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5 Actions to Take with Your VIP Users

Florence Broder Jul 08, 2015

Fact – over 50% of your game revenue is coming from 0.15% of your users. If you have 100,000 users per month then there’s a small group of 150 people who are bringing you about half of your revenue. Rationally, you should put 50% of your attention to this user segment, commonly referred to as “whales.” In reality, very few studios think that way. Most of them apply a one size fits all approach. Here are 5 things you can do differently to better serve your VIP users.

Know Your Whales

If you believe that these VIP users deserve more attention, the first thing you need to do is identify them and start tracking them more closely. Normally we analyze user behavior en masse, using aggregative analytics tools. Here, we need a different approach. This is a small enough group to inspect on a more granular basis even to the extent of looking at the actions of each one of them individually. One very important aspect of that is to track your whales across games and learn what they are doing while they are away from your game. Users who perform multiple purchases across multiple games are highly likely to be deemed whales. The same with Facebook connect across multiple games and social whales.


Offer Exclusive Benefits

One way to retain your VIPs longer is to give them a feeling that they are special. If your game has virtual goods, it should be pretty easy to limit access to some of the items to this important group. You can also create limited edition items with a unique look that will be exclusive only to users of this group. For multi-player games, there are other benefits that make sense like moderation roles and other types of community functions.

Get Them to Come Back with Push and Retargeting

Retention is an important aspect of any game, but when it comes to your most important users it becomes crucial. One way to increase retention is to bring users back to play your game using personalized push and retargeting messages. For example, if an item the user was waiting for has shipped, the game can automatically send him a push notification. For VIP users, you can also notify them of special sales and events. Experiment with weekly promotions, holiday season sweepstakes, and daily coin rewards to see what works best. Once you’ve identified your whales, try creating push campaigns focused on these heavy payers.

Contact Them Directly

People love a personal touch. We’ve received many reports from the developer community about gamers who showed increased engagement after being contacted personally by the developer.  The best way to contact your users is by plain ol’ email outreach.  Besides gathering feedback, you can leverage the discussion to reward them with in-game currency and get them playing again.  Urban legend has it that one gaming studio noticed a significant in-app purchase drop from one of their top spenders.  They contacted that user and realized that person had gone on vacation and forgot his iPad.  The studio went out of its way to “Fedex” a new iPad to that user and immediately saw the revenue climb back up.

Identify Them Early

Mobile gaming retention benchmarks show that you are losing 80% of your users in less than seven days. This means that for every whale you are able to retain there are 4 whales you are not even aware of. If you could get one of those four to stick around you would potentially double your revenue. Identifying the very important players is crucial for retaining them. The best way to do that is by relying on cross-game data and spotting the users who were spending large amounts in other games.



Bonus: Find More VIP Users

Once you’ve identified your best users, you should try to find more users like them. Understanding where they came from could be very useful of course, this is where Appsflyer tracking software comes in very handy. If you can associate these users with a specific channel, you can focus more resources and spend on that channel. Another way to find more users that are similar to your best ones is to use Facebook’s lookalike audience feature.


About the Author:

GurDotanGur Dotan is co-founder and VP Marketing at SOOMLA, an open source company with the mission to drive game developers’ success with technology and data.  An engineer-turned-entrepreneur, Gur digs into everything from blog posts, to growth hacks to developer communities.  Gur recently launched Gamegear.io, a directory of mobile gaming SDKs which also includes Appsflyer.