Tag Archives: Strategy

Instagram-Story-Ads

How to Craft the Perfect Instagram Story Strategy to Promote Your Business

Instagram introduced the Story function to their platform in August 2016. Replicating Snapchat, the Instagram Story offers ephemeral visual content that disappears 24 hours after posting it.

As with the introduction of any new tool on social media, the first question a business must ask itself is: How can we leverage this new platform to promote our company, product or services?

Here are some tips to help you craft the perfect Instagram Story strategy:

GIVE A BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK

Instagram users expect the most touched-up and polished visual content to show up on the feed. Part of the appeal of the Instagram Story is that it offers a deeper, less polished look into the day-to-day life of the account.

Musicians take advantage of Instagram Stories by previewing snippets of new music on their stories. The fact that these stories will disappear activates a fan’s FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). If they see one of their favorite artists post to their story, they feel obligated to watch it or else they will miss out on exclusive music, otherwise they may have to wait months for an official release. Thus, it both offers a behind the scenes look and incites users to return to view more stories.

FOMO

FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, is a form of anxiety triggered by missing an opportunity. For example, when considering whether to go to an office party or a concert, one may be more driven to go because one doesn’t want to miss out on fun than wanting to enjoy the experience.

The ephemeral nature of the Instagram Story makes FOMO a major psychological factor determining whether a user elects to watch a story or not. If the user does not watch the story, they will never see the content. Businesses want to offer exclusive deals and content through their story that are not available anywhere else. Consumers who watch stories with exclusive deals and content are thereby rewarded and are more likely to watch them in the future to get more deals.

Incorporating exclusive deals will draw more users to watch your business’s Story because—well, it’ll make them afraid of missing out. Check out Psychology Today’s deep dive into FOMO.

KEEP IT FUN, KEEP IT LIGHT, KEEP IT MOVING

Take your Instagram Story on the road. Vary up the locations where you post and it will create more excitement as users will know to expect the unexpected when they view your story. Keep it light, give it some humor. Your Instagram Story should contain content that lightens the mood and makes viewers want to return.

MAKE IT A REAL STORY

Stories have a beginning, middle and end. Instagram Stories can conform to that structure as well! If an employee is going to a convention, have them document it in their story with an introduction post explaining their agenda for the day (beginning), videos of the most salient moments of the convention (middle), and a final post that wraps everything up and summarizes what they’ve gleaned (end).

Using storytelling techniques will keep users engaged in your feed and help Stories retain viewers from beginning to end.

ANALYTICS

Reviewing analytics and evaluating the metrics is a key process in evaluating your Story’s success. Use the Insights tab to see how many views your story received, how many shares, replies, profile visits, and how long users are watching your story to evaluate its success.

One of the key analytics is Completion Rate: what percentage of users watched your story from beginning to end? Evaluating completion rate, as well as Taps Forward, which shows when users tapped forward on a slide to see the next image, will help you determine whether your ideal posts per day are 2 or 12.

BE CONSISTENT

Consistency is key in social media. It takes time to develop a voice and even more time and effort to develop an audience. With a combination of a good strategy, solid content, and consistency, your business can leverage Instagram Stories to entice your customers and expand its reach.

Game Design Techniques: Significantly Increase Ad Revenue with a Sharp Core Loop

Due to the budgetary, software and hardware limitations of mobile games, developers must hook audiences with a well-built game incorporating layers of psychological strategy. The core of any mobile game is the Core Loop. The Core Loop is the main facet of gameplay. It’s the beating heart upon which all progress is precipitated. In sports games, it’s the matches. In Angry Birds, it’s launching the birds to destroy the pigs. In Candy Crush, it’s the levels. The Core Loop is the obstacle that users willingly take on with the intention of overcoming in exchange for a feeling of accomplishment. While retention techniques can reinforce that feeling and can add to the experience, no game can survive a poor Core Loop. In some cases, a great Core Loop doesn’t need any sort of extravagant retention technique. Flappy Bird, which took 3 hours to make, can accrue $50,000 a day in ad revenue purely off the Core Loop.

THE BASICS

A good Core Loop for a mobile game generally entails a simple, enjoyable, repetitive action which triggers a reward when executed properly. This reward is something in-game which triggers a dopamine rush for the user. The rewards can be anything from gaining points, getting lives, advancing levels, power-ups, unlocking characters and items, and so forth. These rewards are tiered and the dopamine rush should vary depending on the level of accomplishment. For instance, the main action of Fruit Ninja is slicing fruit. Slicing one fruit triggers a dopamine rush, but clearing a level of fruit triggers a larger dopamine rush, and getting on the high score list triggers yet a larger one, etc. Retention tactics can dictate how these rushes are tiered, but the action which produces the rush is the most important thing: the Core Loop.

