Push(ing) Mobile Gaming in the right direction

The phrase “when push comes to shove” accurately describes the climate in today’s mobile gaming space; the cost of user acquisition is soaring, the attention span of the average daily user is fleeting and the competition in the app store is fierce. What’s an app developer to do? Take advantage of the device’s native communication channels and message your customer base in a sophisticated manner, leveraging all the data at your fingertips. 
Push notifications are the antidote for today’s gaming woes, but they have to be done right to have the desired effect. Broadcast push notifications are primitive, non-personalized and untargeted. The push paradigms of tomorrow will leverage a wealth of behavioral, device and BI data to make intelligent decisions on who to message and when, localized by time zone and highly accurate in terms of the call-to-action. 

You can’t make it relevant without segmentation
There’s no such thing as one relevant message for your entire user base. ‘Recency’ and frequency of users has to create basic segmentation. Your most recent downloaders need to be coddled and nurtured; you need to educate them on the value that’s in every app you publish. Users that return one or twice a week are demonstrating a level of engagement and you need to foster greater engagement. These are very different segments. Your new subscribers will drop like flies: eight out of ten new users will abandon an app in the first 30 days. These users are a segment unto themselves and are not ready to receive offers and discounts. They will not monetize, they will simply churn out faster. 
Push notifications are a means to reach opted-in users, and by analyzing user behavior and then segmenting appropriately, smart app publishers will find the means by which to decrease user churn. At OtherLevels we call this kind of approach an ‘early retention program’; at the end of the day you can’t monetize users that you can’t retain, so retention is step one. Once you’ve kept users from deleting your app, you want to engage them with content and features that build on that retention. Only once you have primed the pump through retention and engagement do you start cranking up the volume on monetization. 

Push and Rich: The One-Two Punch
Push notifications are an important aspect to any mobile app, but push is only one slice of the mobile communication pie. The rich inbox can extend an app publisher’s ability to deliver engaging content by creating a message format within the app that not only mimics email – a very familiar message type – but creates continuity from push to app through deep linking. A push notification can deliver a deep link to a rich inbox notification, that by the way can be changed on the fly allowing for testing and optimization opportunities because it pulls data from the server. 
There are numerous more examples of how push and other native mobile messaging channels can drive user engagement and help feed the monetization funnel. The most important thing app publishers need to do in the coming year is be able to view push with the same level of sophistication in terms of targeting and segmentation inherent in other digital communication channels like web and email. Only then will the real value of push notifications become manifest in the gaming space.

About OtherLevels 
OtherLevels enables publishers to engage, retain and monetize their mobile audiences through mobile messaging analytics. The OtherLevels platform includes segmentation, targeting and retargeting tools providing both to-device and on-device messaging analytics. Through real-time optimisation, including live A/B testing and time zone based delivery, marketers and CRM managers can maximize campaign outcomes by linking individual message copy to in App events.
OtherLevels supports both in-house and vendor push and SMS messaging solutions, across native App and mobile web platforms. Enterprise level BI and marketing integration with leading campaign management tools enhance and extend the ability of companies to deliver relevant content. OtherLevels supports global clients at scale, the largest having in excess of 500 Million app downloads and across 20+ languages. Headquartered in San Francisco, OtherLevels has a growing team – with offices in London and Brisbane Australia.
Len Shneyder is marketing manager at OtherLevels. Reach him at len.shneyder@otherlevels.com.