Today's gems are mined ⛏️ from an AppMasters podcast episode with Kate Nezhura (Director of Product at MobilityWare - Gaming Studio).
Great insights on pricing psychology, even for non-gaming apps!
How to Figure Out the Right Price Point
Identify what your segments of users are the most comfortable with as far as their preferred price points, because it’s really hard to move players to a higher preferred price point. Kate has worked across several apps, in different organizations and in general if a player plays $3 the first time he will keep paying $3 at a time.
To move players to the next price point, try ecommerce strategies where you do price point anchoring while still displaying their favorite price point: highlighting how good of a deal a higher price point is might work. Example: $3 as preferred price point but $5 purchase is a much better deal.
It’s much easier to increase the frequency of purchases than moving players from one preferred price point to the other.
For ad frequency, it’s ok to start by finding the best performing average. But go further and segment users so you can implement an ad frequency that is optimized for each segment.
For new users, start at a high price point but already adding a bonus or a discount. If players don’t purchase, keep the value constant but reduce the price over time (e.g. $5 -> $3 -> $1). If they still don’t purchase, start increasing the value with a bigger discount or bonus.
It costs money to bring players in, and when you have a freemium model with no ads then anything you can get out of players is good. Value can come from virality (e.g. players share something), but sometimes even getting a small amount with a big discount is better than nothing.
It’s very powerful to not let your players play for too long: if you have mechanics that limit how long they can play, it makes players come back.
When forming monetization hypotheses to test for, consider what competition is doing but also what features are being added in adjacent genres and categories. MobilityWare has found a lot of success that way. Example: social casino with women > 40yo playing collections, clubs, leagues, etc. (a lot coming from Asian games). Features can be simplified for your game if that audience is a good fit.
It’s important to have a threshold you want to reach for your target KPI when testing the first version of a feature/MVP, especially if you know iterations will be needed. A feature might not move the needle on monetization right away, but if engagement improves significantly it shows there is potential because players care about it. Example: comparing two features with one increasing engagement 2% and the other 40%.
Companies that monetize through ads don’t really tap into adding monetization hooks into their LiveOps, and sometimes skip LiveOps altogether. But you can always incorporate monetization across the flow with things like “double your rewards by watching an ad”.
To come up with good LiveOps, think about the user segment you’re trying to optimize for. Are you going after the average players? Or your most engaged/valuable players?
Approach your roadmap with an open mind, and willing to actually change your mind. Example: initially pushing for a feature internally or to management but deciding not to do it anymore after thinking more about it and looking at more data.