A free chocolate. Extra storage. A rare gem. A badge of loyalty. A new character or theme.
We can all agree: everyone loves an unexpected gift. And it doesn’t matter how big or small the gift is, it makes you feel good.
Whether it’s a bonus storefront item or a character upgrade, offering a free gift is a smart, surprise-and-delight monetization tactic that we see developers use to create “happiness in the moment,” as well as to strengthen a game’s loyal fan-base and bottom line over time.
Gifting: a closer look
You want your users to feel good, right?
Of course you do. But you also need to meet your game’s revenue goals by having players visit and buy your in-app-purchase (IAP) items.
Here are three ideas on how to engage users with nice gifts and transform that gift into meaningful revenue down the road:
- Increase Player Retention: Sending a small “gift” to your game’s users on a random basis can be a great way to encourage players to return frequently—while adding an exciting element of surprise. This also plays into what social psychologists call the law of reciprocity. Giving an unexpected gift encourages players to respond to your positive action with another positive action. It’s nice to be nice!
- Encourage Future IAP Purchases: When a new player finishes their first session of your game, give them a free IAP item as thanks for having tried your game. Many users will recognize the kind gesture and will return to the game later to try the new items, and may be even more likely to check out your IAP store upon their return. Note: Do NOT make this gift contingent upon their visiting your store or buying something first. Experienced players can be cynical when it comes to the “the first one is free” method of marketing IAP items. Make it a genuine, no-strings-attached gift for the best response.
- Encourage Re-Engagement: If you want to remind inactive users that your game still exists, consider creating incentives—like extra lives for characters or eye-appealing cupcake toppings—for your customers to encourage them to re-connect with your game. Doing this can remind them why they liked your game in the first place, and can bring them back to re-engage.
Turning a free app into meaningful revenue
Developers who use the freemium model must first focus on building an innovative, engaging game, and then also create high-value IAP content that will delight players. Offering special, unique gifts to introduce players to the value you’ve added in your IAP content is one smart way to showcase that value to potential customers. It could even encourage players to make future purchases and engage for longer, generating meaningful revenue for your game.
The Amazon Appstore is designed to make it easy to manage your IAP catalog, and we have enhanced our In-App Purchasing API to make it easier (and faster) than ever for you to integrate Amazon IAP into your game.
To learn about why IAP should not be an after-thought in game development, but rather a key factor in your design requirements, check out our recent eBook: “In-App Purchasing Lessons from the Top 50 Game Developers”. The eBook highlights the top five actionable insights we uncovered in our recent study focused on the top 50 freemium games in the Amazon Appstore.