As part of White Nights Helsinki 2016, Philipp Stelzer, Live Ops & Ads Lead at Wooga, talked about the company's approach to monetisation along the user journey.
"If users don't pay within the first 7 days, it's not really that fun", he said.
He also added that the idea that making a "fun" game does not mean players will buy anything in it, and you need to look at it the other way around.
You can segment your users down to specific types, and then start looking at the specifics of the segments, such as the platforms they are mostly using and when their last purchase was, which allows you to create actionable strategies to engage them.
An event for every occassion
Such strategies include holding sales, running "mini events" to celebrate a small update or a seasonal aspect, and "full feature" events for when you have new content to share.
"Sales events really are the easiest", said Stelzer, since you can easily target specific segments and they don't require much context to run effectively, but just because you're having a sale does not mean players will engage with it, so you need to test them.
A useful way of determining when to offer a player segment a sale is to track their progression in the game, looking at how long it takes for them to make their first in-app purchase, and then tracking them from that point to their next purchase.
Engage your audience
Interestingly, platform also has an effect on how well a sale might work, with iOS players more likely to spend more money on an IAP than Android users, as found in a test Wooga performed in one of its games.
On the topic of mini events, Stelzer said that they can "only be run for a very short time", that they need to be shown to everyone, and that you can combine them with sales effectively.
But mini-events don't particularly affect long-term retention, so you will need to find an alternate method to retain users, but they are good for engaging users and encouraging spending, which is why combining with a sale is a good idea.