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How proper push messaging can keep your players engaged

How proper push messaging can keep your players engaged
Brendan O'Kane is the CEO of messaging analytics vendor OtherLevels, and has over 20 years of experience in the mobile ecosystem. 

He managed global accounts such as the Cable and Wireless group for Oracle Corporation, before growing Oracle's Asia/Pacific services offering to a $150m business.

He subsequently led a US mobile messaging business in Asia/Pacific prior to its acquisition in 2001. In the past decade he has been an active investor and director in mobile and on-line properties.


Recently I've read some great PocketGamer.biz pieces on the importance of mobile app analytics.

While these articles focused on important app store performance measurement, as well as analysis of both pre- and post-install numbers, I wanted to introduce another critical component for devising a common-sense app-based mobile campaign – the measurement of mobile messaging.

'To-device' push notifications and 'on-device' messaging such as in-app pushes, alerts and promotions, have grown to be among the best ways game app developers and publishers can speak to customers.

Used correctly, these messaging formats can help engage and retain those customers as well as drive conversions.

The proliferation of mobile has, in turn, led to a proliferation of mobile marketing campaigns. However, as spending on those campaigns grows, publishers need a better way of measuring campaign performance in order to justify their growing budgets. They're expected to reach a yearly $37 billion by 2016.

If you're sending, say, in-app alerts to promote a new title, or any other kind of mobile marketing messages, measurement is the key to get the most out of what you've spent on them.

Adding value

Forrester has predicted that, by 2016, mobile commerce – including the mobile gaming industry – will have grown by a compound annual growth rate of 39 percent to become a $31 billion business. And that's without counting the marketing/ad spend figures I mentioned above.

That means ever-growing numbers of marketing messages reaching consumers on their devices.

However, if those messages are irrelevant, untimely or excessive, they're more likely to turn customers off, possibly leading them to disable messaging or delete a game altogether.

Mobile's highly personal nature demands messaging that adds value to customers' lives. Measuring your audience's response to your messages is the best way to gauge those messages' impact.

As gamers play on their devices, they create data that marketers can analyse to get a clear and detailed picture of an individuals' wants and needs.

This allows those marketers to craft messaging that is both timely – delivered at a time when the customer is active on mobile – and relevant, which increases the likelihood of a conversion.

Understanding that mobile messaging is limited, take the steps to make sure your game's notifications add value.

Reminders of new levels, new perks for a skill tree, announcements of new expansion packs or of enough XPs required to reach a new level are examples of things that matter to gamers and are likely to increase play session times. Bonus if you do not interrupt their game play!

Action analytics

Through analytics tools, marketers can secure a valuable foothold in gamers' minds, hearts and wallets – and retain them as customers who will likely try other titles in the library. Here are some actionable techniques to ensure your games' messages are driving desired outcomes:

First you'd collect action analytics data – e.g., messages sent vs. opened, time since last open, and opens resulting in goals such as registrations, purchases or social shares – that links specific message copy to particular user behaviors and outcomes.

Next, you would A/B split test. You'd use the data you gathered through action analytics to create multiple versions of one marketing message, which you would send out to significant samples of the audience segment you're targeting.

Once the results come in and you can see which wording, length, tone and visual elements drove higher conversions, you send them out to your whole target audience.

Finally, after the split tests, you would retarget – which boils down to well-informed persistence. Using what you've learned about your gamers during the previous two steps, you send follow-up messages to those who didn't open your first message at all or who opened it but didn't convert.

This way, you can make sure you haven't missed any opportunity to get the kind of conversion you want.

Halfbrick Studios, for example, recently decided it wanted to boost engagement and monetisation opportunities within its many popular apps, which include Jetpack Joyride and Fruit Ninja

OtherLevels is currently A/B split testing the push notifications Halfbrick sends to its massive global customer base, which is spread across 24 time zones and speaks 13 languages.

It's also testing for tonality, word choice and many other variables to create a full picture of the mobile audience.

Saturated

As adoption of mobile devices continues its march toward global saturation, there's practically no place left where mobile devices won't be present. Inevitably, mobile means gaming, with consumers playing on the go, on the couch, in bed and even on the toilet.

That means developers and publishers seeking top ROI will need a way to stand out from the pack and hold consumers' attention.

By implementing action analytics techniques, these marketers can make sure they're learning more about their customers with each and every interaction – driving engagement and monetisation opportunities for the long haul.
To find out more about OtherLevels and the services it offers, take a look at the company's website.

Generous people who've shared their wisdom with Pocket Gamer

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Brett Wash Director at Awesome App Lab
Good info : )
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