When Sonamine started to offer hands on services, we encountered confusion over what services meant. Customers asked if we were running user acquisition campaigns, or running live competitive service such as those offered by ESL Gaming. We explained that our services focused on enabling online interactions with players within the game. This excluded UA or in-person events. Even with that clarification, there was confusion over what these online interactions service meant. This post aims to clarify that question.
Broadly speaking, Sonamine services can be grouped into lifecycle marketing and live-ops services.
Lifecycle marketing encompass any online or mobile interaction that enhances the player's experience. The "lifecycle" part refers to the fact that players progress from being new to being veteran players. The player interactions are designed from the player's perspective. When I'm a new player, I would enjoy and appreciate certain types of interactions, such as discovery and tips. When I become a veteran player, these newbie tips may be more of a nuisance; I may appreciate some insider notes and developer reveals.
A common term for "new player" lifecycle services is "onboarding". When a player is new to the game, designers usually include some tutorials. But past the initial tutorial, some segments of players might need additional tips and nudges to move them along. Frequently we get asked why this wouldn't be part of the game design; the main reason to put some onboarding content after game launch is that designers will not know which segments of users require more help. This is where analytics can shine and will be the subject of another post.
Onboarding does not only apply to new players. It should be applied whenever a player enters a new "state". The goal of is to ensure the player is fully engaged with the new "state". For example when a player becomes a subscriber, the player must be gradually introduced to the benefits of being a subscriber. The more subscription features are used, the less likely the player will churn.
Live ops campaigns are player interactions, activities and events which enhance the engagement of the player, but are not necessarily part of the game design. For example, you might organize a special limited time challenge goal for your players during a holiday, where you would announce challenge winners at the end of the event. In such a case, there may not be any new game content during the challenge event.
Limited time offers and sales can also be considered a type of live-ops campaign. Most game developers are familiar with running sales related promotions. These promotions tend to be broadly targeted to every player in the name of equity. Another reason given is to limit negative player sentiment when they inevitably discover that some players received promotions they did not get.
You can think of live ops campaigns as being overlaid over the lifecycle campaigns.
Some requirements to run lifecycle and live-ops campaigns are (a) leveraging targeted communications such as in-app messaging, push notification, email (b) using rule based or advanced analytics to identify player groups that play or respond differently (c) conducting experiments to figure out best practices. We will touch more on these in subsequent posts.
More details on Lifecycle Marketing and Live-ops in subsequent posts, stay tuned.
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