Social distance measures worldwide have paved the way for increased popularity and revenue from social casino games. According to market research firm Statista, social casino games hit the jackpot in the U.S., where pandemics have forced nearly 1,000 casinos to close their doors. in 2020, the social casino sector will generate $6.2 billion in gross global gaming revenue (GGR). It predicts that figure will increase to $7.5 billion by 2026.
But winning the big bucks will certainly become more difficult in the next 12 months. Movement and competition in the market is intensifying as traditional gambling and casino companies enter the market.
We've put together a guide to show you the ins and outs of casino mobile game marketing.
1. Understanding the different types of casino players
When marketing casino games, you first need to understand who your audience is and what motivates them to play.
Here are the types of casino players you need to differentiate in order to successfully target them:
Excited Casino Players
For these casino players, it's all about excitement. They are motivated more by the thrill of playing casino games than by winning money. When marketing to this type of casino player, you need to emphasize that your games are exciting and that it's all about having fun.
Casual Casino Players
Just like many other game players, these casino players just want to pass the time and relieve the stress of everyday life.
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Social Casino Players
For many casino players, the social aspect of casino games is very important - they want to play with friends or against other users.
Multi-purpose casino players
Finally, there are casino players who enjoy all of the above - excitement, relaxation, and the social aspect of casino games.
Unlike real money gambling apps, in social casino games, players never receive bonuses. Instead, they receive new in-app experiences as rewards, such as unlocking new slots, bonus games, and competing against rival players. So far, the lack of monetary rewards has allowed developers to avoid the strict regulation that comes with online wagering and electronic slots.
While video gambling machines are designed to ensure intensive play and continuous consumption, social casino applications use different strategies derived from casual gaming and social networking. Interruptibility is closely related to the design of each application and manifests itself in different ways.
Slotomania often interrupts players during progressive jackpots and consecutive wins to encourage players to share their good fortune. When launching Slotomania and DoubleDown Casino, players must navigate multiple launch screens that advertise new slots, virtual currency specials and event announcements. Players are introduced to the day's daily events and deals, which are highlighted and placed even before accessing the main slots, with large icons taking up most of the game screen. For a short period of time, players must navigate four different screens to access the slots, marking a clear breakthrough in casino machine strategies designed to avoid barriers between the gambler and the bet.
In a social casino, every player is hailed as a winner. Most importantly, the reward is the frequency of play. One mechanism borrowed from freemium games is the "daily streak," where users unlock more rewards when they play several days in a row, with the biggest rewards (such as a large allocation of virtual coins) reserved for the seventh day. Another key retention strategy is the use of push notifications on the phone. When enabled, app notifications will let players know about new events, new features, or other enticing return app offers.
2. Choose App Creativity Wisely
Marketing casino games is all about creativity - it can make or break your mobile game.
HD graphics and visuals are a great way to engage users and simulate the real casino experience. One can use video simulations in games such as roulette and blackjack, which feature dealers to add to the realism of the game.
Since casino mobile games are usually the virtual slots that Las Vegas is famous for, your creative should reflect this. It's all about bright colors and flashy images that demand the user's attention.
Use those recognizable layouts of coin-operated slot machines to make them vibrant and exciting. Of course, don't forget about cash - dollar bills and coins are what attract casino players.
When possible, localize your creative - this allows you to reach a global audience. This is especially important for your ad copy. Translate it into different languages and optimize the text to make it culturally relevant.
The final piece of advice for casino game creators is to test. Be diligent when it comes to A/B testing, as this is the scientific method for evaluating creative performance.
After you have created dozens of variants and tested them extensively, you will notice different patterns that emerge. For example, you may find that ad material that uses red, blue and yellow works better. 15-second video ads convert the most users.
This type of data will allow you to come up with a winning formula for creative that works every time.
3. Audience Segmentation: Targeting Similar Audiences
Finding and acquiring quality users is an important part of marketing casino games and profiting from them. This can be done by targeting similar audiences.
