Want to get super whales on your side? Seeing is believing, says Everyplay

Jussi Laakkonen on how to engage heavy players

Want to get super whales on your side? Seeing is believing, says Everyplay

It's no surprise that Jussi Laakkonen – the man behind video sharing platform Everyplay – was keen to stress the importance of video to mobile game discovery, but the Applifier founder came to Pocket Gamer Connects in Helsinki with the stats to back his stance up.

Applifier, which was recently acquired by Unity, surveyed around 3,000 mobile gamers in the US to find out how heavy spenders – or 'super whales' – compare to more standard gamers when it comes to game discovery, engagement and sharing.

One key tool, Laakkonen said, is word of mouth.

"We don't tend to talk about word of mouth discovery because you can't measure it – it's organic," opened Laakkonen. "It just happens."

Heavy spenders, however, are both more likely to push games to their friends via word of mouth and, not coincidentally, discover them in that way too. But it doesn't stop with face to face encounters.

Socially speaking

"Heavy payers and super whales are much more likely to use Facebook invites and Twitter codes, too," he continued.

"Also, how many of you allow video sharing or enable lets play type videos on YouTube? These tools are now incredibly important."

Super whales are looking for experiences that go beyond just tapping the screen.
Jussi Laakkonen

In short, whales like discovering and sharing games via word of mouth, social networks et al and, likewise, they're more likely to actively seek out new games, taking to specialist games sites to hunt out the top releases.

"You can actually start direct installs from YouTube video nows," Laakkonen continued. "Seeing is believing for heavy payers, and they really react well to videos."

But once they've found your game, how do you keep them engaged?

"We think about whales being psychologically sick people who play along and don't have a life," he added, "but that's not true. They're definitely more interested in access social features and engaging with other people [than others players]."

Rising the leaderboards

On engagement, Laakkonen said he was surprised how important old feature like leaderboards still has a role to play.

"Leaderboards are surprisingly important, and this strikes me as odd because we've had leaderboards in games for ages – they're almost considered a throwaway feature," added Laakkonen.

"Super whales like leaderboards and making new in-game friends. These people are looking for experiences that go beyond just tapping the screen. They're looking for new challenges and to get involved, and playing with other people is exciting and messy – it's unpredictable, and by definition that means more fun."

Indeed, some of the most successful games in mobile, Laakkonen noted, are either about people playing together or against each other - and that's no coincidence.

Predictably, however, when it comes to the third pillar of success – existing players sharing with other people and pushing your game out to new markets – video once again is key.

"If you can pull out your phone and immediately show what the game is about, people can easily demo it [to their friends]," continued Laakkonen.

He also noted that, "even though it's super hard", of the 3,000 gamers Applifier surveyed, 5 percent of them already live broadcast their gameplay. That share more than doubles when you focus only on heavy spenders.

"Clearly some people are super interested in this – maybe you should go to Twitch and start direct marketing to those people," he suggested.

"Heavy spenders are, across the board, super super likely to share. These people are like golfers who won't shut up about the new golf clubs they just bought – sharing is natural to them.

"For heavy spenders, there's almost no limit to how much they will do to connect other people to your game. Whatever obstacles, they will go through it."

You can see the slides from Jussi's presentation here.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.