The concept of VIPs a.k.a. the most important group of players, was first conceived in real-world casinos. It was then borrowed by the online Gaming Apps, especially the ones into Real Money Gaming (RMG), for whom, identifying VIPs is an extremely crucial part of their growth strategy.
The basis of this coveted group doesn’t really change much, be it offline or online. Usually, these are:
- The highest paying customers
- The most frequent buyers
- Ones who are most active
Or a combination of the above.
These VIP users — the top 1%, over the longer-term, go on to create comparatively higher value for you (in terms of both revenue and activity) than as much as 50% of your combined user base.
But a persistent problem with this VIP group is that it’s not static. You can never have the same set of players categorized into the VIP segment. Once you define your criteria for identifying your VIP gamers, there will be a constant influx and outflux of users from this group, as they continue to meet or unmeet these criteria.
Importance of identifying the VIP segment of gamers for RMGs
Online Gaming is a very volatile business. Only an excruciatingly small group of players stick around for long. It’s important for you to first identify these players, show them your value proposition, and nurture them to ensure a higher Lifetime Value (LTV).
VIPs, courtesy of being the heaviest spenders, you’d want to not only keep them happy but, more importantly, provide a top-notch user experience. This will enable them to continuously show strong revenue growth for you while staying away from churn.
Growing revenue is most likely an unwavering goal for you. But the problem is growth predictions are never random. You first identify some benchmark behavior and patterns exhibited by specific sets of users, and then you start measuring everyone against these patterns. But how would you identify the standard benchmarks against which you should measure your larger audience?
This is where your VIPs again come to your rescue. Using their specific behavior and patterns as a benchmark (since they will be the top-ranked in every aspect), you can extract more value from every user and run campaigns to enable more of them to be a part of this coveted segment.
Your loyalists are always going to root for your success; that’s an undeniable truth. And the way you can leverage this sentiment is by having them as the first line of defense for your business. These people can be great at pointing out functional irregularities as well as testing new features and updates, in turn, helping with a clear and substantiated product direction.
Wondering how else your VIPs can be helpful to you? The below graph packs some interesting answers.
Identifying the VIP segment of gamers for RMGs
It should now be quite evident that identifying VIP accounts is indeed an essential function — without which, a sustained effort towards your growth aspirations can be devilishly difficult.
The following are some of the nuances of VIPs for RMGs, which you can use to identify and establish this segment of users.
- are most active on the back of strong addiction to the platform
- display a very high level of loyalty
- watch other players’ gameplay and happy to broadcast their own
- make very frequent and comparatively larger deposits
- actively take part in forum discussions
- are a stimulant in upping your important metrics such as DAU, MAU, Daily app launches & Lifetime value (LTV)
- generate the most revenue for you
- actively seek out new games as well as new challenges
- are your most effective brand advocates (referrals)
- act as your beta testers for new feature launches
Word of caution: Identifying your VIP players can be tricky in the sense that you might end up creating a smaller segment overlooking important traits (and as a result customers exhibiting these traits) or else a substantially larger segment, sending generous offers and promotions to players who aren’t returning enough value for you. The best way to bypass the above conundrum of identifying the right VIP players is through a Tiered VIP Program.
Tiered VIP Program
A Tiered VIP Program differentiates between the most high-profile players basis a points distribution system wherein players are assigned points for every in-game action such as,
- Making deposits
- In-app purchases
- Daily game time
- The number of games played, etc.
Wondering what a Tiered VIP Program looks like?
Channeling the VIPs – What makes this segment of players stick?
Given that VIPs generate the most amount of revenue for you, it’s important to understand what keeps these players addicted to the platform, what keeps them going, and what is it that stimulates them to keep coming back. This understanding helps you run campaigns around these elements to keep the interest levels of your VIPs always soaring high.
1. Tournaments and Contests
At the end of the day, everybody wants to win. But gaming psychology is such that you make it easy for people to win, and they’ll soon lose interest; make it comparatively harder, and they will stop trying, ultimately getting churned. And it’s very herculean to identify that sweet spot.
To fight this, you can keep coming up with lots of tournaments and contests, with varying levels of difficulty, to meet the different proficiency and interest levels of every user type and persona. Tournaments are also helpful in injecting liquidity into the system and boosting Average Revenue Per User (ARPU).
- Exclusive or Highly-Anticipated Rewards
- Weekly/ Monthly Tournaments
2. Special access to high-stakes tables
Everybody loves a unique treatment. And more often than not, the ones who deserve it, they know it as well. Hence, your highest spenders need to be caressed constantly in the form of unique propositions to have them enjoy a differentiated experience on the platform. How to do that?
High-stakes tables could be a great differentiator. Having high entry barriers specific to your VIPs will give them a perception of being a part of this elite group that enjoys offerings much different from others on the platform.
- Exclusive Prize Pots
- Special Occasion Tables
3. Bonus Wins
Bonus Wins is another great tactic to stimulate your VIPs. But similar to the high-stakes table context, even this needs to be built around exclusivity. As neither it’d be financially viable nor would it have the charm if everyone starts claiming bonus wins.
These could be applied to player wins and losses to recuperate some of the lost money as well as push for new deposits. For example, in case of a loss, your message could say, “to win back 50% of your lost bet, deposit a commensurate amount of money now and continue to play.”
- Time Bonded Bonus Deals
- Exclusive Deposit for Bonus Deals
While gamification techniques aren’t exclusive to your most valued players only, they are indeed an important mechanism to keep them interested. Things such as leaderboards, spin the wheel, mini-games (slot machines), reward points, etc. can keep your VIPs perpetually interested through competitiveness, rewards, or mere gratification.
- Spin the Wheel
- Surprise Windfalls
The above examples do not include elements like hyper-personalization, and cross-platform communication, which should be an absolute no-brainer, in case you’re using a multi-channel marketing strategy for your gamers.
The WebEngage Gaming Solutions
WebEngage Gaming Solutions is a collection of the most important engagement and retention use cases that WebEngage helps Online Gaming businesses – both Real Money & Ad-supported, solve.
These use cases form part of larger categories such as Player Engagement, Metrics that Matter, Deposits, In-app Purchases, etc., and how we solve them for our clients.
And finally, we’ve put together a Gaming Masterpack – a collection of 4 eBooks addressing important concepts for Online Gaming businesses, that will help you understand your own business challenges and get an idea of the efficacy of WebEngage, as a marketing automation tool.