The Most Common Monetization Mistakes Mobile App Developers Make

Posted by
22nd September 2016

Most developers make a few common mistakes while learning to operate freemium games, from not measuring users properly to not capitalizing on obvious opportunities. At Tapjoy, we get that it’s difficult to hit all the targets at once — even savvy developers who clearly see mistakes may choose to let opportunities slip by, for lack of time and the tools to do it all the right way.

We’ve bet our business on creating some of those tools with our unique monetization platform. Here’s a shortlist of commonly-seen mistakes and their potential solutions:

Not conducting funnel analysis

Problem: Where do your users drop off? What level do they spend the most time on? Knowing the bottlenecks means knowing who to target with useful tips, tricks and promotions, increasing retention and decreasing churn.

Solution: Tapjoy’s funnel analysis is one of the easiest funnels to implement, and also allows you to discover what kind of purchases your players will need, from extra lives to coins for gacha draws.

Asking for payment too early

Problem: Patience pays off. Research says that players who pay later in the game are more likely to keep paying, versus those who pay once at the beginning of the game, only to churn a short time later.

Solution: Show off potential purchases from the beginning of your game, but wait to gate content until players have developed the habit of returning.

Serving ads to paying and predicted-to-pay customers

Problem: No one wants to feel like a cash cow, especially mobile game players who are spending or predicted to spend in your game. Showing ads to these spenders can decrease conversions and player lifetime. But it sometimes feels unavoidable: most ad APIs don’t offer any special functionality to avoid displaying to paying users.

Solution: Tapjoy’s Future Value Map can pinpoint paying and likely-to-pay users, and help to target free users with ads.

Not offering currency sales and promotions

Problem: Discounts don’t just work for physical retailers. In fact, game developers have it even easier, thanks to their ability to message any incoming user about a deal. Whether it’s Thanksgiving or just Thursday, a well-timed sale can offer huge revenue spikes.

Solution: Currency sales are a great option that’s a snap to deploy — and the built-in cohort targeting helps avoid constantly blasting your entire user base with promotions.

Not A/B testing promotions and monetization campaigns

Problem: Not all campaigns strike gold on day one, but developers sometimes feel disheartened when promotions don’t work out right away. Even campaigns that do well at first can usually be improved!

Solution: Tapjoy’s A/B testing tool is user-friendly and fast, allowing you to compare promotions or offers without any additional coding.

Stopping at in-app marketing

Problem: In-app marketing through messages and pop-ups is just one facet of digital marketing. Other channels may be more effective at reaching lapsed users, and your more hardcore fans will appreciate external messaging.

Solution: Announce game updates, sales and events through at least one digital marketing channel. Depending on your game, this could include push notifications, email, Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.

Monetization in free-to-play games and apps requires a sophisticated approach. Include too many monetization hooks and campaigns and you risk turning users off, but include too few and your business won’t survive. The winning approach requires balance and targeting to make sure you’re hitting the right users with the right messages. Thankfully, we’re here to help.

For more on how to implement balanced, targeted monetization campaigns, contact your Tapjoy account manager today.

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