Why game developers should embrace player churn

Churn. It’s an ugly word.

Game developers are naturally concerned about player retention. But eventually even the most ardent player loses interest in a game. It’s normal. It’s part of the cycle.

And so it’s also normal when developers are inclined to squeeze the absolute maximum revenue out of people before they’re gone forever. However, trying desperately to monetize your players only increases churn, aggravating the problem.

“Raising squeeze on players not only results in reduced engagement but also higher player churn, with revenue cannibalization occurring in future quarters,” wrote Atul Bagga, former CFO for game developer Zynga Asia wrote in a VentureBeat guest column earlier this year.

This situation has led many companies to shift their focus from customer acquisition to retention in the hope of boosting the cost-effectiveness of their marketing strategies.

Still, this doesn’t address the fundamental problem that retention efforts might be targeting people simply ready to move on to the next thing. And if players aren’t really interested in your kind of game, there’s not much point in spending money to try and keep them around.

It’s a vicious circle: Either you try to squeeze them and risk a spike in your churn rates, or you might end up wasting time and resources in a vain attempt to keep them around a bit longer.

“Monetization is always a challenge in the gaming industry,” Eyal Grundstein, VP of growth and user acquisition at GSN Games, told VentureBeat in August. “The biggest challenge right now is monetizing the other 95 percent.”

That’s a huge chunk of your audience not making you a single cent. And if players aren’t going to stick with your game anyway, wouldn’t it be great if you could still monetize them and create a whole new revenue stream for your business? So why not simply sell them?

Now, I’m naturally not talking about actually selling a person from one game developer to another. Consumers should always remain in control of their data. But there’s a more elegant way: Securely giving access to inactive players based on their gaming preferences and other factors like how long they’ve been dormant.

Our Berlin-based start-up allows developers to do just that with the first peer-to-peer game marketing platform. Launched only in March, Simplaex already counts many of the game industry’s biggest companies as its clients.

Using solely first-party data and its own real-time bidder, our new platform completely bypasses the traditional ecosystem for digital marketing. We expect to have direct access to over 100 million players any day now.

This marketplace can be used rather effectively for both player acquisition and retention. Capturing in-game events of players in real-time, developers can use it to target customers and tailor marketing campaigns on a granular level. Simplaex also offers personalization options to engage and reengage users throughout the lifecycle of a game.

But the platform also creates an entirely new revenue stream by monetizing churn. This “selling” of players that are no longer actively playing a game is highly customizable. For example, a developer can choose to offer players dormant in the past 7 to 15 days, or even select those gamers still active but whose gameplay is already beginning to taper off.

It’s important to stress this does not increase churn, it merely allows developers to monetize players that would have left a game regardless.

And players benefit from narrowly targeted marketing campaigns showing them games tailored to their specific preferences rather than blunt and ineffectual advertising. Customer data always remains with the original developer — Simplaex simply facilitates access for another company interested in a certain player profile.

The seller creates new revenue, the buyer gains solid leads, and the player receives relevant offers: It’s a win-win-win situation.

So churn doesn’t have to be such an ugly word after all. At least not when it’s monetized.

LATEST NEWS

Simplaex Is Leading The Next Mobile Wave In Transforming Data Into Insights And Insights Into Action

Simplaex, experts in marketing mobile games, has recently closed its successful A-round funding. The Berlin-based company will use the capital to expand into new verticals and deliver its proprietary technology to a broader customer base. To this end, Simplaex is positioning itself as the most advanced data insight & activation platform. Below is our recent interview with Jeff van Ede, Co Founder & CEO of Simplaex:

First-party Data Innovator Simplaex Closes $2.6 Million Funding Round

Simplaex, experts in marketing mobile games, has successfully closed its A-round funding. The Berlin-based company will use the capital to expand into new verticals and deliver its proprietary technology to a broader customer base. Helping to drive this expansion will be Perry Ofir, Simplaex's newly-appointed CRO who was formerly VP of Sales & Business Development at Adgorithms.Simplaex launched in April 2016 as a groundbreaking marketing platform for game developers. In the twelve months since, it has grown into a sophisticated data marketplace with over 300 million unique user profiles. On the back of this impressive growth, the company is now looking to expand beyond the gaming industry.

Simplaex Surpasses 150 Million Players for Game Developer Platform

Simplaex, a revolutionary peer-to-peer platform for game developers, now offers direct access to over 150 million players. The important milestone comes just ten months after the Berlin-based start-up set out to transform game marketing. Developed together with some of the world's leading game companies, Simplaex is laser focused on the two main pillars of the industry's business model: Acquiring players and finding a way to monetize them. The groundbreaking technology completely bypasses the traditional way of game marketing, giving developers immediate access to a transparent and effective player marketplace.

