6 Steps To Improve In-App Purchases in Game

6 Steps To Improve In-App Purchases in Game

According to to Statista, the Global in-game spending is foreseen to reach 32 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. That is a huge growth in revenue from 22 billion U.S. dollars in 2015. These numbers simply tell that the potential and opportunity of in-app purchases as a form of revenue in the gaming industry is also increasing. However, the challenges are out as well. In-app purchases can be controversial as users have mixed sentiments, with various reactions from supportive to undesirable. Some users perceive in-app purchases as a way of giving back support to a game they play and enjoy, especially if it is a free-to-play game. On the other hand, there are some users who perceive in-app purchases as fraudulent. They may interpret the situation to be lured into a game which is supposedly free, but once in, they are demanded to pay and spend money in order to further advance, or fully enjoy the game.

Thus, it is important for anyone involved in game creation to optimize your in-app purchase functions as a form of revenue while keeping your users feel comfortable, and obtaining their trust, and keep them playing your game positively. In order to optimize, however, you also need to consider that it’s a long process which requires a comprehensive understanding of your user’s purchasing decision.

Here, we’ve listed up the 6 steps to help you improve in-app purchases and to identify the possible factors that positively motivate your users to spend on your game.

6 Steps To Improve In-App Purchases in Game

It is essential to know what drives your users to make an in-app purchase. So let’s get started.

1. Identifying Your Users: Who Actually Spends?

This is the most important step, to begin with when improving in-app purchases. You need to identify who your customers are before executing the plan of your in-app purchase game. Meaning to say, you can’t just improve your in-app purchases without having a proper understanding of your buyer’s data.

To retain in-app purchases and have an opportunity to increase future purchases, these are the  following important questions you must answer about your users:

  1. What are the users’ demographics? (gender, age, location, etc.)
  2. When did they download my game? (time, date, season)
  3. Where and how did my game appear from the app store charts at the same time?
  4. How long did it take them to make a purchase after downloading?
  5. When did they start to purchase? (time, date, season)
  6. What is the most common stage or level that they purchase in?
  7. How much time are they spending on your game?
  8. What are the types of items they mostly buy, and how much does it cost?
  9. How long have they had the game installed?

You must answer these questions in order to know your customers. You need to learn who is more likely to perform many purchases. Is it men, women, teens or adults? What country or region are they from? Those who just downloaded the app and made in-app purchases, are they returning loyal users? What do users do in common right before they perform an in-app purchase?

Once you have answered the questions above and sorted them into groups, these will act as your primary player segments. These will help you have a better understanding of your users’ purchasing behavior and discover the factors that encourage users to make an in-app purchase. The gathered data here can also help you shape your pricing strategy, game plan, and game marketing.

2. Modify Your Virtual Products

Make sure to have an in-app store assigned exclusively to your in-app purchases. This should be hassle-free for users to find. Try to maintain it with visually appealing, easy to use, and straight to the point details.

Here are the main components you must consider in modifying your virtual goods:

  • Item Title – The very first thing is choosing a title for your in-app items. Your items title can be catchy, funny, unique or something that would appeal to your users’ interests in a remarkable way to encourage them to buy it.
  • DescriptionThis is where you need to explain each item function. The item description doesn’t require to be explained in a formal way. It can be informal depending on your game environment. You just need to describe the item in a way that users can easily understand.
  • Personalized ItemsOne of the most unique ways to persuade your users to buy is to offer them customized or personalized items. For example, allowing your users to edit an item’s name. It can be the player’s preference what to name their item or to even be able to put the name that can be seen on the design of the item itself. It makes the item feel more intimate to the users.
  • Offer consumablesConsumables are kind of items that are intended to be used up and can be replenished. For example, there are in-game weapons that can be consumed such as arrows for bows, bombs; or even restorative items like potions. Consumables are also the most popular items that you can offer to users. According to a study by Flurry, there are over 57 million purchases in both Android and iOS platforms showing that consumable items make up the largest part in overall revenue compared to other kinds of in-app purchases.
  • Offer unlockablesUnlockable items are in-app purchases that unlock content or features that are considered permanent, which means once users buy it, they don’t need to buy it again. These “unlockables” can include content, such as an expansion to a game or special features that could give an additional experience for users.

3. Make in-app purchase an easy option

In-app purchases shouldn’t be hard for users. However, making it the only way to advance in a game is a very wrong move. For example, if you have a free-to-play game, users download your game simply because they can play it for free. So, letting users struggle over purchase demands could immediately initiate your users to quit your game.

