CRO part 2: Mind games

Part 2 of all the research and design I did to get the monetization model into our game.





Only 3% of the players in free-to-play games ever pay for something in a game. Why?
Is it because it is F2P? Is the audience changing? Are gamers still rating games to its correct value?


This is a follow-up on Conversion Rate Optimization part 1. In this part we'll go deeper in on the science part of conversion before we'll make a CRO plan.


In my previous blogs I wrote about freemium and free-to-play. All 3 links can be found here.


In "What's free isn't free  part2" I wrote this:
Why do we buy things? It's a question many people are trying to answer. Therefore I found a lot of answers.  Clickz has found 20 reasons. Our shared resources points to the human emotions. NASP reduced this to 2 reasons.
I think they are all right. But is there 1 single anser for this question?
Don't ask me where if found this anser. But someone answered: "We buy things to solve our problems."
And that's just it. You can check it. Someway, somehow, we always buy things to solve our problems.
Ironically a game is a problem solving activity. So do we really want to pay for something that we want solve for ourselves?

And this still stands. People play games to fullfill certain needs. The more needs the game fullfills the higher the value of that game and the more likely they are willing to pay for it. (Check Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to see what needs your game can fullfill.) 
Human behaviour doesn't change very fast. Non-customers that started playing games because of facebook and smartphones are very slowly starting to give a higher value to games. My guess is that we will see a bigger change in 10 years or so. The kids from now will grow up with smartphones and games. Gaming will be a bigger part of their identity and hopefully they will see that games are much more then to pass the time.
Let's hope this trend could lead us to a new blue ocean.


The buyer cycle or the buyers journey or the buying decision process ... well you know what I'm talking about right?
Every event that contributes to (eventually) buying something. Together they make up your buying journey.


I got some more links with theories for you. This one explains a lot and has multiple posts about buying behaviour. is about How-to-Leverage-the-5-Stages-of-the-Customer-Buying-Cycle-for-More-Sales
But before you want to dive into all this theorie, read the rest of this post first. Because there is a lot more coming your way.


One of the most important parts of selling your prospect is knowing who that person is and what drives him or her. Many studies have been done attempting to define the types of buyers. From the Myers & Briggs Type Indicator to Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese?, there are many systems for identifying prospects and meeting their internal decision-making needs.


Some more links about buyers types and personas:

My favorite approach is this of neuroscience.
According to this article of IMPACT the most consumers can be put into 3 distinct buyer groups depending on the level of pain they experience when they anticipate a purchase.



I had the feeling that women are less likely to spend money on games. So I did more reseach about this. I made a survey, posted a question on quora and I also asked Jenny Darroch for some advice.
And last but not least I stumbled upon this article from business insider and this one from cinema blend.

To make a long story short, I still haven't found a clear answer why women spend less money on games.
I only had 10 women who ansered my survey (very sad I know) so I can't rely on this survey to get a clear anser. (even though most of the women ansered that they didn't payed for game content and are not willing to support the developer)
The ansers I got from Jenny and quora where assumptions. And the articles only prove that female gamers are willing to pay small amounts on a mobile game. But they do not tell us why.
So I will follow my gut here and conclude that female gamers are less willing to spend money on games because:
  1. The game industry doesn't appeal to women.
  2. Women see a game in a more broader spectrum. If it's just to pass time, then it's not worth paying for it. (A game should have more purpose and there are more important things in life.)
  3. Younger gamers (that do think games are worth paying for) don't have the money to spend on a game.
  4. They are more analytical buyers then men. They find more of these "life hacks" so that they don't have to spend (as much) money on a game.
  5. They are more sensitive during a sales process.
  6. They need to keep up a certain image to the community. Many people think gaming isn't social.
  7. Women seem to have more hobbies and worries that aquire money and attention.
Am I forgetting one? :-p
So women have a lot of reasons to not spend money on your game.
BUT when female players like your game, then they will be more loyal then male gamers.
If we can avoid all these hurdles women could be a better customer then men.


This is it! This is your cream, butter and your cherry on your pie!
NLP is a name that encompasses the three most influential components involved in producing human experience: neurology, language and programming.


The neurological system regulates how our bodies function, language determines how we interface and communicate with other people and our programming determines the kinds of models of the world we create. Neuro-Linguistic Programming describes the fundamental dynamics between mind (neuro) and language (linguistic) and how their interplay affects our body and behavior (programming). 

NLP is used for many things. Originally it was used in therapy to inspire people to adopt different and better behavior. But others found a way to use it in sales.
I know I've talked about the buyer type and the buyer cycle. And it's good if you want to know more about these things. But this book about using NLP to sell goes deeper into all this material.
I will not go into detail here. Please just read this or any other book about NLP. It will greately improve your selling skills and your way of thinking.


There is not much known about the behavior of "whales" in the video game industry.
I listed up some links:
But why should you even bother to know more about these whales?
I'm not talking about the ethics here. Just from a logic business perspective it just doesn't make sence.
Why risk everything to find and extort 100$ from this 3% when you can ask 3$ from the other 97%?
Ok no one can make 97% of their players pay 3$ but even if I can convice 30% of them to spend money on our game, then atleast we have revenue.
I always wonder how big our chances are to catch these whales with our game. But when I see how other games are selling their content to players I think: "Screw this! I'll grab my chances with the other 97%."

And now, It's about time for practical matters.

More helpfull websites:

CRO part 1: What is conversion rate optimization?
CRO part 3: I love it when a plan comes together.

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