We’re all familiar with the expression, “you only have one chance to make a first impression.” This especially applies to today’s free-to-play (FTP) world because in the App Store, installs are like fleeting chance meetings. The impression your game makes in this meeting will determine if and when a player will play again or decide to churn.

Focus on the first 2-3 minutes. With so many free-to-play games and zero switching costs or price friction states players have no “skin” in the game. Players can afford being fickle. Adding and deleting games doesn’t cost a cent. If your game fails in the early moments to engage, there is no second chance to make a first impression.

Man Gaming On StreetValue your new players and non-payers alike. Even players who don’t spend have value. Non-payers provide competition that fuels the reason why “whales” spend. They set challenges and goals for newbie’s, thus giving the game substance and depth. Even your prized whales were once upon a time newbie’s who didn’t spend. It’s up to you to provide an experience that is worthy of them spending their hard-earned money.

Reduce churn and retain new players by focusing on early engagement. Ensure they comprehend and share in the entertaining experience you spent so much time and energy crafting. A knowledgeable player is more often a happy player. They’re more likely to perform at a higher level and virally promote your game to their friends. Happy players are your best advertising vehicles.

If game play is more than just “shoot and avoid,” include a well thought out “on demand” tutorial that players can ignore and recall. Treat players early to gifts that are also offered in Stores. If possible, personalize the gifts (depending on their character), offering a choice along with advice. They serve as good will, plus reinforce an activity you want to encourage. All said be it information or gifts, don’t give away the store.

Retaining players you have is the best user acquisition campaign money can buy. Remember, “it costs five times more to attract a new customer than it does to maintain an existing customer.” Your current customers are gold. Make your game as user-friendly for new players.

Before you rush out to embark on a user acquisition campaign, make sure to engage users once they arrive.

How have you responded to churn? Please post a comment and share your experiences.

To read more about video game engagement, my other posts include:

Two-Minute Engagement: Learn From Classic Coin-Operated Arcade Games

Engagement vs. Monetization: The Battle for Engagement in Games

Mobile Game Engagement Comes Full Circle

The Importance of Engagement in Video Games

What is Video Game Engagement?

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