The proven action that will improve retention
Published 1st February 2017
There's a new trend you may have missed. If you work in social slots, you may have seen it. Maybe you adapted it, maybe you didn’t. If you work in RMG slots, there’s a decent chance you missed it entirely.
The new trend is called gamification. The correct use of gamification will improve your game’s retention and monetization, sometimes by more than tens of percent, and in rare cases, by hundreds of percent.
In this article, I’m going to show you one gamification ‘trick’, that has improved the retention of games by dozens of percent. If you implement it, even without my help, it should improve your game’s retention considerably.
This trick is being used more and more effectively in social slots, but the truth is that, human nature being what it is, it should work just as well in real-money as in social games. The trick is so effective that I’ve seen average games use it and had their retention jump as if they are a top 10 game. It’s easy to deploy. It’s relatively fast in development. And it works. Let’s get to it.
It’s human nature to want to complete tasks, to finish things. Just as a progressive free spins or bonus trigger, if done right, works well in improving the player’s time on machine, if you give the player outside missions to complete, the player will, on average, stick around much longer than they planned.
It doesn’t matter if the reward is less than what they sacrificed to complete the mission, it only matters that they complete the missions.
Sound simple? It is. But there are a few guidelines.
- There should be more than one mission taking place simultaneously - Not all missions are to everyone’s tastes, and if a player has to complete only one mission, one that he doesn’t like, he or she may stop playing altogether. The ideal number of simultaneous missions is three. And you should give the player a reward not when he or she completes each of the missions, but only when he completes all three.
- Missions should be slot-based - Slot players, whether social or RMG, are here to play slots. If you force them on missions that have nothing to do with the slots themselves, they’ll either ignore you (at best) or leave your game (at worst). So make sure that the missions are aboutn spins, bonuses, free spins and so on, and not about anything else.
- Difficulty of the mission vs. length of the mission - You shouldn’t make the missions hard. The point here is not to exert the player. Nor should you make them too easy. The missions should be completed using regular gameplay (for example, “win free spins three times”) and not in any other way. Always remember your purpose – to keep the player having fun for a longer time. This means that all your missions should be about how much time it takes to complete all three missions, so the player can collect his reward. By suggesting the player complete the mission, you are ‘gently forcing’ him to play the X number of minutes you want him to play. And, again, do not make the missions too ‘tough’ by making them too long to complete. You want almost all your players to complete their missions. Act accordingly.
- Randomize the missions - Make sure the player can’t predict the missions ahead of time. Have a relatively big ‘stock’ of missions that the game can choose randomly and give to the players. Predictability becomes invisible to the player over time. Unpredictability increases retention.
- Time limit the missions - Missions should be limited in time for half a day, ideally, so that you have ‘morning missions’ and ‘evening missions’. In the above example, “win free spins three times”, the player can’t return the next day to complete the mission. He must win free spins three times before 2pm or he loses the prize he would have won for completing the mission. It’s easy to overlook this guideline, but this is the framework that keeps the player playing now rather than returning to complete it at an unknown date some time in the future. In addition, keeping the ‘morning missions’ and ‘evening missions’ routine will incentivize the player to return again later today and again tomorrow, etc.
- Missions are not mandatory for the player - Completing missions should be voluntary. If the player chooses to play, let him. If he doesn’t, leave him alone. He came to play slots, after all, and missions are an added bonus to those who want it. They should never be a chore.
- Do not use the missions to drain the player’s money - For example, do not give a mission that says “play 50 spins at max bet”. That will drain the player’s money and make it seem like all you’re trying to do is milk the player so he can pay more. That will give your game and the missions a negative light in the eyes of the player. Also, draining the player of money is not the purpose of missions. Missions are here to make things fun. Let the player have fun with the slot – more fun with missions – and he’ll stick around longer. You monetize the retention, not the missions themselves.
How to reward the players
Choosing how to reward the players in social slots is easy. Pick a prize that is reasonable, but that is far less than the cost of paying for the game’s coins. That way, your player doesn’t feel it replaces paying you. If you work in RMG, treat the reward as you would a jackpot. Assume the players will need X spins to finish all three missions, and take a small percentage of every bet to make sure the player ‘pays’ for his reward and that the RTP is still under 100%. And, yes, the reward has to be a function of the player’s actual bets, even if the bets change during gameplay.
There are of course many, gamification ‘tricks’ that can improve your stats. But they are more complex and creative. You now have the means to create a tool that should increase your retention considerably and without any outside help.
Let me know how it worked out for you!