Virality and Niche games - Social Gaming

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How to develop a viral app? …

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

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