Virality and Niche games - Social Gaming

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How to develop a viral app?
How do you optimize your virality?
What's the deal with niche games?

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Virality and Niche games - Social Gaming

  1. 1. Social gaming<br /> “virality and niche games”<br />By Sriram Krishnan<br />sriramkri@gmail.com<br /> @sriramkri<br />
  2. 2. Contents<br />Designing a viral game on Facebook<br />Optimizing virality<br />Niche games<br />
  3. 3. 6 ways to make your app go viral<br />1. Utilizing all FB Platform features<br />Apps can’t be too dependent on any single FB platform feature …<br />..but have to utilize all FB platform features available: publish2stream, notifications, publish pictures, become a fan, bookmarking, email<br />Some features are better at acquiring users, some are better at retaining users<br />
  4. 4. 6 ways to make your app go viral<br />2. Incentivizing co-operation, sharing<br />Apps have to encourage the user to interact with and to engage other users<br />Incentives, incentives, incentives! <br /><ul><li>To promote in-game action, To invite new users, To get invited users to accept invitation, To become a fan – Big Thing!, To subscribe to email or bookmarking, To grow avatar, farm, land, accomplish missions etc</li></ul>Ensure that the users are obliged to engage or to reciprocate action<br />
  5. 5. 6 ways to make your app go viral<br />3. Design + User flow<br />Integrate non-conditional viral features in the game mechanics<br /><ul><li>User has to publish2stream to advance 3 levels up or to get more points
  6. 6. Must invite 3 friends to unlock secret treasure box</li></ul>Simple UI for UX <br /><ul><li>Complicated applications take a longer time to catch on
  7. 7. K.I.S.S
  8. 8. Backend: No major complicated effort required</li></li></ul><li>6 ways to make your app go viral<br />4. Start tracking early<br />Tracking + Metrics = Feedback -> Better decision making<br />Listen to your users. Excellent management of community<br />K factor, Click/Publish ratios, Response rates, ROIs <br />5. Publicity + Customer acquisition<br />Old school – PR, blogs, conferences<br />Cross promotion on 6waves, own apps etc<br />Ads on Rockyou, Fb etc<br />6. You will also need luck on your side <br />
  9. 9. Contents<br />Designing a viral game on Facebook<br />Optimizing virality<br />Niche games<br />
  10. 10. Those days…<br />Those days, apps relied on notifications, forced invitations and publish 2streams<br />These days, more emphasis on publish2stream; incentivizing cooperation<br />These days…<br />
  11. 11. Question:<br />What’s the most important tool you can use to make your game viral on Facebook?<br />Answer:<br /> Publish2stream<br />
  12. 12. Why do users publish2stream?<br />To show and tellleveling up, win/loss in battle, sending/receiving, challenging friends, obtaining items, finding items<br />To seek favours, to make requests<br />buildings get constructed faster, to grow your farms, fertilize crops, to fill up clan, to fill up homes, hiring friends in Hotel, survey questions about user, to join as clan members, to join as neighbours<br />
  13. 13. Incentivizing publish2streams<br />User s encouraged to publish2stream -> More publish2streams<br />User 1 Publishes/Invites -> If User 2 clicks -> Then, User 1 gets incentives -> More nagging and pleading<br />User 1 Publishes -> User 2 clicks -> User 1 + 2 gets incentives -> Win-win<br /> Pop-ups can have a variety of incentive strategies<br />
  14. 14.
  15. 15.
  16. 16. Ask yourself…<br />Would you rather click on …..<br /> Get a sign on bonus? <br /> Continue to Zoo paradise?<br /> Play Tiki resort?<br /> Save [your friend’s] cottage?<br />
