“Free to PAY” - experiment results

    First, a link to the first part of the article: "" Free to PAY "- an experiment on honestly monetizing the game . " It has a detailed description of the whole undertaking, voting for “works - will not work” and a bunch of comments.

    I’ll briefly tell you the essence: a small mobile game with the final gameplay, there’s nothing to sell inside, I don’t want to build banner ads, as well as fencing the standard “freeplay kit”. But at least somehow I want to recapture the costs. Question: how to monetize? Estimated answer: to make the best possible, completely free game, and only after passing to offer the player to pay for the received emotions and consumed content. No sooner said than done.

    A little over a month has passed since the launch of the game, and you can safely draw conclusions. Welcome to the cat for details, but for now, here's a picture that most accurately conveys my emotions from the results of the experiment:

    Okay, closer to the point - it turned out to be a cross between “You earn something, but obviously less than if you tightened the nuts a little tighter” and “No, it will be a failure and earnings tending to 0”. Not that it was a surprise, but I wanted to believe in the best, because even in the vote the item “Everything will work out” was not in last place:

    Well, now the main thing is the numbers. We launched the game on iOS and Android on March 12, 2015. (i.e. a month and 1 week passed):

    iOS :
    • 30,000 installations
    • $ 126 (gross, before deduction of 30%)
    • ARPU: $ 0.0042 (average earnings per player)
    • Payer Percentage: 0.2%
    • Average check: $ 2.14 (total was 59 payments)

    Android :
    • 100,000 installations
    • $ 176 (gross, before deduction of 30%)
    • ARPU: $ 0.0018 (average earnings per player)
    • Paying percentage: 0.07%
    • Average check: $ 2.61 (there were 69 payments in total)

    I will make a reservation that I slightly violated the purity of the experiment: initially in the game everything was free and achievable without buying additional currency, but I could not stand it and uploaded an update in which premium levels were sold for coins, and for all 3 premium levels of coins issued in as a reward, should not be missed. But, apparently, this did not affect payments very much - here is the schedule of installations and payments on iOS with a marked update date:

    What happened, what did not work:

    1) High marks.
    Thought : we make a high-quality game with soft monetization; get good reviews; this helps to get to the tops and generally has a positive effect on conversions in both installations and payments.
    Reality : ratings - space, reviews - a fairy tale! On iOS - 4.9, on Android - 4.8:

    2) Word of mouth
    Thought : the main thing for us is to grab more players, and there already the quantity will go into quality even with low ARPU. But you can count on real word of mouth only with soft monetization, because advising a friend a game that is not geared towards draining money should be more comfortable than the next pay-to-win game
    Reality : on the one hand, there is no virus growth, on the other hand, various resources are written about the game for free, and from players periodically come reviews like “I told all my friends”, “I saw with a friend and decided that the game should be on my phone”, etc.

    3) Players will pay if you tell them about the value of the game.
    Thought :many simply don’t think that books, movies and games do not arise from the air, that this is work and it must be paid. But this does not mean that people are deliberately not to pay for all this - you just need to push them in the right direction, sow the right thought in your head, tell at the right time why the game is free, but still it’s worth paying for it
    Reality : no, so this does not work. Even if a player realizes that he would have to pay for the game, he is still not ready to pay ex-post for what he has already received for free. At the end of the game, I suggest buying a game currency, but there’s no good from it if you completed the game. You need to sell something really valuable, even if it is served with the sauce “did you like the game?” “Support us with the ruble.”

    4) Anchor
    Thought: there is such a psychological trick with a price (one of the names of which is “anchor”), when the seller first shows the customer an expensive product, and then about the same, but cheaper. At the same time, something clicks in the buyer's head and the purchase of the “cheaper” option is perceived as a very good deal. The trick is that most likely we would have considered this price high and would have bought nothing at all if we had not before our eyes another, more expensive option. But what if you first offer the player to pay a lot, and then, if he did not agree, offer a smaller amount?
    Reality: It’s important not to overdo it, because, relatively speaking, it’s not customary to pay more than a few bucks for mobile games, and by asking for more, you can achieve the opposite result by setting up an initially loyal player against yourself. Now the game offers to pay 219 rubles. ($ 3.99) followed by an offer to pay less. As a result, for example, on iOS there are only 7 payments for $ 3.99, but 47 for $ 1.99 (the minimum possible payment) is an order of magnitude greater, although the difference is not very big. It is difficult to say whether this technique works or if the players simply pay the minimum possible amount, I do not have such fine statistics.

    In general, I am a little disappointed and will continue to approach monetization more harshly, but no one will be able to reproach me with the words “you didn’t even try, greedy bastard!” =)

    What are the plans for the next update:

    • Add content, including premium levels
    • Tighten a little nut on balance and monetization
    • Add inapp for $ 1 and offer to pay $ 2 instead of $ 4
    • Add a pair of life-saving items to the store
    • Add the ability to watch video ads with a reward for viewing (after each level)
    • Improve your ability to share puzzles

    I would like to tell you a lot more, but the article turned out to be rather messy, so if something else is interesting, ask in the comments and I will answer with pleasure.

    PS To make it clearer that we are generally trying to monetize here, let me insert the game trailer:

    UPD: another 4 months have passed - it was possible to recapture costs due to video advertising. Read more here: megamozg.ru/company/anvilgames/blog/18710

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