Here's how it works.
In short, a similar audience is an audience that is likely to be interested in your casino mobile game because they are similar to your existing user base. The key is to identify users who have spent some money (high LTV users) and highly engaged users, i.e. users who are actively playing your game.
You need to upload your mobile game's user data to Facebook and determine what your users have in common - interests, characteristics, behaviors, demographics, location, etc. Then, you target users who "look" similar to your high-quality users.
Facebook allows you to create up to 500 different similar audiences, and you can exclude certain audiences. Since you are targeting a very specific group of people, the similar audience should be small.
However, even if it is small, the audience will have a high interest in the casino games. This makes it effective and cost-efficient. This leads to high LTV users who are more likely to spend money on your games and become loyal players. However, the CPI tends to be higher for similar audiences.
But on the other hand, unlike broad audiences, small similar audiences result in higher click-through rates and return on ad spend.
4. Use App Store Optimization to maximize your advantage
The casino mobile game market is crowded - it can be very lucrative, and many developers want a piece of the action. That's why it's hard to stand out among the thousands of casino games available on the App Store.
Stay smart when it comes to app store optimization.
Don't think that following a few basic app store optimization tips for mobile games will solve the problem. You probably already know that compelling visuals are important - your game icons, trailers, screenshots. Choosing the right game titles, keywords, and descriptions is also important. All of this is great, but you need to take it a step further.
App store optimization is a science, not an art. You need to study what your competitors are doing and test everything, not make guesses. While ASO does require creativity, it all boils down to science and data. Designers may believe the designs are perfect, but testing can show them to be wrong. In the case of ASO, relying on your gut is not a smart strategy.
There are even tools that can analyze the design, style and color of your icons and tell you how good or bad it is based on the type of game. That's why it's wise to keep up with the casino trend. But that doesn't mean you can't put a spin on it and make it stand out.
Here are some other tips to keep user engaged:
- Casino games need to be optimized to reduce the loading time between screens to keep the user's attention.
- Casino games that have a strong player network and allow realistic interaction have higher user engagement and more in-app purchases. Introduce features such as multiplayer modes and online tournaments to grow the player community and enhance the gaming experience.
- As with all games, casino games operate based on a work-reward structure. Achievements reward items or currency. Create multiple difficulty levels and unlockable content to keep players engaged.
5. Deciding on currency types
Currencies and rewards are an important part of casino games. Casino games that use real money will naturally attract more users because their use goes beyond standard entertainment. These are online extensions of brick-and-mortar casinos that allow users to play for real money. Developing these games requires the creation of secure transaction portals as well as robust verification and registration processes.
On the other hand, free-to-play games designed purely for entertainment use virtual chips or tokens instead of real money. Players are rewarded for clearing challenges or unlocking achievements, and stay engaged with freebies, badges, and leaderboards. Such games can be profitable through ads, banners and in-game purchases. Free daily giveaways such as virtual chips and other bonuses can entice users to continue playing regularly.
The platforming of gambling games points to a broader trend of opportunity-based mechanisms that are increasingly making their way into products and services beyond casinos and games. If the gameplay and monetization mechanics of freemium games are inspired by the language and strategies that make up the business model of brick-and-mortar casinos, then the platform and app designers and operators will follow suit, increasingly looking to games for inspiration. the gamification of monetization strategies on popular platforms such as Twitch is just one of many examples of this trend.
Last but not least: Legal knowledge is crucial for casino games
Casino mobile game developers face many challenges that other developers don't have to consider.
When it comes to real money gambling, you need to make sure your casino games comply with all state and federal laws.
Since different states/regions have different legal jurisdictions when it comes to gambling, it is important that you have knowledge of the law. It is even recommended that you consult with an attorney who has experience in this area.
According to Martin D. Owens, an attorney who specializes in US gambling laws, as far as the US is concerned, only 3 states - Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey - are legal for online real money gambling.