Teasers & Temptation

This article follows on Monday’s post regarding Pricing your in-app currency, which left off on the matter of Teasing and Temptation.

Your goal in everything is to leave your customers satisfied, but always wanting more.  Good teasers of movies and games are made to get us to want to see them, to play them, ultimately to buy them. Most importantly, teasers always leave them wanting more. For a game, that means more loot, better gear, better stats, stronger abilities, new abilities, new options, adventures and challenges.

The more your customers play your game, the more they are willing to invest in it. And this is where your challenge as the developer comes in with in app currency – taking the user from free to play to pay to play. If in app currency is going to be your primary method of monetizing your app, structuring your “in game economy” is very important. It is the difference between freemium, premium and “pay to win”.

The Tease – Your first goal is simply to get each user to make a single purchase AND to be happy with it. Much easier said than done. When a player is just starting out, they don’t know how long they will play your app/game. A Teaser product attempts to engage your newest players with a low cost/high value item, whatever it may be – depending heavily upon the app/game.

If you can accomplish this, you’re halfway to doing something even more important than monetizing your app. You are halfway to establishing a very basic level of trust with your customer. The second half of this depends upon their satisfaction with your purchase – that it works as described and intended.

The real trick is setting and then exceeding customer expectations. One way to do that is to add in something a “little extra”. If in an adventure game, for example, a customer spends real money to buy 6 potions of healing, throw in an extra “sampler” – maybe a strength potion to let them see if that’s something they might find useful (and purchase later).   That strength potion?  That’s an advertisement that your non-mage customers are likely to appreciate.

Point is – the vast majority of what you are likely to sell in your in app store with in app currency is in app “virtual stuff” — and you can make an unlimited amount of it for free. What you can’t make an infinite amount of is your customer’s game time and real money.

And the Temptation

AGAIN – The more your customers play your game, the more they are willing to invest in it.

The longer you have someone playing your game, the more you have them considering the options available in your in app store. Whatever it is… you don’t need to sell it “now” just as long as you keep your players happy with your game. Equally, your pricing strategy need not be to sell large ticket items. Frankly, you would probably do better to keep your most expensive items segregated from the hottest areas in your store.

If something is commonly displayed and commonly available, ready for the asking – its relative value tends to decrease. The harder it is to obtain (not simply a measure of the pricetag), the greater its relative value. That is, players may have to achieve certain things in game or log in a certain number of times to simply unlock the ability to buy something.

The goal of temptation is to indulge players, not merely tease them. Where your teasers might be like a small slice of chocolate cake, temptation is giving them the whole cake. Instead of potions of healing, it might be an amulet of healing with five charges per day (or login). In a racing game, it is a complete car upgrade.

There is an endless range of examples out there in the market. For whatever reason though, there are also apps that appear to ignore a lot of common sense marketing that try to be something they aren’t. To be blunt, there are pay to play apps masquerading as free to play.

There are simply too many subscription model games out there that have switched to “free to play” and made more money to ignore.  This is largely a function of developing a solid basis for the game economy – and we’ll probably cover that on Friday.


Market reach counts – advertising on Opera Mobile Store can get your app in front of millions of end-users you are not likely to reach otherwise. Contact our sales team today!

If you are looking for different ways to monetize your app, you may find the following articles of interest to you:

Project Manager at the Opera Mobile Store providing Sales-Marketing support. Content development and research.

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