Yaron Bartal

Yaron Bartal, SciPlay’s VP of Growth, discusses how their gaming apps find and keep loyal customers.

Yaron Bartal
Chief Operating Officer
SciPlay’s Focus on Retention Fuels Long-Term Success

Comscore reported that 67% of consumers “rarely or never” install new apps. That’s more than 2 out of 3 users! What do you think about this? If you believe this is true and that there are sources of friction that impedes people from installing apps — where do you think this friction comes from?

I think this is generally true and can see two main friction points:

  • A Flooded App Market — There is infinite content — 3 million Android Apps — which makes selecting a new app like going to a restaurant with too many options. You can’t try everything — so you don’t choose anything.
  • A Focus on Loyalty — Mobile developers do a good job updating content to keep their users loyal. This impedes people from installing new apps because once they are attached, they don’t have the desire to leave.

Overall, the flooded app market acts as a repellent for the traditional user who wants to stay in their comfort zone. People have little tolerance for things outside their focus — but once they get attached, they stay loyal.

One might consider Instant Apps, playable ads, being seen in Top Charts, and rich notifications all as examples of solutions that reduce friction. What solutions have you used that have been most effective in helping remove friction?

All of these solutions are great since their aim is to shorten the funnel and increase conversions, but it’s all a matter of how you put them into practice. Playable ads, for example, should perform amazingly well and boost conversion rates, but when that gameplay is misleading it could result in a high churn rate. In Sciplay We’ve also used video notifications which have shown mixed results.

We also started using preloads with Digital Turbine which are showing great promise. We’ve shown month over month growth, great conversion and retention, and also been able to expand into other regions. Preloads remind me of how Super Mario Brothers came as a package deal with Nintendo systems back in the day. If a game is there, a gamer is going to play it. It makes more sense to give what’s already on device a shot rather than shopping through millions of other apps.

Put on your futurist hat: what new innovations do you feel would be most helpful in removing friction or simplifying discovery?

Preloads are a great start, but since users sometimes don’t know that they have the app installed, we try to accompany them with push notifications embedded with “deep links”. The idea is to inform the user that the game is there and provide them with virtual currency or other incentives to go directly into the game. By using “deep links” with our notifications, we can change the entry point so they just aren’t going to the app store or even simply opening the app — they are going right to a certain spot where they can immediately act on the incentive.

Another research report recently found that the number of apps a person installs per quarter declines over time — by 40% after 10 years of using smartphones. What does this trend of declining app install rates by years of phone usage mean to app marketers?

The mobile app industry, particularly mobile games, is very dynamic. Consumer behavior is changing, but one thing remains true — once you have a loyal user, they will follow you wherever you go. We put a lot of effort into not losing DAUs (Daily Active Users) by providing an ever-changing environment. We invest a lot of efforts in amplifying our game features, adding new in-game perks and benefits and making sure we’re providing the best in-app experience. On top of that we invest highly in retargeting those users with special offers if we feel they’re about to churn and this way maintain a substantial, loyal user base.

Let’s Connect:
If a game is on device, gamers are gonna play it…. Rather than shopping through millions of apps.
Yaron Bartal
Chief Operating Officer