Australian studio Hipster Whale landed a smash hit in November, 2014 with their premiere release, Crossy Road. Its multitude of pop-culture references and sleek gameplay have made the game a critical favorite while also managing to turn the mobile-monetization world on its head through its use of rewarded video and incentivized IAP offers.
After 50m downloads and over $10m grossed in revenue, many publishers are following suite, shifting their focus to cosmetic IAPs, rewarded video and frequent offers as their primary means of monetization. To better understand Crossy Road’s winning formula, we played 100 rounds to see how often each type of offer was being made.
We tracked the frequency of four different offer types that we’ll discuss in more detail below:
- Basic Offers
- Rewarded Video
- Sample Bundles
- Basic Bundles
We only tracked offers relating to monetization, and did not track ratings prompts or share prompts.
At a high-level, it was nearly an even split. 48 of the 100 runs we completed ended in one of the four types of offers, while 52 of them either ended in a ratings prompt, a share prompt or no prompt at all. While it’s unclear whether or not Hipster Whale have used any player-centric strategies that would cause the offer frequencies to react to purchasing history, we found it to be a nice balance of monetization efforts versus user experience.
Basic Offer – 14%
The game’s basic offers don’t include any additional currency, discount or trial period. They simply make the player aware of an item available in the store and the price point that it’s being offered at. At 14% of all runs, these offers do a great job of introducing players to the many characters the developers have included.
Rewarded Video Offer – 14%
On January 15th of 2015, the Unity blog updated a previous post to state that Crossy Road had earned $3m in revenue from Unity Ads alone, which feature prominently in the game’s rewarded video offers. In the post, Unity’s Jussi Laakkonen said, “The success of Crossy Road with Unity Ads shows that mobile games can make millions of dollars with ads that users choose to watch.” Including the rewarded video offers have no doubt gone a long way towards monetizing the majority of their non-purchasing players who would have otherwise generated no revenue.
Sample Bundle – 15%
Crossy Road’s “try-before-you-buy” sample bundles are a unique strategy that not many other publishers or developers have been able to pull off. They not only make players aware of what’s available for purchase, they also give the player all the information they need to evaluate the purchase and determine if its for them or not.
Each sample bundle offer covers a total of 5 rounds, meaning that we actually played through 3 offers that added up to a total of 15 rounds. The first round of each offer prompts the player to try out a new character and the next four are spent using that character. At the end of each round, the player is offered a bonus 250 coins if they complete the purchase. We’ll look at these offers in more detail in a later post, but we suspect that they’re where the majority of Crossy Road’s IAP revenue is coming from.
Basic Bundle – 5%
At only 5 of the 100 completed runs, the lowest frequency offer we saw was the Piggy Bank and 1000 bonus coins, which we dubbed the Basic Bundle. Its the highest priced IAP in the game and unlike almost all of the other characters, it can’t be unlocked through gameplay. Its also the only IAP that alters the mechanics of the game: when players use the piggy band, red coins spawn that add 5 coins to their balance rather than the standard 1.
To recap, the 100 runs we completed broke down as follows:
- 52% No Offer
- 14% Basic Offer
- 14% Rewarded Video
- 15% Sample Bundle
- 5% Basic Bundle
We hope this information helps when it comes time to balance your own offer frequencies!
Are you a fan of Crossy Road? Did you find their offers aggressive or balanced? Let us know in the comments and follow us on Twitter – @FusePowered