At Agora, we help businesses and startups across a variety of industries incorporate live video, voice and interactive streaming solutions into their platforms and apps. While each of our clients has different wants and needs, many ask the same question: “How can I monetize my app?”
Monetization is particularly important in mobile gaming as many gaming apps operate on a freemium model and are free to download, relying on user engagement or in-app purchases to drive revenue streams. While ads and premium in-game items are proven paths to monetization, gaming studios and developers can also get a boost by encouraging their users to interact with each other through live engagement features.
Monetization Begins with Live Engagement
According to a report from Appboy, 25 percent of users fail to return to an app the day after they first use it. In other words, the number of times a gaming app has been downloaded is not necessarily indicative of success. Other important factors, such as a game’s retention rate or the number of daily active users (DAU), should also be taken into consideration, as they can contribute to the overall engagement level of an app, which affects its monetization capabilities.
Here are some other engagement metrics developers and business managers should keep in mind as they look to monetize their gaming apps:
User stickiness. A “sticky” app attracts users regularly and offers more opportunities to monetize.
Average session length. One session typically begins with the opening of the application and is averaged across all daily active users.
App growth. It’s not enough to be a one-hit-wonder. To consistently grow its revenue, an app must grow and improve its user base, engagement, and platform over time.
Keeping users engaged so they stay within the app for longer periods of time and return often isn’t always easy, however. That’s why a growing number of gaming apps, such as group video chat poker app Pokerface and popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game Vainglory, are utilizing live communication features like interactive streaming and in-game voice chat to increase engagement and monetize their apps.
Offering in-app purchases is common in the mobile gaming space. In fact, in-app purchases have begun to take over paid-for revenue models in mobile gaming. For live communications-enabled gaming apps, there are even more opportunities to incorporate in-app purchases as gamers play and interact together in real-time.
What started as a popular trend among Chinese platforms like YY, Inke, Panda.tv, and Momo have become more common in the West with the rise of social live streaming applications like Livestar and MeetMe. Virtual gifts are typically non-physical objects that are purchased by users and sent to broadcasters in exchange for creating high-quality or entertaining live video and voice content. The gift is then exchanged for currency, which is split between the broadcaster and the hosting platform or application.
Virtual gifting is available predominantly in social live streaming apps, but the trend has started to catch on in the video game live streaming space as well. For example, Twitch recently created its own virtual gifting system in which viewers can purchase virtual goods, or “bits,” to support their favorite streamers.
Game developers can take advantage of virtual gifting by incorporating an in-game gifting feature in their apps and allowing players to buy virtual gifts for their friends or family members who also play the game. A feature that allows gamers to “level up” through in-app purchases is another effective way to monetize.
Filters and Avatars
When Snapchat first introduced AR filters in 2016, the filters were such a hit with users that other major apps began to implement their own versions and soon enough. The trend became ubiquitous among all social platforms and eventually extended into the mobile gaming space with AR games like Kitten Craze and Flying Face.
Game developers can take a cue from these social and gaming apps’ strategies by creating their own unique, personalized filters and avatars that not only draw users but keep them engaged for longer periods of times. This includes both face filters and voice changing effects, so players can enjoy a truly personalized social gaming experience.
Taking Advantage of In-Game Live Engagement Features
To help developers and companies create engaging gaming apps, Agora offers a variety of high-quality, scalable real-time communications solutions that can be easily and quickly integrated. Agora’s SDKs come with a powerful tech stack for delivering live video and voice directly from inside your app, while Agora’s Software Defined Real-Time Network™ (SD-RTN™) ensures that every user sees and hears clearly in real-time.
To make the most of real-time engagement experiences and enable its customers to monetize their apps, Agora offers over 600 different AR stickers, virtual gifting capabilities, and filters—all of which can be customized for your gaming app. Developers can also use Agora’s mobile gaming SDK to take advantage of 3D spatial audio. Ideal for an immersive multiplayer gaming experience, 3D spatial audio allows players to locate each other by sound using proximity-based hearing to sense and determine other players’ positions.
To learn more about how Agora can help you engage with your users and monetize your gaming app, talk to our team.