The gaming industry is an exciting new world, but game creators have to win gamers pretty much the way a consumer brand does. Players are to be treated as customers and have to be engaged/entertained at all points in their journey. In addition, they have to be applauded for their wins and allowed to share their victories with friends, and most importantly, offered different levels of games, adjusted to their skills and capabilities. This gives them personalized experiences and makes them feel like champions. Globally, gaming brands recognize that what will set them apart in the multi-billion-dollar industry is tapping into customer insights to optimize their customer engagement strategies and personalize customer journeys. In India, too, the industry comprising 400 gaming companies is investing heavily in customer engagement tools/platforms to engage better with the gaming communities.
Pandemic and smartphones drive industry growth
The pandemic’s influence on the gaming industry has been unprecedented. It enthused a never-before segment of players into becoming gaming buffs. Senior members of families like parents and grandparents became experts in games like Candy Crush and online Rummy, which became a much-needed outlet during the time of social distancing and isolation.
In 2020, video gamers devoted about 14.8 hours each week playing games, compared to 12.7 hours per week in 2019. In 2021, they spent an estimated 16.5 hours for gaming and continue to log in an increasing number of hours in 2022. A Google survey says 40 per cent of new gamers expressed that they were likely to continue playing video games after the pandemic is over.
India, with its large population and growing smartphone adoption rates, mirrors all these global trends. The country has the second-largest base of online gamers in the world after China, and the industry shows a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40 per cent. Gaming as an industry in India was estimated at USD 2.2 billion in 2021. Recently, it reached an overall valuation of USD 2.6 billion and is expected to hit USD 8.6 billion by 2027. The segment has witnessed over 420 million online gamers spending more than 10 hours a week on gaming apps or websites. In the last two years, more than 200 gaming companies have surfaced, necessitating an increased focus on customization and engagement for continuing growth.
There are three major reasons for the growth of the industry in India: The rise of smartphone usage (500 million as of 2021 and expected to rise to 800 million in 2022) is backed by high-speed internet services. This personal device is the most-used platform by Indian gaming enthusiasts. Additionally, the widespread proliferation of high-speed 4G internet services and the launch of 5G services offered at the lowest data rates in the world are pushing the market growth rates further.
CEPs in gaming tie in customers’ attention
Gaming is like any other industry: needs an innovative customer engagement platform that offers a bundle of features like hyper-personalization and an omnichannel experience for its users to increase loyalty and reduce churn.
Why, you ask?
That’s because personalization is the key to holding players’ attention in the virtual world, including in the gaming industry. Gaming brands also face some vexing issues like short attention spans of the players, i.e., those who install the app and drop off the funnel early in the journey or get put off by game levels that are either very difficult or very easy and unsuitable to their skill levels.
Customers also, frequently rely on messaging platforms for quick updates, and it’s important for marketing teams to have relevant information and reach gamers through their preferred communication channels. Tools like CEPs help brands get to know each of their customers (i.e., players) very well so that the game is able to deliver players an enjoyable experience. Needless to say, it is essential to have an intelligent engagement platform in your corner as a gaming brand to deliver a great customer experience and retain users in the long run.
Some features of CEPs that enhance customer engagement in gaming:
● Catch gamers at their best performing point in the game and offer deals for in-app purchases
● Make personalized offers enabled with segmentation capabilities
● Keep customers engaged and reduce churn with triggered events
● Send personalized communication based on the player’s in-game performance that gives higher game session frequency
● Increase the number of users with daily and weekly challenges and deals
These insights-led approaches are in-built into a smart engagement platform. Classic Rummy, a real-money gaming brand, achieved two times the growth in new customer payments, leading to a 24 per cent boost in overall player retention just by switching to an insights-led approach, that sends personalized communication to each player.
Gaming is as serious a business as it is an emotional experience pivoted on the self-esteem of players. Gaming companies can keep their customers happy with a great user experience that includes good uptime, offer better support, and of course, a high level of security.
Written by Raviteja Dodda, CEO & Co-Founder, MoEngage