The 3-in-1 strategy: Using your economy to keep all players happy
Published 26th August 2016
When creating a social slot, it is easy to focus on ‘the product’: graphics, animations, slots, math, sound, and so on. These are the basics of every slot game and they are the major factors in contributing to a game’s popularity.
But the thing that monetizes your game is the economy, not your graphics or your math. The economy is your key retention tool as well as the tool that monetizes that retention. Too many companies build a good game, but their economy loses them their players, and therefore fails to monetize properly. A major mistake they make is treating all their players the same. They are not the same. Not at all.
In this article, we’ll talk about how your players are different, and then how you can use your economy to make all of them happy at once. This is the ‘3-in-1 strategy’.
What do players want?
Your players can be split into many profiles, but for the purposes of this article, we will concentrate on three profiles that are the most interesting for our purposes (see Figure 1). These three player profiles want three very different experiences. Let’s analyze who they are and what they want, so that you can please them all.
Profile A: Players who play but don’t pay.
What these players want: They want a fun, addictive experience in which advancement is possible. Since they’re not willing to pay, they’re willing to accept slow advancement.
Why you want these players: These are the players who provide virality for you, since there are so many more of them than the paying players: they can invite their friends, their friends can invite their friends. You want them to stick around.
Profile B: Players who pay in the beginning, and leave quickly.
What these players want: These players are impulsive and impatient. They want to progress very fast, quickly. They’re willing to pay good money to go through your game,but they also get easily bored. Once they feel they’ve experienced your whole game they’ll leave. They are willing to spend a few hundred dollars to do it. As such, they have lower value for you than Profile C.
Why you want these players: They have money, they’re willing to spend it. There is a way to get them to stay. In addition, surveys have shown that these users have a high percentage of real gaming highrollers, so they have deeper pockets than other users.
Profile C: Loyal players who do not necessarily pay at first, but as they progress in the game, they are willing to pay more. These players yield stability to your app on all levels.
What these players want: They want a good game. And they also want to get their money’s worth.
Why you want these players: These players are willing to spend a lot of money on a good game. These players have the highest lifetime value for you.
How to design an economy that keeps everyone happy: The 3-in-1 Strategy
There is a way to create an economy that not only keeps all three profiles happy, but forces the Profile B people to stick aroundmore than they intended to, and to convert some of them from Profile B to Profile C. The one strategy that keeps all three profiles of players happy is called ‘The 3-in- 1 Strategy’. Here is its essence:
Step #1: Make it impossible for paying players to finish your game in a short time period.
The Profile B players want to pay hundreds and thousands of dollars, experience your entire game, and leave. Make that impossible for them to do.
a. Limit their experience: Sell them less coins and limit your max bets. Make it harder to advance with money and finish your game quickly. When you limit the Profile B players being able to advance quickly. You are forcing them to play hours more than they intended, and to actually get a feeling of the game, which gives them an opportunity to like it and get addicted to it.
b. Stretch XP Advancement. Most new games only have a few slot games. However, you have to make sure that even at max bet, it takes a few good hours, at the very least, to unlock all the unlockables.
c. Add unlockable surprise. Not just slots can be unlocked. If you have only a handful of slots, then there is no avoiding opening them all within a few hours. However, you can unlock other things: special free spins, a special bonus game, a special Double XP experience, and so on. The options are limitless. The point of this step is to create an experience that keeps surprising the players, and gives them something to strive for, even after two days of gameplay. After your Profile B players have stuck around for two days and come for the third, their original intention to leave immediately will be replaced by an affinity and addiction to your game. A large percentage of them will be converted from Category B to Category C.
Step #2: Do not stretch the XP Advancement (see tool (b) above) too much.
While you don’t want players to advance too quickly, you also don’t want them to advance too slowly. That will annoy the non-paying players (Profile A and even Profile C at this preliminary stage). Make sure the players get to experience a certain number of slots and a representative number of features your game has to offer within that first day experience. As before, if you have few slot games, use the advice given in (c) above to keep the players playing.
And here’s another tip: You need to encourage them to be Facebook-connected users, so they can be more viral and more effective for the app.
Step #3: Reward your paying players.
We’ve given both Profile A and Profile B players what they want, and used the economy to give you what you need from them. It is now time to keep the Profile C players happy.
The idea is simple: Your paying players have the highest lifetime value. You must do everything to keep them happy and playing.
Your tools are:
a. Treat them like VIPs in your messages to them.
b. Hire a VIP support person or team who deals only with VIPs.
c. Give them additional value when they spend money: anything from Double XP for a certain time; always pay attention to what your Profile C’s are telling you and respond with thought of helping them rather than monetizing off them.
There are three types of players, each seeking a different experience. If you fail to understand them and fail to give them what you want, your game will bleed players and money.
However, with the 3-in-1 Strategy you can give all your players a good experience, while getting what you want from them: better monetization.