the analytics are showing that players are rigorously grinding through the content it is time to make money buy selling what your player demand – content. And Disney’s Where’s My Water sure knows how to sell content!
The Welcome Screen
The welcome screen should be as minimalistic as possible. It is enough to include the essential buttons: play & cross promote. No need for shop, leader-boards, option or those big twitter and facebook buttons. They just take the space without generating any actions – at least I haven’t seen any supporting numbers for having those buttons on the welcome screen.
From a monetization view having a minimalistic welcome screen gives you the opportunity to truly push an offer to the players. Be it a cross promotion, sale or downloadable content – when the screen isn’t cluttered with irrelevant buttons your slide-in banner truly pops out and generates those much appreciated downloads.
The Level Selector
This is probably the most un-utilized space. Typically all the cross-promotion, virality and shop buttons are shoved into the Welcome Screen and once players press the play button they are clear from all the offers.
From the monetization perspective it’s just so much more efficient to offer players content while they are playing and not while they’re trying to start playing. Below is the level selector flow from Where’s My Water, which in my opinion is simply unrivaled.
1. Welcome Screen
Players option in this view: get into the game, check out more games or take advantage of ongoing promotion.
2. The Game
This is the actual paid game with several level packs.
3. Content Pack 1 (Paid)
This is a first content pack featuring something new and unseen from the actual game (new character, game type etc.) Players can enter the content pack and test out few of the first levels.
4. Content Pack 2 (Paid)
This is the second content pack and as the first one, it also features something new and unseen. There are bit less levels in this content pack but more levels are coming (start selling as soon as possible and keep adding content). Price is still the same as with the first content pack and players can choose whether they will purchase the first, the second or both of the content packs.
5. Free Levels
Here are some additional free levels that are updated once a while the increase the retention. They are placed after the paid content in level selector view so that players will take a look at the paid content on their way to the free content.
6. Download Free Version
Here’s our newest game. Depending on the technology you can either take the player to the app store when they click on the title or simply start content download from the level selector view.
+ Gift the game
Doesn’t hurt to offer players to buy the game and send it as a gift
Pricing the Paid Content
In case your paid game costs $0.99 the logical price for additional paid content would be also $0.99. But logical thinking and pricing of virtual content have very little in-common. Instead my suggestion is to at least double the price of paid content simply because the increase in revenue tends to overpower the dip in conversion.
Just see the table below. In case where price is doubled from $0.99 to $1.99 the conversion has to be halved to reach the break even point. And at price points of $0.99 and $1.99 the IAP demand is without exception very inelastic.
The A/B tests will guide you to the optimal price point. And in case you don’t have the power to do A/B tests, just run different prices for few days for each price point and make the decision based on sales you make. Most important thing here is that you aren’t afraid of testing with different prices.
Don’t push; rather lure
Locking paid content behind BUY buttons is not the best way to sell them. Instead give players an option to start playing the paid content. Few first levels will hook a good portion of them and the conversion will be far better this way.
Embrace the paid content
Adding paid content into a paid title has the potential to significantly increase the revenue from the game without breaking it. The way the paid content is offered plays a major role in conversion. You have to make sure you make good use of the welcome screen and the level selector. At the same time to drive the demand it’s also important to make the paid content somewhat different from the regular game – be it graphics or a tweak in the gameplay. Good luck with adding the paid content, I’m sure you’ll be happy with the additional revenue.(source:blogspot)