First-party Data Innovator Simplaex Closes $2.6 Million Funding Round

Simplaex, experts in marketing mobile games, has successfully closed its A-round funding. The Berlin-based company will use the capital to expand into new verticals and deliver its proprietary technology to a broader customer base. Helping to drive this expansion will be Perry Ofir, Simplaex's newly-appointed CRO who was formerly VP of Sales & Business Development at Adgorithms.Simplaex launched in April 2016 as a groundbreaking marketing platform for game developers. In the twelve months since, it has grown into a sophisticated data marketplace with over 300 million unique user profiles. On the back of this impressive growth, the company is now looking to expand beyond the gaming industry.

Simplaex Surpasses 150 Million Players for Game Developer Platform

Simplaex, a revolutionary peer-to-peer platform for game developers, now offers direct access to over 150 million players. The important milestone comes just ten months after the Berlin-based start-up set out to transform game marketing. Developed together with some of the world's leading game companies, Simplaex is laser focused on the two main pillars of the industry's business model: Acquiring players and finding a way to monetize them. The groundbreaking technology completely bypasses the traditional way of game marketing, giving developers immediate access to a transparent and effective player marketplace.

Simplaex launches the first peer-to-peer marketing platform for game developers to buy, engage and sell players

Simplaex is officially launching its next generation marketing technology platform at GDC 2016 in San Francisco that solves the problem of today's user acquisition and retention in both mobile and online gaming. Since the introduction of the F2P business model the gaming advertising industry has developed into an ecosystem that is controlled by networks, agencies, brokers and resellers. Game developers and game players are more disconnected than ever before.

Why the game marketing ecosystem is ripe for disruption

For many game developers, the traditional way of promoting their products online is broken beyond repair. With no direct digital access to potential customers, they depend on an ungainly mix of ad exchanges, media buying platforms, data aggregators, agencies, and resellers. The results of such a tangled web are predictable: Unfair prices, low-quality leads and surging churn rates. This unsatisfying situation has led many game developers to shift their focus from customer acquisition to retention in the hope of boosting the cost-effectiveness of their marketing strategies.

Why game developers are neglecting their players

Can you imagine going to a restaurant that made it increasingly harder to get through each course of a meal? Sure, you can have your appetizers, but to eat your entrée you’ll have to cross the street to another location. And don’t forget to bring your spoon with you — otherwise you can forget dessert! No, I can’t imagine that either. But that’s exactly what the game industry does to its customers. It makes products that are by their nature progressively more difficult to consume. It’s the developer’s conundrum: Every gamer is intrinsically different yet they’re all playing the same game. They have various levels of skill and determination, as well as a range of ideas about what constitutes success and brings gaming satisfaction. It’s impossible to make a game that’s a perfect fit for everyone, but you can try to look after your active users and make sure they’re happy.

Why game developers should embrace player churn

Churn. It’s an ugly word. Game developers are naturally concerned about player retention. But eventually even the most ardent player loses interest in a game. It’s normal. It’s part of the cycle. And so it’s also normal when developers are inclined to squeeze the absolute maximum revenue out of people before they’re gone forever. However, trying desperately to monetize your players only increases churn, aggravating the problem.

Why game developers must rethink their advertising strategy

What if you could go to the movies for free, but every 15 minutes the film would stop for a commercial break? A few very cost-conscious people might tolerate it, but I reckon most would refuse to ruin their cinema experience that way. Similarly, there’s a good reason game developers dislike in-app advertisements: They distract your customers — and frequently discourage them from using your product. “Gamers want to game. So disturbing the gamer’s experience, even if it brings value, isn’t always the way to go,” wrote Avi Hadas, in a recent guest column on in-game advertising for VentureBeat. The stakes are high. In an industry concerned about churn, retention, and monetization of players, in-game ads might save your business — or end up killing it.

Is Your App Retargeting Strategy Ready for Holiday Season?

What if you could go to the movies for free, but every 15 minutes the film would stop for a commercial break? A few very cost-conscious people might tolerate it, but I reckon most would refuse to ruin their cinema experience that way. Similarly, there’s a good reason game developers dislike in-app advertisements: They distract your customers — and frequently discourage them from using your product. “Gamers want to game. So disturbing the gamer’s experience, even if it brings value, isn’t always the way to go,” wrote Avi Hadas, in a recent guest column on in-game advertising for VentureBeat. The stakes are high. In an industry concerned about churn, retention, and monetization of players, in-game ads might save your business — or end up killing it.

Simplaex Helps Mobile Marketers Thrive during the Holiday Season with AI-Powered App Retargeting

What if you could go to the movies for free, but every 15 minutes the film would stop for a commercial break? A few very cost-conscious people might tolerate it, but I reckon most would refuse to ruin their cinema experience that way. Similarly, there’s a good reason game developers dislike in-app advertisements: They distract your customers — and frequently discourage them from using your product. “Gamers want to game. So disturbing the gamer’s experience, even if it brings value, isn’t always the way to go,” wrote Avi Hadas, in a recent guest column on in-game advertising for VentureBeat. The stakes are high. In an industry concerned about churn, retention, and monetization of players, in-game ads might save your business — or end up killing it.