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Paid vs Organic

Paid Users

Paid users is the concept of acquiring users to your game with money. This is considered the fastest way and also the most effective way of getting the best quality users as they are targeted specifically to your product. These days, you can target your product to the sex, age, demographic, region, hobbies, etc etc, in such a granular way that this space has become almost a full time job to potentially find the best quality users to game. And when i mean quality, this is subjective to the company as quality can mean anything from, high retentitive users, or users that are more inclined to monetize your game. All these factors are taken into consideration when you look to acquire new users through paid networks, since it is costing your studio money.

Let’s take a look at the different forms of Paid Acquisition medium that exist in the space today.

User Acquisition with Video Ads

There’s no secret that reading is out and video is in, no different on how instagram is the top used social media platform, users just tend to find ease of just pictures or videos instead of reading a wall of text. Statistic show that over 8 billion videos are being watched on Facebook everyday. Video ads seem to be the go to app for user acquisition these days as the message is a lot more clear and users can actually see what the product looks like. Many of the popular social platform support video ads and choosing the right network can be very beneficial for your product going forward.

User Acquisition with Social Media Advertising

Social media ads are a very common place for publishers to acquire users with all the different and successful social networks that exist in the www today. Publishers create, A/B test their creatives and test these creatives on multiple social networks to see which has the best CTR (Click through rate) and CR (Conversion Rate). A very crowded space, choose at your own risk to attempt in acquiring new users in the space as many of the top app titles corner the market with the top keywords on multiple platforms. To add more context, successful titles like Clash Royale drive up the price of, let’s say the keyword “RTS” to make sure that their game is displayed first. Now to be the first displayed ad requires the bidding price for that spot to be the highest, meaning your product will be competing against games like Clash Royale if one of your keywords is "RTS" which they completely corner the market in, and you can see anywhere from $100 a CPI just to drive the competition out.

The top performing Social media advertising space would be as below:

Facebook Ads

Facebook serves you with different types of formats that can really help with your goal. You can run a lead campaign straight on Facebook. Creating campaigns and focusing on which metrics you want to optimize is Facebook’s bread and butter as they have all the data on every user. Setting your budget is the only thing stopping you from exhausting your UA budget.

Universal Campaign

Which is Google’s Ad Platform, you can advertise your app or game on several platforms, such as Google Search, Google Play, YouTube and Google Display Network. You can focus on two things in your campaign: install volume to reach the highest number of downloads, or actions within your app to aim at users that download it and take in-app action. The good thing is after adding some data, Google does the heavy lifting and adapt based on each platform.

Instagram Ads

One of the most popular social media channels at the moment. Instagram users are even more engaged than Facebook’s audience. As a photo platform, so, images and videos engages users better and perform better than text. However, don’t forget to double check if your audience is on Instagram. The majority of the audience is under 30 and there are slightly more women than men. Your ad can show up on Instagram’s feed or/and Stories. The cost of it works just like Facebook’s.

Twitter Ads

The best way to promote yourself on Twitter is by using a media card. It can be an image or even a gif. You can optimize your campaigns just like on Facebook, based on your goal. Twitter gives you the possibility of targeting followers of specific pages and also interests. Just remember that Twitter is a fast-paced social media, so prioritize brevity on your ad. On this platform, you have to specify a daily budget.

Snapchat Ads

Even though many believed that Snapchat would succumb to Instagram Stories, it didn’t happen. It’s a social media really focused on young people, but the prices aren’t as a good as they are on other platforms. So, it’s a must to research your target audience before going for it. In case you choose Snapchat, remember that your ad should be a video. To run a one-month ad, you would need a budget of around $1.000.

Organic Users

Organic users is the concept of not using a dime and getting players to download your game. Apple themselves has also mentioned that 65% of downloads come from players searching for them in the search versus direct links from targeted ads. That 65% represents the organic potential of your game. Now how you go about getting these players to search for your game in the appstore has everything to do with how the players heard of found out about your game. Whether it from an in-game system where players are rewarded with a referral system or a user sharing his/her accomplishment on social media. Deep linking your game and getting the word out there that your game is available in the store is the first step and increasing your organic growth of your product.

The current rule of thumb when publishing your game is to focus on 70 / 30 rule with Users Acquisition, where 70% come through as organic users and 30% of them are paid users. This ratio is something very common in the app store space and it represent a number that publishers don’t want to exceed as this seem to be the profit margin breaking point.

I would delve in deeper about how to effectively grow your organic users in a different post but first, i’m hoping that you guys understand the different platforms that provide the service to purchase users on their platform.

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