The social gaming trend is taking mobile games by storm and therefore the search for innovation in social elements is intensifying. Even the single-player casual genres have seen a shift towards more co-op games in 2021 and are expected to solve the revenue puzzle as well.
This brings us indirectly to the Friend Referral system, a feature that has the potential to support user acquisition and retention by word of mouth.
We’ve compiled examples to show you how this system builds from casual to intermediate games, and we hope they’ll inspire you to take the social elements even further in your game. Whether it’s friends with benefits or friends with benefits, it’s up to you.
Assemble feathery birds with prizes
The Friend Referral system is different from sending friend requests in times of need and gifting a handful of energy. In its simplest form, it encourages and encourages players to invite new players to download the game for rewards by sharing referral codes.
After the new player downloads the game and writes the code, they can both get gifts. Most importantly, casual mobile games using this feature have the simplest implementation of the Invite Friend system.
Let players promote your game, more interested friends more cheerful
With the help of the encouraging Friend Invitation system mechanic, game studios can observe more players by enabling the player base to perform low-key user acquisition on their behalf.
Taking players’ motivational factors into account when creating the Invite Friend system will likely generate more engagement. For example, if your game has a decorative layer, you can add sweet cosmetics, etc., to players who have the power to send more players in the game. It would be wise to reward
Lock special rewards behind friend retention mechanics
Some mobile games experiment with unique rewards included in the referral friend’s progress. That is, when a friend reaches a certain level and becomes a newly converted player, the player will receive a reward. It is absolutely crucial that the referred friend plays the game for more than just an hour.
RAID: Shadow Legends has extensive Friend Referrals and has added Friend Referral Points in a recent revision. It allows players to refer up to six friends and receive rewards based on the referred friend’s progress in level milestones, for example the exclusive Epic Hero Djamarsa. Fragments of this hero can be received when a referred friend reaches level 10.
A chance to receive special rare characters and rewards from the referred friend’s activity acts as a CTA. RAID: A well-used motivator that appeals to the treasure hunter player archetype that makes up the bulk of Shadow Legends’ player base.
The last update went the extra mile and changed the prize pools as well. When three of the first referred friends reach level 50, players indulge in another character, Legendary Hero Crohnam, like a cherry. Together with Djamarsa, they form a dynamic duo thanks to their synergy enthusiasts. If all six recommended friends reach 50, the player will receive a unique skin for Crohnam as a bonus!
Players will earn Referral Points when any of the referred friends exceed 50 or do IAPs. Points unlock additional rewards when thresholds are reached to properly tie the Friend Referral System in an arc.
Have players remember their old friends for rejoining
Since there are many reasons why players stop playing, how about rekindling the fire?
Besides setting up a permanent, full-fledged Invite Friend system, this feature can be applied to an event and create a sense of urgency.
The games in the Chinese Market and the Japanese Market feature Recall Events that share the same core but focus on inviting former players back into the game. As you can imagine, it encourages the act of inviting with nothing but in-game rewards.
Three Kingdoms Fantasy Land (三国志幻想大陆 – 国创加强版) emphasizes an individual approach rather than encouraging multiple former players to invite. In this Recall Event, the player enters their old friend’s user ID to join the event. Then an agreement is made between the players and the invitee wins ten gacha coins. And it doesn’t end there.
What makes the event stand out is that it has a mission system for players who make up the pact. They are rewarded with activity points and premium currency for completing tasks together. When they reach the event point thresholds, there are chests containing rare items, such as 400 points.
Friend referral programs can generate more retention
FinanceOnline’s 2022 research has proven effective word-of-mouth marketing tactic that encourages customers to promote a brand, with referrals from referrals having surprisingly 30% higher conversion rates. Friend Referral programs in games follow the same marketing tactics and are common in MMO and PVP games.
Thanks to the pandemic, the need for connection of socially deprived people has contributed to the rise of the social gaming trend. So what better marketing tactic that encourages players to connect with their friends than a reward system that promotes a positive feedback loop?
The Friend Referral feature is still relatively rare and by itself not enough to make a market impact. But time will tell if this feature will receive more attention as the post-IDFA world forces the mobile gaming industry to get more creative with UA apps.
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