More than 750 iOS games are released every day, and adding games for all other platforms to this number, the total easily amounts to more than one thousand.
It typically takes months, even years, to produce a quality game, and it requires huge investment. Therefore, game developers take extreme effort to avoid wasting their work, time, and money for nothing. Since games constitute 8 out of 10 of the top-grossing apps on mobile and 9 out of 10 on tablet, it certainly looks like game developers have discovered the magic formula for success.
Retention is the key
The primary metric for every experienced developer is retention, meaning the number of users who return to the app 1, 3, 7, 30 or 90 days after first use. When 100 users run the app on day 0 and 50 users open the app again on the following day, then Day 1 retention is 50%. When 10 users return to the app 7 days later, then Day 7 retention is 10%, and so on.
This one number serves as a yardstick for developers to assess the quality of their product. The higher the retention, the more users return to the app and the greater probability that users enjoy the product, make an in-app purchase, or recommend the app to their friends. There is logic to it, as users who abandon the app neither see the content offered nor spend any money on it. Just as purchasers cannot make a purchase in a store which they never visit.
The rules of the gaming world apply equally in the world of publishing. The more often users revisit the site of a publisher, the greater the probability that they generate more impressions, view more ads, and so increase the publisher’s advertising revenue. On top of this, the more frequently users visit the site, the more likely they are to share its content on social media or send a link to a friend by email. This way, users generate additional views, which in turn drive additional revenue.
Publishers often limit their digital retention marketing to trying to attract as many fans as possible to their Facebook page and then boost their Facebook posts by paid campaigns. They waste their money and energy by continually losing control over their visitors.There are better and more effective means available to publishers to turn a one-time visitor into a returning user:
1. Great content and regular updates
Quality content is the main idea. Quality content is why people visit websites in the first place and it is also the top reason they return. No matter how impressive design, UX, marketing, or hardware a website boasts, when it lacks content, it is like the emperor who has no clothes.
2. Content personalization
The more content you create since the user’s last visit, the more vital it is to present individually tailored content that the user is likely to be interested in. Data is the new gold—collect, analyze, and evaluate, and, based on your findings, serve the user personalized content, such as on the landing page or in the Recommended section below individual articles.
3. Email newsletters
The internet is saturated with content. That is why relevant content served to the user’s mailbox on a regular basis makes an exceptionally important retention tool. Newsletters are a natural extension of great website content, the number one rule. Users are less likely to unsubscribe from your newsletter if you deliver personalized content and don’t bother users with things they are not interested in.
Did you know that theSkimm newsletter, which is sent daily, has 3.5 million subscribers, all the while producing minimum content?
Try to persuade your readers, whether on the web or a mobile app, to allow you to send notifications of major events or hot news. These push notifications have a high CTR, generating maximum bang for minimum buck. Be careful though, all in good measure.
5. Community and the power of comments
Do your visitors engage in lively discussions on your site? Great! Your community comprises your most loyal fans, those who generate lots of content, high revenue (from advertising), and bring new users to your site. Focus on developing tools to make it easier and more enjoyable for your community to engage with your site. And once again, use notifications to alert users when someone responds to their post or when they receive a private message.
These days, when unique visitor numbers are the first and the last, publishers concentrate primarily on visitor acquisition. What they neglect is paying attention to retaining their visitors. The case of game developers illustrates that quality takes precedence over quantity. The key ingredients in building a successful site are achieving high retention and developing tools and strategies to further increase retention. Online media have the means to measure and evaluate the loyalty of their readers, but are they utilizing them as well as they could?