Custom app experiences: The holy grail of mass customization
By Jon Walsh
In a mobile game market with hundreds of thousands of free choices at players’ fingertips, the rules are evolving quickly. Publishers are now separating into those that understand and can do what it takes to meet or exceed player expectations and those who can’t. And the difference can be measured in millions of dollars — per game.
The future of gaming is giving your players what they want, when they want it – before they know it. We call it the “Custom App Experience,” and it is the long awaited holy grail of mass customization. Custom App Experience revolves around the concept of knowing your players so well that you can deliver a truly unique game experience to every segment. The results are clear – retention and monetization go through the roof with this kind of precision targeting.
We’ve previously discussed that “all players are not equal,” so why treat them that way? Well, most likely because you may not know exactly how to treat them differently, even if you could. The first step is to embrace the slightly more advanced concept of player segmentation, often referred to as “custom cohorting.” The idea of custom cohorting is to enable publishers to analyze specific players as a group according to their behavior. For example you could look at key metrics for players that made it past level four in a game to those that didn’t. If you found that players that passed level four were three times more likely to make an in app purchase, that’s useful information that can drive a specific action for improvement. Experimenting with cohorts can lead to amazing high-level insights quickly.
From there, you can use an effective event- and parameter-based analytic system to turn these insights into specific actions to take. By controlling app parameters from the server-side, you can then create a unique set of parameters for each of your major cohorts, A/B test different scenarios, then go live with a completely unique player experience for each segment you’ve identified. Custom App Experiences are literally a game-changing tool for mobile app publishers, separating the experts from the novices and moderately successful games into money printing machines that players love.
There are many opportunities to strategically leverage Custom App Experiences. Maybe you create a segment of players that have reached level 12 that, despite your best efforts to turn them to convert to paying players, have not yet made a purchase. Now is the time to give them a unique, custom in-app purchase (IAP) bundle that they would be crazy not to buy – a bundle that only these specific players will ever see, and for a limited time only. Then, for those players who do not buy this IAP bundle, you can increase the frequency of ads to try to monetize them in other ways.
Let’s say you have an endless runner game where players compete for leaderboard supremacy. You can create a number of cohorts based on a skill rating for your players. For the lesser-skilled players, you can give them an easier version of the game, and for the more advanced players, you can increase the difficulty. Not only does this reduce the frustration for rookie players, but it also keeps the game challenging for those serious players. Also, all your players will be able to compete on the leaderboards. As your lesser-skilled players get better, they naturally migrate up the ladder of skilled segments, getting a difficulty that is ideally suited for them.
If you have multiple apps in an app store, then why not reward players who migrate from your current apps to your latest? You can even use this reward as a lure during your cross-promo campaigns. Just decide what boost, gift, or other reward you want to give them, set it up in your app parameters, and build a custom cohort for players that played both apps.
You can reveal new game levels to specific player segments, simultaneously run an IAP conversion sale to your non-buyers and an upsell sale to your paying players, or give in-game tips to players stuck only on certain puzzles. All of these and more are possible with a creative-minded producer and the right set of publishing tools. The options are virtually limitless.
Fortunately, you don’t need to build all of these complex systems into your app or try to sew them together from a series of clunky tools that weren’t built to work well with others. With complete publishing platforms like Fuseboxx?, which works best with free-to-play games, you just need to build in a few simple but flexible controls and Fuseboxx? does the rest. It’s unbelievably powerful, yet incredibly easy to use, and here’s the kicker … it’s FREE!
Custom App Experiences are truly a game changing tool in the mobile app industry. So stop treating all your users the same and not giving them what they want. Listen to them, segment and deliver each of them an experience that’s tuned specifically for them, and you’ll be well on your way to climbing the top grossing charts!（source：venturebeat）