Welcome to Campfire Stories, where we spotlight the mobile growth insights of Appi Campers by sharing their stories in their own words. We invite you to get to know and learn from other app marketing pros, app marketing experts and your camp friends, as we continue to grow, and learn together as a community.
Keith Pichelman Campfire Story
Before founding one of the first mobile game companies in 2003, Keith Pichelman worked at IBM and Digital River. At Digital River, Keith worked on a B2B system to buy and sell apps for early mobile phones. This experience, along with seeing that people were carrying around these mini computers in their pockets spurred the idea to start Concrete Software. For 19 years, Keith has led Concrete Software as their CEO, working on such titles as Tetris, UNO, PBA Bowling Challenge, PGA TOUR Golf Shootout, and many more.
Building a Gaming Empire
When I started Concrete Software about 20 years ago, there were no app stores or ways to purchase games the way we do now. Flip phones were all the rage and games such as Snake were the only pre-loaded games on the market. Even though phones were so much less developed than they are now, I realized that the convenience aspect of mobile phones was going to change the gaming space as we knew it. No longer did people have to remember to bring laptops with them or buy a desktop computer in order to access what they desired. Mobile phones are with us all the time and bring a plethora of opportunities.
The first big game we built at Concrete Software was Texas Hold’em and it took off like crazy. There were very few social casino games back then so, naturally, when people found out they could buy games like these for their phones they were excited. However, when the Apple App Store developed in 2008, they had their own version of the game ready for download for all iPhone users. This is when we decided to switch strategies to involve audience segmentation.
Game developers quickly began adopting freemium strategies versus using the “pay-to-download” technique. [It became] integral to obtain loyal users who would likely make in-app purchases once they had downloaded the game. Our team at Concrete Software began looking to build games around popular brands in order to attract users and create the loyalty we were looking for. We started working with popular sports brands and built games around their brand, versus incorporating a brand into an already established game. Gamification marketing is what sets us apart from our competition.
Audience Segmentation in Gaming
After being in the gaming industry for so long, I’ve learned quite a bit about our audiences and how different individual players can be. Since we have so many sports games, it is important to notice and take into consideration the unique characteristics of each player. Segmenting your audience into different user characteristics of your players allows you to properly target and message users with relevant information.
Some players may get excited about group challenges and others might prefer playing on their own. Dividing these two groups out and changing messaging for each one allows you to speak more directly to that audience.By creating audience segmentation, we can cater to specific groups rather than creating a blanket message to everyone within the game helps make the game fun and exciting for each user.
For example, we will create offers and rewards within games and serve them to our users. However, we wouldn’t create messaging for a player that involved a group challenge or activity if we notice that the user is playing on their own. If you are a social player, we would capitalize on that type of activity and let you know how you can find other players that will help you get to other levels. It’s all about letting players play the way they want to play!
Going beyond learning about a user’s basic demographics such as age, gender and location helps us not only retain our users and turn them into paying, loyal contributors, but also gives us insights into what messaging is working at different stages of the game and allows us perform gamification marketing.
Real-Life Event Pushes
Since we work with brands such as the Professional Golfing Association and Professional Bowling Association, we take advantage of real life events to bring our campaigns to life. If there is a golf tournament happening in real time, we will focus our energy to create content around that tournament within our games so that users can simulate the real life experience. We will maximize pushes around this time as well to urge users to get started in the game so that they won’t miss out on tournament prizes or rewards.
Using real-life events for retargeting pushes creates a sense of urgency for users to play our game so that they won’t miss out on this exciting time. It also gives us a lot of opportunities to get innovative with our creatives and utilize videos to promote these pushes.
We can also incorporate a level of gamification marketing in these pushes. Types of gamification marketing that are popular in the types of apps we work with are reward systems, new feature unlocks and leaderboards. We can use the point/reward system alongside the real-life event by mimicking a typical tournament. By getting farther along in the specific tournament, the player can unlock rewards that will set them apart from other players. Users that join the tournament early could unlock new features that players who join late may miss out on. And leaderboards allow players to show off their status and can even post to social media to promote a level of competition.
Taking the time to test creatives with your different audience segmentations is a great way to understand what your users are interested in and resonate with. We have learned over the years that testing is the key to success in this ever-changing industry!
Want to learn more from someone who has been an expert in mobile gaming for two decades? Get in touch with Keith to learn about audience segmentation in gaming. Or check out Keith’s Appi Camper page here.