Did anyone see that Assassins’ Creed Valhalla announcement trailer? Of course you did. Chances are you did not discover it on your own, but instead, it appeared on your social media channels, most likely shared by a fan of the franchise or an influencer. At least that is how it happened to me. Game marketing truly has changed in the era of digital, community, and influencers.
It got me thinking. There are studios and publishers out there that can rely on a massive marketing machine for discoverability, fuelled almost solely by their community of engaged fans. It saves on large User Acquisition (UA) costs associated with advertising on top-of-the-funnel channels (TV, events, billboards) or the ever-increasing price on Cost-per-Install (CPI) for mobile games.
But what other reasons are there why developers should invest in building communities for their games and brands?
Reducing User Acquisition costs
Attracting new users is 5 times more expensive than retaining existing users according to Forbes. That cost will continue to increase. Appsflyer predicts that global app install ad spend will double by 2022. The reasons for this are the rise in demand for high-quality users, fierce competition on discoverability, and the rapid expansion to emerging markets. Using loyal fans and brand ambassadors to refer new users to a game is almost free User Acquisition. Did you know that 65% of all downloads on Apple devices come straight from the App Store search?
Increased Retention metrics for organic users
Organic and engaged users retain much better compared to those acquired via paid campaigns. According to another study by Appsflyer the difference shows best in the 30 Day Retention Rate, with Apple app users showing a whopping 133% higher retention rate for organic over paid. For Android, it is even higher: 156% higher!
Increased ROI and LTV
Users who retain for a longer time positively impact Lifetime Value (LTV) which results in an increased Return of Investment (ROI). Engaged users who play with friends or feel they are part of a bigger community, generally retain better and thus boost the LTV of those around them.
Increased user feedback to complement user data
With a community of loyal fans, you also gain a lot of valuable data on user behavior. The feedback you gain via community and player support channels provides context to your metrics, which allows you to improve on existing features or create new ones that enhance the player experience (and thus retention).
Need those Quality-of-Life improvements tested? Select a group of fans from your community; they’ll be more than eager to test and provide you with more feedback.
Connections increase User Engagement and User Spend
Players seek connections and a sense of belonging. Adding a place for your players to congregate and exchange feedback or ideas, creates engagement, higher retention and increases user spend. This can take form in many ways, such as in-game chat or even progress-tracking, depending on the motivations of your audience.
It’s simply smart for developers to bet on their communities and be able to bank on the added benefits, wouldn’t you agree?