Instead, think of how in-app purchases could be less of a hurdle for your users. Here are some examples:

  1. You can offer some advantages to users who are willing to spend. For other groups less willing, you could create appropriate packages that fit their needs. For example, you may create some affordable in-game item bundles or a purchase bonus to encourage new users to make a purchase.
  2. You can offer bonus items if they purchase in bulk quantities from your shop. The more the user buys, the cheaper the item becomes. This offer includes, buy 10 gacha box, get 1 extra gacha box for free. This will give them a better value for money and encourage them to buy more.
  3. Give them a sense of urgency to buy.  You can make limited-time offers and also provide exclusive items available at a limited time. However, this strategy is not advisable if your game had just been launched. Because time plays a huge factor when it comes to a user’s purchasing decisions and players won’t buy if they don’t find your game engaging enough. They won’t feel any urgency to buy limited items yet especially if they don’t see your game worthy enough to invest resources for the long haul.

Moreover, try to work on reducing the barriers to in-app purchases, and make it as easy as possible to complete a purchase. Add multiple payment methods for the users to choose, such as enabling App store purchases, Paypal, Credit/Debit, or other virtual cards. Make it as simple as possible for the user to complete a transaction.  How you follow up after a purchase is also equally important. Make sure to keep it easy for users to see their balance in the game (in the case of in-app currencies like gems) and how their purchases have been used.

4. Extend your player selections

Enabling users to have a variety of helpful items and virtual goods in your game shop can drive multiple in-game purchases. Since not all users are going to repurchase the same in-game item every time, offering more options could give your users a reason to come back.

It is important to update your items on the in-app store. Seasonally, you can also add new item selections to the shop. The more new goods users can purchase to advance in the game, the more reason for them to keep on purchasing. However, do not try to do it frequently because the more often you add new items, the more often they would feel that their previous purchase was not worthy, which can stop them from buying.

Take cautions of having too many selections because according to Forbes, too many options can discourage people from making a choice altogether or unable to complete their purchase. Try to determine which items are not driving purchase, so that you can decide what items to remove or add.

5. Keep your price right and consistent

Expensive items can be intimidating for users. A good way to motivate them in making in-app purchases is planning a reasonable pricing strategy with great deals. Now, pricing can be tricky because pricing points don’t guarantee a high revenue. However, it will have an impact on how many you can sell. You can’t really tell what’s the “best” price to offer, sometimes inexpensive items can give you the potential to earn a high revenue, but setting the price too high can discourage the users from buying in the first place.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Try to create budget-friendly offers. Try to consider your player’s resources according to the group of users you created in Point 1 of this article. Offer them what they can afford.
  2. Creating a sale or discount is great, but make sure to make your prices and information clear for the users in order to avoid misunderstanding and confusion.
  3. Create steady prices. Having a consistent structure across your catalog of the in-app store is important, so your users won’t get upset and feel cheated.
  4. Try to have an experiment with your price points and see what is best for you. One way to do that is through A/B testing. This is where you can give different prices to different sets of users, and compare the conversion rates. Also, you may try to select the pricing point that is not only producing the highest conversion rate, but would get you the highest earnings.

Conversion Rate = (Number of Purchases / Number of Users) x 100

6. Make use of alerts and notifications wisely

Notifications can act as a reminder, suggestion, or recommendation for all the features that users can buy to optimize their gameplay. Through sending alerts of new items, an item on sale, power boosts, or lives available, you may help some users get past the challenging levels. But, do not overdo it.

Keep your notifications relevant, helpful, and timely. Make sure not to annoy your users so much that they end up ignoring anything you send to them.

Help your users and provide customer support!

Whatever your strategy is to improve in-app purchases, one of the most important things you shouldn’t forget is to have customer support for your game. With this, your users can always reach out for help. You need to address in-app purchases concerns such as difficulty in the payment process, unwanted pending charges, and unreflected purchases because users can be easily upset especially when wasting their hard-earned cash. Offering customer support could prevent your upset users from quitting the game. When customers feel that they are being cared via excellent customer service, they will conclude that every money spent on your game will all be worth it. This also builds trust between the company and the users.

Learn more about how to prevent your players from quitting: https://cs-agents.com/blog/gamers-customer-support/

Improving In-App Purchases Is A Great Way For Gaming Monetization

Encouraging your users to make a purchase in your game is a critical task, but do not make it a must. You need to plan it all from the very beginning as you’re setting out a pathway for your game. In order to improve in-app purchases, you need to track your users’ behavior towards your game. This is because proper analysis of users’ data can deliver actionable insights that can improve app retention, engagement, and monetization viewpoints. 

Gaming companies should always consider users characteristics in order to meet users desires in-game. Defining your buyer persona is a good step to start. Segment your users in different groups according to their budget, as well as according to the data you have gathered. Knowing your users purchasing capabilities may help you to make offers and create prices that are reasonable for them. Take good care of the users who are price-sensitive as they can be easily intimidated with high priced items and may discourage them from making a purchase.

Treat all your users as a special guest and there will be more chances that they will be satisfied with your game. Work hard to retain users who are more likely willing to pay. You may also want to give extra care for those users who are price-sensitive as they can be easily intimidated with high priced items and may discourage them from making a purchase. Moreover, never ignore those potential paying users as they can be your biggest opportunity to grow your in-app purchases revenue.