What Enterprises Can Learn From Gaming Industry About Mobile Apps

1 - What Enterprises Can Learn From Gaming Industry About Mobile Apps
2 - Understand Revenue Drivers First
3 - Test and Optimize
4 - Timing Matters
5 - True Success Is in the Retention
6 - Breed Customer Loyalty With Rewards
7 - Learn From Your Users
8 - Always Make It Personal
9 - Build Brands That Captivate People
10 - Create Competition and Social Identity
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What Enterprises Can Learn From Gaming Industry About Mobile Apps

The mobile gaming industry can teach a lot to enterprises when it comes to engaging users. Here are some tips to help companies make their mobile apps more engaging.

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Understand Revenue Drivers First

Games can be wildly successful or infamously tricky to monetize. To ensure investments pay off, game creators typically will spend a good amount of time before launching an app testing and optimizing exactly how the user experiences play out and will establish how effectively a specific title generates revenue. Only when the sums add up is the game officially launched and the acquisition budget is committed. In a similar way, enterprises should be confident that the experience of its mobile app is near-perfect before launching. When it comes to mobile, you don't get a second chance with users—about 20 percent of apps are used only once, so it's crucial to take the time to ensure your mobile app gets the job done in terms of meeting revenue objectives before a full launch.

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Test and Optimize

Just like a mobile game, your app will live or die based on the user's first experience. Before driving users into the app with user acquisition campaigns, take a step back and review the overall experience. One thing that mobile game developers do quite well is consistent testing and optimization of their apps. This is an ongoing process in the gaming industry that drives successful app experiences. Enterprises can optimize their apps in a similar way with A/B testing (sometimes referred to as "split" testing), which compares two versions of an app to see which version performs better. Enterprises also can leverage behavioral data within the app to optimize customer experiences.

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Timing Matters

Timing is everything. As a marketer, you're trying to win your customers' favor—not something that's likely to happen if you catch them at the wrong time. When users open an app and get a face full of marketing content, they aren't likely to respond positively. Publishers have learned to analyze funnels through stages and appropriately alter the gaming experience based on a user's progression in the game. First time user experience (FTUE) is one area that directly correlates with the success of an app. If your users have a bad first experience, they likely will delete your app immediately. Enterprise apps need to analyze user behavior and marketing content at the times it would be most welcomed.

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True Success Is in the Retention

According to Statista, the overall number of mobile phone users is expected to grow to 4.61 billion in 2016 and 4.77 billion in 2017. Companies spend a huge amount of money on both acquisition and development, but poor retention numbers kill the ROI on those spends. And poor mobile marketing campaigns, whether push or in-app, kill those retention numbers. A well-constructed mobile lifecycle strategy can increase mobile revenues by 15 percent to 35 percent, a significant difference. Users who don't feel pressured are more likely to stay and thus more likely to add to that ultimate ROI.

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Breed Customer Loyalty With Rewards

People love to feel that they've won, and most mobile games have tantalizing incentives built right into the gaming experience. The chance to unlock a new level, for example, is often enough to keep players invested—even if the going gets tough. The retail equivalent would be preorders. Preordering comes with its own challenges, but it is still an extremely successful marketing strategy for retailers and game creators. Tying preorders to perks such as downloadable content, in-app advantages or special offerings at targeted times, for example, lays a foundation for happy, loyal customers.

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Learn From Your Users

Over the past few years, the bar to entry for game development has dropped. As the market becomes flooded with new products, it has become more difficult to differentiate apps. There is more pressure to deliver quickly, and quality needs to be higher than ever. The games industry pioneered ways for publishers to communicate with users via chat, email and in-game messages to make their products better. Communicating with early users—who often tend to be the most passionate—is a great way to bring in customer insight early and set the stage for a community of dedicated users. In-app conversations allow game makers to develop personal relationships with their users, build loyalty and grow more stably.

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Always Make It Personal

According to eMarketer research, over the next three years consumers will expect the mobile experience to go beyond the "one size fits all" model and become more personalized, but also able to adapt and react to location. In other words, personalization has become something customers not only want, but expect. Companies need to know how their users are behaving within the app and what events are taking place as a result of their actions. Companies need to listen if they want to get personal. You know your users' names, locations, languages, what they have been doing on your app, what products they've been browsing and more; use this information to talk to them in a way that is helpful. That's what will win you customers for the long term.

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Build Brands That Captivate People

Game creators generate back stories because they understand people are social and enjoy having context. Part of that storytelling is branding. It is rare to see a video game with a self-explanatory title. Instead, their names are often deliberately intriguing, hinting at the story the game will eventually tell. Gaming companies also enjoy one of the highest levels of brand loyalty. Marketers stand to learn a lot from gaming companies about creative endeavors such as developing a tagline, picking a brand name or selecting a domain. This shouldn't be shocking: Video game companies are the ultimate marketers when it comes to the adoption of new technology and creation of brand buzz.

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Create Competition and Social Identity

People are naturally competitive, and the chance to compete against their peers often is seen as a fun way to socialize within a community. This is one of the major draws of games such as "Words With Friends," which allows users to sync with people they really know. There's no reason that enterprise applications can't do something similar. Awarding users points or "gamifying" app use makes the application stickier and more difficult to ignore.