Through the Grapevine – 3 Ways to Market Your Game With the Help of Your Player Base

Mobile game marketing

Getting the word out for your game is usually the matter of effective marketing and advertising, but never underestimate the good old word-of-mouth! Sometimes encouraging a new player to join requires a little nudge from a friend, and your player base can be an essential link to the people you haven’t reached yet.

In this blog post, we look at the different referral and sharing incentives implemented in mobile games!

Get players to market your game by offering invitation rewards

A tried and true way of incentivizing new player referral is rewards just for inviting others to the game. Some games have a system where the inviter gets more rewards the more people use their referral code. LINE Pokopoko has held Friend Invitation Events with characters as rewards, and the Cookie Run: Kingdom has had a progressive reward event for inviting friends to the game.

Garena Free Fire has had a reward system like this, but it also keeps a ranking for players who have invited the most players. The players who manage to reach the top 50 get an additional prize.

Friend referral rewards and ranking in Garena Free Fire
Friend referral rewards and ranking in Garena Free Fire
Friend Invitation Events in LINE Pokopoko and Cookie Run Kingdom to market game
Friend Invitation Events in LINE Pokopoko and Cookie Run: Kingdom

Mentorship mechanics incentivize seasoned players to promote your game

A system we’ve seen implemented lately has been the so-called mentorship system. A player with a high-level account invites a completely new or low-level player and gets rewards for the invited player’s progression. In some cases, the players can join forces to complete a set of tasks together. The idea in this mechanic is not just to get new players to try the game out but to have the more seasoned player encourage the newbie to continue their quest in the game past the initial tutorial phase.

In Pokémon GO, players can refer completely new players (or accounts that have not logged in for 90 days) to the game and get several rewards when the invited player reaches certain milestones. The new player receives rewards as well, so neither is left empty-handed!

Referral rewards in Pokémon GO
Referral rewards in Pokémon GO

In the Turn-based RPG, Monster Strike, a “mentor” account that has reached level 30 (or has logged in for seven days total) can offer an invite to a low-level “apprentice” player, and both get a premium currency reward when the referral is completed. The mentor can invite up to 10 new people and get premium currency as a reward for each. If an apprentice player reaches level 30, the mentor gets a free pull from an exclusive gacha with a high rarity character as a reward. In this system, the apprentice gets additional prizes for reaching levels 10 and 20.

Striker Invitation mechanic with level milestone rewards
Striker Invitation mechanic with level milestone rewards

The Music/Band game Ensemble Stars!! Music held an event where a low-level apprentice account could complete tasks with a high-level mentor account. When all assigned tasks were completed, both players were rewarded with an exclusive character not obtainable anywhere else. The quests involved joint missions like playing certain songs together and liking each other’s Office spaces, making the event a little more involved than the other examples showcased in this post. Apprentice-level players could invite mentors as their companions through social media.

Completing tasks together with a mentor player was rewarded with an exclusive character
Completing tasks together with a mentor player was rewarded with an exclusive character
Completing tasks together with a mentor player was rewarded with an exclusive character

What’s notable in these examples is the way the rewards are distributed. It’s up to the game’s developer whether they want to give equal compensation to both players or if it’s more justifiable to give different rewards to each. If the rewards are intended to be upgrading materials, considering the balancing is important. In the case of collectible rewards, something exclusive might be perfectly satisfying for both.

Boosting your social media marketing campaigns with the help of your player base

The good old social media share campaigns are as viable as ever, especially if boosted by your active player base. Games can launch campaigns for sharing content on social media, from the game itself or through the game’s official social media accounts.

SINoALICE held a campaign where each player received 300 premium currency if a certain social media post reached 6,000 interaction points in total. Interaction points were summed from cumulative Twitter retweets, likes and replies, and Facebook or Naver Cafe likes and comments.

SINoALICE social media marketing campaign

The share campaigns might have tiers as well. For example, during Identity V’s collaboration event with Danganronpa, all players were encouraged to share crossover images from the game from their preferred social media accounts. All players then got rewarded with collaboration items when certain cumulative share milestones were reached.

Social media marketing campaign with prize tiers in Identity V
Social media share campaign with prize tiers in Identity V

Closing thoughts

There’s nothing like playing a favorite game and sharing the experience with friends and loved ones. Also, a happy player who likes your game and has invested their time on it is the best link to others who have yet to find your title. These examples are just some ways you can help your player base share the love for your game – and make it more fun for them as well!

Look for more implementation ideas for marketing your game in the GameRefinery service! For example, you can use our Implementation Examples tool to look for more examples, like shown in this blog post, by using the “Incentivized actions outside core game” feature as a filter. Here’s a direct link to the search (accessible only for GameRefinery customers).

If you enjoyed reading this post, here are a few more you should definitely check out:

Trusted by leading game studios and publishers

Zynga logoWooga logoG5 Games logoRovio logoUbisoft logoWargaming mobile logoFunplus logoGameInsight logoludia grey logoMag Interactive logoPixonic logo