  17. 17. Tips for Publish2Stream<br />Use a cute picture. <br />Incentivize the small bottom right link<br /><ul><li>Friends would be able to click and get something in return</li></ul>Credits/points, more information about friend etc<br />“Get sign on bonus now”, “Answer XXX’s questions now”<br />Use “call for action” headers instead of general statements<br /><ul><li>Most of the published shares use general statements for headers but use call for action statements as explanation</li></li></ul><li>Publish2Stream analytics<br />Variables to track<br />Date or Cohort<br />Type of stream post<br />Designs or styles for a/b testing<br /># of times pop-up gets shown to user (a)<br /># of times pop-up gets published to stream (b)<br />Published/shown ratio = b/a<br />Total # of clicks from all users for published pop-up (c)<br />Clicks/published ratio = c/b<br />
  18. 18. Publish2Stream analytics<br /><ul><li>Click breakdown – Where did users click your publish2stream post?
  19. 19. 1 – Picture (d), % of total clicks = d/c
  20. 20. 2 – Header (e), % of total clicks = e/c
  21. 21. 3 – Small link (f), % of total clicks = f/c
  22. 22. Actions completed (republish, redeem, join game, install game, invite friends)
  23. 23. 1 – Action 1 – g
  24. 24. 2 – Action 2 – h
  25. 25. 3 – Action 3 – I
  26. 26. Total action completed = g+h+I = j
  27. 27. Total ROI = j/c or j/b or j/a depending on what you’re tracking</li></li></ul><li>
  28. 28. Other general tips<br />Actionable data = very important<br />Relatively Easy - Tracking metrics at the backend<br />Requires some effort - Showing the metrics on dashboard on frontend etc <br />Important - Analysing data, checking which one works better<br />Most important - Acting on it by re-developing, re-designing<br />
  29. 29. Other general tips<br />Social gaming = A “doing” industry<br /><ul><li>Focus on doing -> design, develop, test, feedback, iterate, design, develop …
  30. 30. driven by data, NOT intuition. Avoid idealists, scatter brains at operational level</li></ul>Good Social game = Excellent product management = monetisation + social/viral + game balance<br />
  31. 31. Contents<br />Designing a viral game on Facebook<br />Optimizing virality<br />Niche games<br />
  32. 32. Niche games + Facebook<br />Niche games/genres are new to Facebook. Finding the right balance between complex, MMO vs social gaming<br /><ul><li>FB is a social platform and social features should always be prioritized ahead of additional game mechanics
  33. 33. But higher the complexity, easier for certain type of users to get hooked to the game
  34. 34. High MAU, Low ARPU vs Low MAU, High ARPU. Ie: Kingdom of Camelot
  35. 35. Discussions, arguments between game designer/producer and product manager for social features, monetisation -> normal</li></ul>Scenarios with simpler game play needed to cater to mass market -> Takes time to convert new users to active, engaging users.<br />Mouse only = Simple<br />Mouse + Keyboard = Complex, Difficult<br />
  36. 36. Focus - Kingdoms of Camelot<br />User Acquisition<br />Good Facebook integration. Almost being forced to invite friends and publish streams<br />Cross promotion with 6waves<br />Social + Strategy – first in the business -> Niche <br />Retention<br />Rich design features<br />Self selective audience members -> not 5 minute users<br />Seamless HTML loading. 1st flash screen load takes a long time, but all subsequent loading uses html<br />Monetisation<br />Multiple purchase options – speed up, production, chest etc<br />Requires more robust payment strategy. Mobile payments should be made more obvious, and localised according to markets – geoIP, other methods of payment to load within site, not in a separate window<br />
  37. 37. Looking to the future…<br />Traditional social gaming market getting crowded<br /><ul><li>“5 minute” games too crowded -> Almost a zero sum game -> Consolidation is happening
  38. 38. Birth of more complex, niche games
  39. 39. Dancing, FPS, Strategy, RPG, Racing etc</li></ul>Social games to have stand alone sites. Separate sites -> better community management and communal feeling<br /><ul><li>Less dependence on FB platform
  40. 40. Social games could utilize Facebook Connect
  41. 41. Stand alone sites monetize better compared to FB
  42. 42. Owning the users in the stand alone site
  43. 43. Zynga with farmville.com, CMUNE with paradisepaintball.cmune.com </li></li></ul><li>The END<br />Any comments? <br />sriramkri at gmail com<br />@sriramkri<br />http://cn.linkedin.com/in/sriramkrishnan <br />

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