LOOPING

Rule number one of the Core Loop for mobile games is to actually loop. After one loop completes, another loop begins. The user completes a level and begins at the next level with their score intact, or they fail to complete the level and begin at the start of the same level with their score reset. Even rewards apps for retail stores rely on Core Loop to hook users. Console games are monetized through retail, so they can craft larger budget, more intimate single-player experiences, but mobile games are generally monetized through the Freemium model, which means ad-revenues will make up the bulk of their profits. Ads come at the end of the Core Loop, so the more loops per user, the better. Thus, mobile developers generally invest in simple but rewarding, well-crafted, repetitive gameplay systems.

PROGRESSION AND REPETITION

Pac Man Level 1 Vs. Level 2 via GitHub

While a Core Loop must loop, it also must instill a sense of progression. If the user doesn’t feel like they’re making progress, they will likely quit. Users want the satisfaction of accomplishment, and both satisfaction and accomplishment require a sense of finality. Arcade games are popular on mobile devices because they thrive on repetition. Level 2 of Pac-Man is not much different from Level 1, but it is different, and that minor difference instills a sense of progression; the sense that a new challenge must be conquered with skills accrued in past gameplay experience. Memories unconsciously become technique. In games like the aforementioned Flappy Bird, the goal is simply to get a high score. There are no levels, but a sense of progression is still built purely through how one’s high score builds. If the high score weren’t displayed, Flappy Bird would still have a Core Loop, but nobody would play it since one couldn’t measure one’s progress. It wouldn’t feel like a game. The beauty of high scores is they represent a single player game with a social release, which is also great for social media promotion.

SESSION LENGTH

Session length is a vital aspect of the Core Loop. The Starbucks Test entails that the user should be able to have a meaningful experience with the game in the time it takes the barista to make them coffee. A concise session length will get users coming back often in the empty pockets of their day.

DUAL LOOP

The Dual Loop is an advanced game development technique that can deeply enhance gameplay. At the end of the first loop, the Dual Loop technique offers the user the option to stop their session and enter into a mini-loop which enhances the next loop, which is a continuation of the first. When you play Clash of Clans, you can battle, which is the main loop, but you can also collect resources or build and train your army in between battles. The dual allows the user to add quick 30-second interactions which pass the Starbucks Test and increase their investment in the competition.

One of the best ways to enhance your ability to develop a Core Loop is to play and analyze other games. A well-designed Core Loop can lead to mobile gaming success on minimal budgets, and massive success on larger budgets.

Are You Cashing Out? Rule the Mobile Game Market with Top Monetization Strategies

The ultra-competitive world of mobile game development leaves many game developers in the red. Less than 1% of mobile game players contribute 48% of revenue to game publishers. With the rise of the Freemium model, many feel paid apps are essentially dead. Without a price to download, app publishers can no longer rely on a single method of monetization.

Here are some of the best methods for mobile game monetization:

SEGMENTATION

Segmentation, the division of profit streams, is key to any mobile game monetization plan. By understanding the many different ways in which one can create a revenue stream out of their game, developers are able to tactically decide which streams they want to pursue and how they want to pursue them.

App monetization revenues stem from three major categories: in-app purchases, subscription-based premium upgrades, and ad revenue. Highly-successful games can also bring in money through sponsorships, merchandise, and even big-budget Hollywood movies, but the bulk of app developers generate revenue from inside the phone. Experienced mobile game developers give individual attention to their apps, analyze what monetization streams will be the most effective, and design individual strategies for each stream.

REWARDED AD FORMAT

Ads and in-app purchases are both great assets to mobile game developers looking to monetize, but what if you could play them off each other to increase both sources of revenue? That’s the idea behind  the rewarded ad format. Games offer its users in-game rewards in exchange for watching full ads. The incentive increases video completion rate as well as ad revenue. By giving users a free in-app purchase, developers are not only able to increase ad revenue, they also preview the premium features, enticing more in-app purchases.

While the rewarded ad format can lead to a surge in both in-app purchases and ad revenue, it still requires strategy. Keeping the audience in mind by ensuring the user will find the ad interesting will increase completion rate. Considering the best time to show the ad also will affect whether the user is frustrated or eager to view the ad. Showing an ad after every level can be overkill and limiting the amount of rewarded ads can help strike a balance between user experience and monetization.

For more tips on rewarded ads, check out this awesome article by InMobi.

The following is an example of a rewarded ad:

Castle Clash Rewarded Ad via AdWeek

FREEMIUM

The popular Freemium monetization method entails a free download of the most basic form of the app to entice the user, then offering a price for premium services and features. Freemium apps can also profit through ads, but in order to be considered freemium, they must offer in-app purchases or premium versions for a subscription fee.

Apps like Tinder and Candy Crush have capitalized on acquiring a massive user base then enticing users to make in-app purchases and update to premium accounts. Candy Crush also intelligently uses social to allow users to receive premium features in exchange for sharing with their friends.

Candy Crush Social Share via BeatCandyCrushLevel.com

NATIVE ADS

Native ads are advertisements which are designed to match the form and function of their surroundings. Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Instagram all offer native ads and tools to help developers create and customize their ads. Native ad placement increases the chance of engagement by seamlessly blending the design of the ad in with the UI of the app. While many ads stand out in the context of a mobile app, native ads look like they are a part of the app rather than an advertisement. In 2013, Twitter upped their ante on mobile ads with the purchase of MoPub for $350 million.

