More and more brands (everyone from Vodafone to Boohoo) have jumped on the free-to-play gaming bandwagon recently. And why not. It’s a great way to draw in audiences and keep them coming back to your site or app. But the real smart play is not just seeing gaming as an acquisition or retention tool. Instead, see gaming as an additional revenue source in monetising your userbase.
Here are 7 sure-fire ways to unlock revenue with your own-branded game:
IAA is a proven method to generate income in free-to-play games. By strategically placing ads within your game, you can capitalize on players’ attention. Options range from display ads and interstitials to in-app pop-ups and push notifications. All ads can be served either through uploading them in the backend CMS or through Google Ads. More advanced platforms (like the one Low6’s whitelabel games sit on 😉) also allow you to send customised emails and SMS.
In-App purchases (IAPs) are a game-changer in the free-to-play ecosystem. Players can enhance their gaming experience by purchasing virtual goods directly within the game. You may have seen this in games like Call of Duty already where you can purchase weapons or health kits. There is also a ‘freemium” model where the game is free-to-play but additional content requires a purchase. In our Ultimate Fan game, for example, players can pay for additional virtual coins to purchase more packs to unlock more football players to play with.
Introducing subscription models in free-to-play games is gaining momentum. By offering premium subscriptions with added benefits you can secure a consistent revenue stream. Added benefits could include exclusive content, ad-free experiences or advanced rewards. Our UltimateFan fantasy game gave subscribers access to the best tips/advice from our Content team, additional packs to open each week and we even gave them a free UltimateFan cap to wear! These subscription models foster player loyalty and encourage long-term engagement, providing stability and predictable income. Which CFO doesn’t like a MRR line?!
Sponsorship can be a mutually beneficial strategy where you can partner with a brand and relay their messaging to your game-playing audience. This collaboration can take various forms such as gifting the game name to your Sponsor, feature them in-app display advertising or even include them within the game events. For example, the NHL partnered with Pepsico to deliver them the “Pepsi Zero Sugar NHL Goalie Challenge”. The game, built by Low6, included an innovative interactive element with players dropping cans of Pepsi on which goaltender they thought would earn a shutout.
Affiliate marketing is a powerful strategy for free-to-play games. Similar to Sponsorship above, you can partner with organizations that have a crossover audience to your brand and through affiliate links or referral codes, can track and be rewarded through driving acquisition to their brand. Our UltimateFan game in the UK had a strong GenZ/Millennial male demographic so we partnered up with Beer52 (the UK’s No.1 craft beer club) and offered users an exclusive subscription offer to sign up with them.
While free-to-play games dominate the market, releasing a paid version of your game can be a viable monetization strategy. By offering a premium version with exclusive features, early access or enhanced gameplay, your brand can target players who are willing to pay upfront for an engaging gaming experience. This is ideal for brands who already have a large userbase with a strong affinity to their products.
It’s now very much become a cliché to say “Data is the new Oil” but in the era of big data, player insights have become a valuable commodity. There a number of Data Marketplaces where you can take your anonymized and aggregated information from your gameplayers and make it available to interested parties like researchers, marketers or advertisers. This allows you to monetize your data assets while respecting privacy regulations and ensuring players consent.
Ofcourse, you aren’t restricted to just choosing one of the above monetisation strategies for your game. Implementing a combination can maximize revenue potential for free-to-play. It’s always best to consider the specific nature of the game, the target audience and market trends to select the most appropriate monetization methods.
For more details on how best to monetize or which game is relevant for your brand, drop me a DM on LinkedIN..