How to Increase Your Casual Game Conversion Rate

In this article I hope to shed some light on what are average sales conversion rates for casual games, and how useful (or useless) figure that can be – and most importantly: how to increase that number.

A sales conversion rate here means simply the percentage of users who purchase a game after trying it. If for example 1000 players download a game, and 17 of them purchase the game, the conversion rate would be 1,7% (17/1000).

The problem of average numbers
I wrote about the problem of averages in a blog post Averages are useless – on average where it’s basically said that average numbers won’t exactly apply on your situation, since your specific situation can be very different.

Since some guy said that average conversion rate is 1%, it really cannot be applied to your situation.

More on that problem in the blog post, so let’s jump to the next key point.

Some average conversion rates
I’ve seen games with conversion rates from zero to 0.1% to over 5%.

After talking to these developers, I have to say that getting to the 5% is not impossible.

Those games that convert more than 5% are simply crafted to the people who enjoy playing them. They are polished and offer superb value.

1% is not the average conversion rate
You can do sales estimations based on the fact that “your game would convert 1%”, but there’s one key thing that might be missed: quality and targeted customers. Conversion rate – from my experience – depends more on how well the game suits for specific audiences rather than only about the quality.

A game that gets 73% review (out of 100%) can convert a lot better than game that gets 92%. The reason: because the 92% game might be marketed to everybody. The 73% game might not be something that a reviewer likes (or something that most people like), but it could be very much fun for a certain tiny group of people.

If we only look the quality of a game, and how other games have sold – we might forget that there actually must be an audience who is willing to purchase. The preferences of those customers must be met to get game convert well.

What conversion rates tell us
If a game has 1% conversion rate, then the authors can make conclusions whether to try different markets and audience to get better conversions, or whether to improve the game. It’s quite easily forgotten that improving the quality (which is important) is not the only thing to think when people go through forums and say “why my game is not converting well”.

How to increase the conversion rate
When we want to increase our games conversion rate, there are a few metrics to pay great amount of attention:

  • The website: Website doesn’t quite likely affect on how well a game converts after downloading, but I include this point here to remember that getting people to download is important as well. Making sure that the download button is visible helps increase the download conversion which then can increase volume, and sales.
  • The demo or trial version: The trial’n’buy version of your game has a huge impact on whether people will download the game or not. Portals tend to use the “60 min gameplay” limitation, but in some games limiting the number of features, or having different time limitations or giving special discounts can increase the conversion rate.
  • Improving the quality: When you improve the quality of your game (it can be anything from smoother user interface to new levels to new features to bug fixes), the conversion rate should eventually increase as well.
  • Selling to those who want to buy: This point is often forgotten. Hardcore players and casual players have different ways to play games. Social players look different things than non-social players. Those who enjoy single-player over multi-player might have different requirements. The key here is to figure out whether you are presenting your game to the right audience.

Selling warm clothes in a desert won’t get anybody interested, but selling water might be just what people are after.

Juuso Hietalahti