Beach Bum Games Uses OneSignal to Drive Player Retention
Beach Bum Games leverages OneSignal to re-engage players, increase monthly active users, and boost player retention across all their gaming apps.
About Beach Bum Games
Beach Bum Games is a mobile game studio that brings beloved games, including Dominos, Backgammon, Gin Rummy, and Spades, to a mobile audience. The company was founded by two mobile gaming industry veterans in 2015 and was recently acquired by the mobile entertainment giant, Voodoo games.
Like every mobile gaming studio, user retention is Beach Bum Game’s biggest challenge and greatest opportunity. Although the studio prides itself on designing “sticky” games with engaging player interfaces, push notifications are a must-have to keep players engaged with gameplay day after day.
As Ishai Kerem, CRM and Monetization Manager for Beach Bum’s Gin Rummy and Rummy Rush Studios, says:
“Here in the gaming industry, push notifications are the best retention tool and the best way to return players to the game. And that’s why we love to work with OneSignal.”
Before using OneSignal, Kerem and his peers at Beach Bum Games used a legacy engagement solution. As he examined Gim Rummy’s retention data, however, he noticed a problem. Shortly after users downloaded the game, they tended to churn because there was nothing in place to remind users to return to the game. Although this is a common challenge in the mobile game industry, it’s one that effective messaging can help remedy.
Kerem recognized that a critical re-engagement window existed two minutes after a player exited the game when their phone was likely still in hand. However, as he attempted to increase the scale and precision of their automated messages to re-engage players during this window, he found that their existing solution lacked the precision and sophistication he needed. To optimize their messaging strategy, he set out to find a new engagement solution that would integrate more seamlessly with their CRM data and allow them to leverage player data in real-time.
Rethinking Player Re-Engagement and Driving Retention
As an initial test of OneSignal, Kerem created a new automated re-engagement campaign in OneSignal that targeted users in the two-minute window after they first exited the app. Unlike their previous solution, OneSignal allowed him to accurately customize and trigger the message to be relevant to each player’s experience.
The impact of this personalization upgrade was profound. Before switching to OneSignal, the CTR [Click-Through Rate] for push notifications in Gin Rummy was never above 1%, but this new campaign earned 12% CTR.
This represents a significant impact on profit margin in the gaming industry, where the top 25% of games have an average monthly retention rate of just 4%.
“It definitely increases engagement in the app in the first few days after download, which is the most crucial period for new users.”
Gili Mussman, the CRM and Monetization Manager who focuses on improving player retention for Beach Bum’s Backgammon and Domino games, made even greater strides after implementing OneSignal’s Data Tags. She knew the average duration of a player’s first session for each game. Using OneSignal’s Session_Duration Data Tag, it was easy for her to segment and target users with a shorter-than-average first session in the app. She created a new automated message to re-engage those users and saw an astounding 13 to 20% CTR.
“Those aren’t numbers we typically see with push notifications. It definitely increases engagement in the app in the first few days after download, which is the most crucial period for new users,” says Mussman.
Applying Their Success to Other Apps
Mussman’s team decided it was time for Backgammon and Dominoes' messaging strategy to undergo a similar trial.
OneSignal’s turn-key integration with Unity made it quick and easy to use real-time player engagement data to personalize and target messaging. Like Kerem, Mussman saw immediate results after making the switch.
“We saw a 1% increase in CTR across the board just from switching to OneSignal. I think one of the main reasons is the Intelligent Delivery feature; another is the improved deliverability.”
Using Journeys to Drive Daily Mission Completion
After the overwhelming success of his first re-engagement campaign in Gin Rummy, Kerem continued to optimize the game’s messaging strategy.
In Gin Rummy, users complete daily missions to receive bonuses on the platform. However, Kerem noted that players often abandoned the app after completing a mission, which meant they failed to collect their bonuses. To address this issue, he configured a OneSignal messaging Journey that reminded players who became inactive post-mission to return to the app to collect their prize.
The campaign earned an impressive 6.5% conversion rate bringing users back to the app. Kerem attributes its success to two key benefits of OneSignal’s Journeys tool — the ability to hone message relevance and perfect timing at scale. With Journeys, he could customize the re-engagement messaging based on each player’s in-game activity and trigger the message at the ideal moment for each player. More importantly, he delivered a personalized experience to thousands of players across different time zones.
“Every Journey is based on what they've done in the app, which makes returning to the app much easier,” says Kerem.
Mussman’s team moved their user reactivation and retargeting messages into a OneSignal Journey and saw a 140% increase in paid user activation just 10 days after implementation.
Leveraging Localization to Improve Engagement
For Mussman, better message reliability and Intelligent Delivery weren’t the only upsides of switching to OneSignal. The Backgammon game has a global audience, so message localization was essential to the success of its engagement strategy. Before adopting OneSignal, Mussman did all this work manually by creating separate campaigns and copy for each region. With OneSignal, she was able to use the language translation feature to save time and simultaneously improve the effectiveness of her campaigns using.
“We use the language feature because localization with push notifications is key. We love it because we don’t have to create different campaigns or messages. I’ve tested it time and time again, and we’ve seen up to a 4% increase when a push is translated.”
Using Data Tags to Hone Message Targeting, Relevance, and Timing
Shortly after implementing OneSignal, Mussman also introduced a Data Tag called Quest_ID that allowed her to better target users based on their real-time interaction with a metagame feature called “quest.” In the game, there are a variety of quests that players can pursue, but only one quest can be active at a given time.
Before implementing OneSignal, Mussman would guess which quest was active based on a user’s level and send a more generic quest-related message of encouragement. Without being able to segment users by their type of quest, she couldn’t personalize the message content or guarantee that the message was timely. After introducing the Quest_ID Data Tag, she was able to send more targeted and personalized messages to precisely the right audience. The new quest messages called out individual player goals and provided personalized recommendations, or what Mussman describes as “you want this, now do that” messaging. This quick yet significant change in her strategy led to a 250% increase in the average CTR for quest-related messages.
“User retention is the biggest goal for our push notification activity. That’s what we use OneSignal for — first and foremost.”
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