We’re in the age of a digital explosion. From digital advertisements in Times Square and billboards along the freeway, to our handheld mobile devices—digital trumps our everyday lives. These are just a few examples of the various message delivery channels marketers can pursue to reach their target audiences. Hyper-casual games is one underestimated delivery channel that’s proven highly effective in generating revenue.
Hyper-Casual Games Defined
Hyper-casual games started as arcade games and now are now accessible on mobile devices. Some people attribute “hyper” to these games’ addictive and fast paced nature and associate “casual” to convenience on mobile. Ultimately, these games are easy to learn and require little attention.
Some examples of the oldest hyper-casual video games include Space Travel and Pong. Most young people today aren’t familiar with these classic hyper-casual games. However, the power of mobile devices has transformed gaming by bringing classics like Tetris to smartphone app stores. This accessibility and simple game mechanics are two factors that led hyper-casual games to go viral.
Five Common Hyper-Casual Game Mechanics
Timing mechanics are common among most hyper-casual games. The difficulty of these games are determined by the speed at which each round plays. This can cause rounds to be extremely short from a user standpoint. Game creators recognize that losing within seconds can frustrate a consumer. To solve this, successful hyper-casual games offer multiple lives or chances to reduce the risk of losing a user.
Agility mechanics are often found in hyper-casual games because they encourage the user to act fast. A classic agility game most people are familiar with is Pac-Man. As the game increases to new levels, the speed at which you move becomes more important. Agility mechanic games becomes highly addictive for people who want to beat their current high score.
A more relaxed type of hyper-casual game generally involves puzzle mechanics. The puzzle category in app stores was responsible for 60 percent of in-app purchases in 2018. One example of these popular hyper-games is Tetris. Puzzle pieces fall into place and the user must place them together, but mistakes in placement make this game most challenging.
In games using merge mechanics, you usually combine or swap cells in a row or column to achieve the game’s goal. In Candy Crush Saga, for example, you swap pieces of candy between two cells to align three or more of the same variety, eliminating those pieces. This is a simple — but addictive — user experience.
As the pieces fall into place and more are eliminated, the chain reaction of candy crushing stimuli contributes to an even more addictive experience. At times, the user isn’t even playing, but happy to indulge their senses as the pieces continue to work themselves into a winning position.
Games that require the player to move on a track or move out of the way of oncoming hazards use swerve mechanics. Voodoo’s Twisty Road, for example, has the goal of keeping a ball on a narrow roadway. Temple Run and Subway Surfers are similar examples where you avoid death traps while endlessly running.
The goal of one of the most popular hyper-active games of all time, Flappy Bird, is to keep the bird in flight while avoiding hazardous obstacles.
All of these mechanics are intended to keep users entertained and engaged within gameplay.
Four Hyper-Casual Games Marketing & Monetization Strategies
Knowing the basics of hyper-casual game mechanics and why people enjoy playing them is crucial to understanding in-game marketing and monetization. Let’s dive into how marketers can extend their messages to consumers via hyper-casual games. Four common ways hyper-casual games monetize are advertising, cross-promotion, in-app purchases, and premium app strategy.
In-app advertising is one of the primary sources of cash inflows for hyper-casual games. CleverTap notes that 56% of revenue came from ads in September 2018. This shows the power of mobile marketing. One of the biggest mistakes a marketer can make with in-app ads is displaying popup ads or display ads during a user’s gameplay. This can put your company at high risk of uninstallation. Successful marketers place ads in between gameplay levels or gameplay pauses.
Cross-promotion has lead to the success of companies such as Voodoo and Ketchapp. In fact, their marketing efforts helped them reach 48% of all arcade game downloads. While some don’t see the value in cross-promotion, a high risk can result in high reward.
Users tend to cycle through mobile apps. In fact, 77% of users uninstall an app in at least three days. Cross-promoting encourages users to download a new app. This takes the place of the one they’re soon to delete.
In-app purchases is a favored monetization strategy especially for freemium apps. Freemium apps are the most standard version of an app that limits user gameplay. Marketers can target freemium app users to purchase additional levels, boosters, or currency to gain cash flow in exchange for their free download. Not everyone will purchase within an app, so it’s important to include inexpensive options for users to increase the likelihood of a purchase.
Premium App Strategy
The opposite of freemium apps is premium apps. Premium apps are priced at $0.99 or more and account for 43% of mobile apps in the App Store. Depending on your app’s value, consumers will contemplate whether or not your app is worth a purchase. If you fear this will limit your revenue, simply have a freemium option to win users' trust.
Mobile has taken over our world and mobile marketers need to be savvy to help their companies succeed. Hyper-casual games is an excellent place to start if your target audience exists here. This visual guide to hyper-casual games does an excellent job summing up hyper-casual game history and monetization strategies. Identify a strategy that works best for your business before the mobile landscape changes. Ready. Set. Go!Thanks again to KC Karnes for this guest post. KC is a well-known marketing strategist and entrepreneur responsible for growing some of the hottest technology companies in Silicon Valley, including CleverTap, the Intelligent Mobile Marketing Platform. You can view the original article here.