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Five Steps to Retain Your Most Valuable Players

Guest post by Gur Dotan,Co-Founder @ Soomla

The goal of this article is simple – to teach you how you can earn more money from your mobile games. Two prominent ways to monetize free-2-play games include IAP and advertising.  Ads allow developers to monetize non-paying users. There are companies such as, that offer high-quality video ads, offer walls, and native ads, which can turn non-paying users into paying ones. However, the core game design should incorporate IAP to monetize paying users.

To do that, we need to identify a few things first: who are the people that make in-app purchases, how many of them are out there, how can we get more such people to play our game and what can we do to keep them interested. Those VIP players are often called “whales” – and they are a real rarity. According to the last year’s Swrve report, 50 percent of your game revenue is coming from 0.15 percent of your users. So for every 100,000 players, only 150 are “whales.”

Now that we know who they are and how many of them are out there, here are five strategies you can use to better serve those users.

Identify, Track

Usually, when tracking players, we would use aggregative analytics tools and track larger chunks of people. However, this is a specific case as we’re trying to monitor 0.15 percent of our gaming community, so we need a different approach. Tracking your whales across other games is a good start – if they are making purchases in other games, they’re likely to be deemed whales.


Spot Them Early

Spotting high-spending users early is extremely important. Tapstream’s report shows that you will lose 80 percent of your players in less than the first seven days. You will be lucky enough if one of your VIP players stays within those 20 percent that remains. If you could retain those that would usually leave, you could potentially double your income. The best way to identify them is to use cross-game data and find those users that spend in other games, too.

Now that we’ve identified the VIPs and figured out ways of spotting them in the masses, we need to do everything we can to make them stay.

Offer Exclusives

Remember – these gamers are your VIPs and you should treat them as such. Offering exclusive content is always a good start – be it virtual goods, limited edition items or special status within the community (maybe a moderator role or something similar) is always a good route to take.

Push and Retargeting

Getting new players and keeping them within the game is important, but when looking at your VIPs it becomes essential. Push notifications and retargeting work really well here. For example, if there are any special sales, discounts, or giveaways, your important gamers can receive push notifications letting them know. This can work on weekly promotions, holiday season sweepstakes, daily coin rewards…your choice. Try a few different features to see which one works best.

Direct Communication

Everyone loves direct communication, especially gamers who receive direct contact from developers of their favorite games. We’ve often heard from developers saying gamers showed increased engagement after being contacted directly by the developer, and the easiest way to do so is via email. This type of engagement works both ways – the developer gets the much-needed feedback while the player gets rewarded one way or another in order to keep him interested in the game. For example, Pocket Gems reaches out to users 2-3 times a week and has one-on-one calls to keep users engaged. It shows they care about their users and what they have to say.

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Pro-tip: Find More VIPs

Now that you’ve identified who your VIPs are, spotted them early, got in touch with them, and made sure they know how important they are, it’s time to find more people of the same profile and monetize them. You can make good use of’s user acquisition tools to help find these users. offers a variety of high-quality video ads, offerwalls, and native ads that can monetize non-paying users.

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