Passing Go with Optimized Landing Pages for Gamers
:: Maximilian Beer, Senior Online Marketing Manager at TrafficCaptain ::
Spurred by the increasing popularity of online games, the computer and video games market has in recent years seen rapid growth and today constitutes an important element in performance marketing. All major performance networks have added online games to their portfolios.
More and more gamers are drawn to online games, using their browsers as a quick and convenient way to play against hundreds of thousands of real adversaries without having to install anything. Apart from online games, there is a plethora of forums, blogs and communities where gamers can communicate and connect in various ways. This traffic is monetized by advertising and affiliate networks targeting specific groups of users. Around the world, the profitable online games market is highly contested. Observing cost-per-click (CPC) development over a five-year period shows that advertisers today have to pay prices that are several times higher than they were in 2008.
The great number of new start-ups in the games sector increases competition even further. As players have become more discriminating, sophisticated graphics and an interactive gaming experience are absolutely essential. If a game is not on the cutting edge in these areas, the initial media hype is inevitably followed by declining conversion rates (users on site in relation to registrations effected) and at the same time, the acquisition costs for new users rise.
The increase in development and advertising expenses makes an optimized landing page an integral component of the marketing strategy: Because the landing page is the point of first contact a new player has with the game, every click that does not result in conversion makes an offer less attractive in the competitive global environment and thus costs companies real money.
Therefore, the most important factors for a successful gaming landing page are presented here:
1. A landing page should always have a clear message and target orientation
The objective is to prompt the user to sign up for the game. This should be the central and immediately recognizable message. Anything that distracts from it should be avoided and relegated to the background. Typical examples are forum registration links, or generally, links leading away from the page.
2. Request only the most relevant information
Unless absolutely necessary, detailed queries regarding interests, age, password and repeated entry thereof (this can be requested at the user’s first game log-in) or the like should be avoided. Unnecessary inquiries increase the risk of the registration being aborted, and at the same time, the validity of additional answer boxes can be called into question given that many users will enter fictitious responses simply to speed up the process.
3. Design for Efficiency
An uncluttered, straightforward design is often the most efficient: Users are not distracted, but led to registration swiftly and effectively. Background graphics are perfectly fine, yet should not contain complex animations which would divert the user’s attention away from the actual registration process.
Examples of well-designed landing pages:
4. Key messages & prompts
Clear, understandable messages asking the player to take action. In our case, the objective generally is registration or purchase of a game. “Sign up for free now” or “Free registration” are examples of a clear statement inviting the user to become active. Overly lengthy explanations, introductions or product descriptions lower the conversion rate measurably. The average user looks at a page for two to five seconds before deciding to subscribe to the service or not.
5. Improve existing landing pages
A landing page is never perfect and should be constantly optimized. This calls for bold new ideas and a conscious strategy to address different target audiences. This route has the advantage of increasing the chances of providing an offer that caters to the individual player’s taste.
6. Think about user flow
The objective of an easy, valid registration often stands in stark contrast to low conversion rates. Single sign-on services such as those offered by Google or Facebook may present a way out of this dilemma. These do not require a full new user registration on a landing page but instead link the user’s existing Google or Facebook account with the game. The advantages are: swift and simple registration and high-quality user e-mail addresses.
7. Consider rebates and special items
Already a standard element of e-commerce, promotion campaigns in online games still hold much untapped potential. The clear advantages here are higher conversion rates and the incentive for users to spend money on the game. Special offers which give the player exclusive benefits are an effective tool. An example is the Games.de campaign which served to attract new players to Starforce Delta (https://www.starforcedelta.com/), granting them in-game currency (Crystals) worth 15 EUR simply for signing up.
8. Test & analyze
Landing page tests should be conducted continuously and are never final. Mathematical models such as significance testing should be used to obtain reliable data. As a general rule it should be noted that a minimum number of 500 conversions is required to begin drawing any meaningful conclusions. Professional tools, e.g. Google’s Webmaster Tools (including HeatMap), can be helpful in taking the right decisions.
Ensuring further growth for online games will increasingly require game publishers to position themselves optimally against the rising tide of competitors. It is the author’s firm view that concepts from the more traditional fields of online marketing will find their way into the marketing strategies for online games.
The overwhelming success enjoyed by online games has caused many companies to overlook the need for landing page testing. This entails more than just changing themes and background designs. Rather, reorganizing input fields and password lengths, and integrating new registration options such as Google/Facebook single sign-on, should be considered in order to raise the conversion rate and ultimately, further increase the efficiency of marketing campaigns. The coming years will show which business models are most likely to succeed and which companies are able to achieve the transition from game developer to global marketing firm.
About TrafficCaptain GmbH
TrafficCaptain GmbH was established as a ‘Games Performance Network’ by iVentureCapital. iVentureCapital contributes its unmatched expertise in generating qualified traffic for online and mobile content to this online advertising network. TrafficCaptain offers performance-based campaigns for mobile, social, MMO, strategy and online games optimized for high eCPMs. TrafficCaptain campaigns are international, with a focus on Europe (Germany, France, Spain, Poland, etc.) and North America (USA and Canada). In addition, TrafficCaptain provides consulting services for media planning and the implementation of Google AdWords campaigns. TrafficCaptain’s Genre-Oriented AdManager targets specific user groups in different countries and automatically optimizes campaigns to achieve high conversion rates and maximum payout for publishers. Advertisers and publishers will find detailed information about TrafficCaptain on www.trafficcaptain.com.