We work with quite a few different types of businesses on their monetization. As an alternative payments platform, we facilitate both direct payments and an inventory of brand offers, letting businesses monetize a very wide swath of their users.
We’ve also been doing this a very long time, so we’ve got a lot of experience with helping businesses optimize their revenues.
A lot of businesses do a good job monetizing their games, apps and communities. Very, very few do an incredible job.
In fact, when we see someone absolutely killing it on all fronts of monetization, we send it around internally to excitedly discuss and highlight the things they’re doing so well.
It doesn’t happen all that often, sadly.
So today we want highlight three monetization elements that seem to be commonly mishandled amongst businesses around the world. There are more examples we could highlight, but we’re going to save them for future posts. These three are the most obvious ones we see when working on optimization with our customers, and they’re also very easy to fix.
Location, Location, Location
It’s conventional wisdom that the location of a physical retailer is one of the most important factors in its success. After all, you’re unlikely to drive an hour down the road to buy wood if you have a Home Depot down the block. High traffic retail real estate is the most expensive, and highly coveted.
The same thing is true inside of your app.
If selling virtual currency is your primary monetization method, it shouldn’t take a detective to find your virtual store or payment portal.
Users should never be more than a click or two away from buying more currency, if that’s what they want to do.
If you have an Offer Wall, that should be a click or two away as well.
Surfacing ways that your users can get virtual currency might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many apps we see that don’t heed this advice. When we run our optimization consultations, we’ll often find ourselves in a game or app that hasn’t made it clear that there’s a virtual currency store at all.
In some cases, the store is only presented to users at specific moments. The rest of time it’s buried.
All of this introduces friction into your monetization. All of this can quickly and easily be overcome by surfacing your purchase pages more effectively.
Link Language Matters
It’s frankly shocking how many companies take the wording they use within their apps and games for granted.
As builder, it’s easy to assume that people who use your products have the same basic level of understanding you have about where things are and how to get things done.
This is called personal bias, and it’s be avoided at all costs. We see this happening most often with regards to labeling links in misleading ways.
When it comes to driving traffic to your virtual currency store and converting that traffic, accurate navigation is crucial. That means that the language you use on your navigation links will set up an expectation for users that may or may not work in your favor.
Many, many developers decide to use one link to their store, and they slap a label like “BUY TOKENS” or “TOKEN STORE” on it. On the surface, that’s pretty clear, right?
What you don’t show a user, they won’t know. I repeat this: what you don’t show a user exactly what they can do, they can’t be expected to do it.
Some users don’t want to BUY TOKENS. Some users would love to get FREE TOKENS, even if they’ve got to fill out an offer or watch a video. Do you have an Offer Wall? Don’t put it behind BUY TOKENS buttons!
Give clear navigation cues to all the ways that your users can buy, earn, or find virtual currency.
This simple optimization has bumped daily revenue for some of our clients up 25% or more.
Direct Payments & Offers
Depending on the business you’re in, it’s likely that one of our two major payment methods is familiar to you.
Direct Pay is exactly what it sounds like. Users can pay for virtual currency using their own credit card, bank account, mobile account, or cash.
Offers, served on our Offer Wall, are a variety of brand offers which reward users for completion. The majority don’t cost the user anything, and allow users to earn virtual currency instead of spending their hard earned cash on it.
Both are incredibly effective monetization tools across a wide variety of web and mobile apps. Offers, the lesser known of the two, really took hold in the social gaming era and has since expanded into other verticals.
Here the thing, though. Many businesses are leaving one method or the other out of their monetization strategy.
Now, let’s be clear that we understand direct payments and offers aren’t a good fit in every situation. We have customers in which one is a much better fit than another, so we’re not saying everyone should use both all the time.
That said, in most cases the two of them in tandem lead to better monetization.
The user that actively uses Direct Pay is a user willing (and able) to pay for virtual currency upgrades.
The user who actively completes offers is a different type of user, one willing to trade their time and effort for virtual currency.
Each is a very valuable customer. Each has a unique need that isn’t served by the other payment method.
It’s often a very smart idea to strongly consider both methods of monetizing your virtual currency.
We have a few more up our sleeves which we’re going to highlight in a future post, but we’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment with ways you’ve optimized your monetization, or mistakes you’ve made in the past. You can also ping us on twitter.