Player Lifecycle: Engaging New Players In Your Game

How to increase the odds they stick around. 🤩🔜😍

Alex Scarborough, CEO & Co-Founder

Over the last few weeks, we’ve talked through all the major phases of the Player Lifecycle…except one very significant one. 

You guessed it. It’s time to talk about New Players! 🤩🎉

We here at Teak recognize that acquiring a New Player represents a substantial investment for you and your team, so our focus today will be exploring the best ways you can turn them into Core Players.

An important first question to consider is - how long should a Player be considered “New”?

Typically, a Player is considered new as long as they’re in the tutorial or onboarding phase of your game. At Teak, we recommend they are considered New for a minimum of 48 hours. Of course, the number for your game depends on your game. For a simpler game that is easier to understand and grasp, 48 hours may be all you need. However, for more complex games with more to learn and explore, you may want to extend the New Player phase beyond 48 hours. Working with your game design team here to nail down what New means will be important.

Regardless of when you and the team decide to dub New Players no longer New, the most important question is of course: how to make them into Core Players?

Leading Players from New 🤩 to Core 😍

At Teak, we have consistently seen that the best way to convert them into Core Players is to ensure they play a second session on the day they install the game, aka, a session after their initial download.

Right out the gate, you’ll want to make sure you upsell them on opting into notifications or email in their very first session so you can message them. This is crucial to the strategy we’re about to layout for getting that second session.

The best way to get that second session is to send them a push notification a couple hours after they install. That push notification should welcome them to the game, and absolutely should offer them an incentive. Think of it like a welcome gift. Connect with your product team and give as much as you are comfortable with - the more, the better, when it comes to getting a New Player excited to stay and play. This is also an excellent time and method to prompt the Player to opt into a different channel. Something like, “We’re excited you’re here! Would you like to receive emails when a bonus is ready?” 

In addition to that push notification, we would also recommend sending them an email four hours after they install with similar messaging.

After that, if the first push hasn’t encouraged them to return to the game, we’d recommend a second push notification eight to ten hours after install (so six to eight hours after that first push notification). This one should also include an incentive. Like we mentioned above, getting them to have that second session on their first day is crucial to turning them into a Core Player. Without that second session, the chances they return decrease drastically. 

Now, from there…

If they did return for a second session:

  • You can scale back the rewards. If you’ve set up Low or Medium Risk schedules consider reusing the reward amounts for Medium Risk
  • Stick with 2 push and 1 email for their second day, to ease them into the cadence

If they do not return for a second session:

Fear not! There are lots of things you can do:

  • Offer a larger reward than in your first New Player message. Remember, if they haven’t had a second session that means they never claimed the original reward, so it is safe to offer them a larger reward
  • The no begging rule still applies, as much you may want to! Focus on features they might want to learn about and other incentives to keep them playing
  • Stick with 2 push and 1 email for their second day, all with higher incentives
  • Swing with everything, but don’t scare them away! We don’t want to risk them disabling notifications or uninstalling because they feel spammed.

Once a New Player has been active in your game for roughly 48 hours, they will transition into a High Risk or Medium Risk category. That category will be determined by the frequency they are playing. However, if you aren’t sure which messaging cadence is right, consider extending your New Player state and reusing core content during that extension. And what about Core - can a New Player exit directly into Core? Absolutely! But your New Player state will have to last at least 5 days in order for that to happen, because to qualify as a Core Player, a Player must play for at least 5 days. 

Summary: The Day One Second Session is Key 🗝️

That is New Players in a nutshell. To recap, the key here is you really want to make sure a Player returns for a second session the day they download. If you aren’t able to get that, use everything at your disposal to get a second session the day after install. Our data shows these are key indicators for the New Player to become a Core Player.

Lastly, these recommendations are just a starting point. Take the time to find what works best for your game. You will want to revisit your New Player campaign frequently to test and optimize its performance. A/B Test your messaging and especially coin amounts. You’ve got this.

As usual, we really love hearing from you and learning about what has been helpful! What can we cover? Talk more about? Give you some tips on?

Teak Team