Article 8 of 10 in the series: What the Top 50 Games do with In App Purchasing that the Rest of Us Don’t
By Mike Hines (@MikeFHines)
In the previous article in this series, we saw how differentiating offers to users based on their time in game works well for the top 50. We also saw that doing your best to eliminate confusion is not only a good customer service tenet, but a profitable one as well. This week, we’ll look at other ways the top 50 make it easier to buy.
Keep it Simple
Above is an example of a good IAP purchase screen. Not too many items crowd the page, no items are off the screen (customers just don’t scroll to get to those…), there are a reasonable number of price points, but it’s a bit unclear what the value is.
Take a look at this IAP dialog:
I really like two things about this screen. One is that it doesn’t mix different kinds of things on the same page. The page has one thing; soft currency purchases. If I want to buy a different kind of thing, I can use a different tab/page. The second thing I like is that the value is clearly identified by the BONUS labels. The value is clear. I don’t have to do any math in my head to see why I’d want to buy $9.99 instead of $4.99.
Make It Easy to Buy
Making ‘Easy to Buy’ part of the design requirements is very important. Adding IAP functionality after you have designed your game is a mistake. Take a look at this example of the Ninja Kiwi game Bloons Tower Defense 5, a game in which adorable monkeys toss darts at balloons trying to escape the maze. The game is challenging but not impossible, yet occasionally, as the balloons approach the exit, and you are at a loss to stop them, you can’t buy anything to help you! You can’t purchase anything that will pop all the balloons on the field or make one of your dart throwers a turbo-manic dart thrower for a few seconds. The fact that I can’t buy anything when I need it makes it really hard to give Kiwi Ninja my money.
Well they figured that out, and in their next tower defense game, SAS Zombie Assault TD, they got it right (below).
In this game, I can build towers with my soft currency using the menu items on the left. But if a horde of flesh-eating zombies is rushing towards the exit, I’ve got hard currency items on the right, so I can spend $0.99 to get 3 Nuclear Hand Grenades and vaporize that mass of zombies. Soft currency on the left, hard currency on the right, no confusion. Hard currency items are obvious and available for purchase when my need is greatest. Perfect. When the apps in our study made it easy to shop, ARPPU increased by 75%.
In the next article in the series, we’ll look at what the top 50 do to increase the time their customers spend in the app and how they maximize repeat sessions. For more insights on how to keep users engaged and boost revenue check out our free eBook, “In-App Purchasing Lessons from the Top 50 Game Developers”.
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