The debate surrounding the morality of native ads is still ongoing. Some say they are unethical and deceptive, but few argue against the fact that they lead to better customer targeting and enhance content to reach more customers by blending in with surrounding content. The number one rule of native ads is to know your audience. While some will be bothered by the deceptiveness of native ads, if the developer can incorporate relevant content rather than ads for random products, native ads can appear to become more of an enhancement than an interruption.

Here is an example of a native ad by Google’s service AdMob:

AdMob Native Ad via The Next Web

FEEDER APPS

Feeder apps are simple games with addicting gameplay which app developers utilize to spread brand awareness. Feeder apps often feature such simple gameplay, in-app purchases and ads would feel intrusive. Instead, push notifications and links in the main menu  redirect users to their company website or another one of their games in iTunes. Many mobile development companies develop a network of feeder apps as a part of their publication and monetization strategy.

By utilizing a well-integrated native ad for the company or the game the developer intends to monetize, developers can turn viral feeder apps into profits. This comprehensive article by Scientific Revenue offers a great example:

ZeptoLab cross-promotes their featured app King of Thieves through their feeder app Cut the Rope.

Succeeding in the world of mobile gaming requires the same intense flare for competition which fuels mobile gamers. Experienced game developers know the stakes and come out swinging, ready to capitalize on every strategy they can to create a revenue stream. With the right combination of smarts, app development, promotion and strategy, mobile game monetization can rake in the big bucks.

For help with your next monetization strategy, contact Mystic Media today by clicking here or by phone at 801.994.6815

Connect with Millennials Through Snapchat

Many questioned Snapchat’s staying power when the company launched in 2011, but unlike the ephemeral nature of the network’s content strategy, Snapchat has proven it’s here to stay. Statistics show Snapchat has over 100 million daily users that combined watch 7 billion videos per day and contribute 8,800 photos per second. In 5 short years, the company has evolved from fad to one of the fastest growing and most intriguing social media networks on the internet. In 2016, Snapchat is projecting $300-$350 million in revenue, over 600% growth from the company’s 2015 projection of $50 million.

Snapchat thrives on allowing users to focus on the moment rather than perfection. Users can send photos and videos which disappear after they have been viewed. They can also craft “Snap Stories” which remain up for 24 hours after they’ve been posted. Snap Stories created an avenue for major corporations to deliver content  to their followers. Media companies like Vice utilize Snap Stories to deliver the news to millennials, while retail companies like Grubhub have had major success creating promotions.

Here are some creative ways companies are utilizing Snapchat:

MARKETING PROMOTIONS

Since Snap Stories disappear after 24 hours, users are motivated to watch stories frequently or risk missing out on an awesome moment. As a company, offering exclusive discounts or deals through a Snap Story is the ultimate incentive to increase snap views. Grubhub gained acclaim for their #SnapHunt Scavenger Hunt, which awarded 10 winners $50 in free food for each challenge. The personal, one-to-one nature of Snapchat makes it ideal for marketing promotions, which in turn increases your daily views and following.

A LOOK BEHIND THE CURTAIN

Many companies utilize social media to take consumers behind the curtain of day-to-day  operations. The spontaneity of Snapchat provides the ultimate network for such interactions. Snap Stories don’t have to be perfect, they don’t have to be major, they can be casual. Some companies utilize Snapchat to broadcast live events. Small events like birthday parties and company outings can make for engaging content.

Musicians often utilize Snapchat to offer glimpses at their new music. Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors both have used Snapchat to preview their new lines.

BROADCAST MEDIA

TV Networks like CNN and Comedy Central utilize Snapchat to promote their shows with bite-sized snippets designed to tease the viewer. CNN targets younger audiences with news stories relevant to them through the Discover function. Coca-Cola realized their audience could detect advertising when the company repurposed their TV commercials for the network, at which point they began creating Snapchat-specific content. The change ultimately was received with a 54% increase in video completion rate.

MAXIMIZING INFLUENCER MARKETING

As any social media expert knows, influencer marketing is key to developing a following and gaining access to new audiences. Snapchat’s emphasis on shared, intimate experiences with the individual makes the format ideal for celebrities and other influencers. Social media stars and acclaimed artists like DJ Khaled can document their day-to-day lives, including the clothes they wear, the stores where they shop, and even bizarre instances of getting lost at sea on a WaveRunner. Celebrities use Snapchat to create a narrative of their daily lives, an unparalleled opportunity for companies to incorporate their product or service and acquire positive brand association.

In one of the best uses of influencer marketing, Ben Stiller & Owen Wilson reprised their roles as Derek Zoolander and Hansel during a Valentino show for Fashion Week in Paris.

While Snapchat provides a major opportunity to market promotions, sculpting public perception of your brand in Snapchat requires a large amount of content in order to compete and keep users satiated. Snapchat is still a burgeoning network with an unlimited amount of possibilities. For an amazing look at the potential future of Snapchat, check out this awesome article from TechCrunch.