Last update: May 2021

4 mins to read - 2021/05/14

How to Use Push Notifications & In-App Messaging for Liveops

Device-side push notifications are truly the next stage in the evolution of mobile marketing. Their use cases when it comes to increasing revenues and engagement for mobile games developers are virtually limitless. And when it comes to their full potential, we’re still only at the tip of the iceberg. One aspect of the mobile games industry where push notifications and in-app messaging are especially powerful in sparking player engagement is liveops (or “live operations”). Use your mobile engagement platform to drive a personalized liveops campaign in real-time that can adapt to different players’ preferences and in-game behaviors.

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mobile game liveops

LiveOps: A Refresher

Free-to-play (F2P) mobile games – and the communities of players that grow up around them – are constantly in flux. Whether it’s adding bonus content, running seasonal promotions, or promoting events to your fanbase (such as an AMA with the developers, a tournament, etc…) mobile games constantly need to be tweaked and upgraded to keep them fun and relevant.

What began at first as a way to fix bugs and glitches after the game went live has evolved with improved technology. Liveops allow developers greater flexibility and control over their games. Essentially, they are any small changes and touch-ups to the game that don’t alter the core code, or the fundamental gameplay. They help keep your games engaging and scalable, and user retention high. Liveops generally fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • New content. This can be bonus levels to play, or new written or video content, or even a new character or cosmetic items for players to have fun with
  • Live events. From Ask-Me-Anythings with the game studio team to community-wide tournaments or battle royales to leaderboard challenges. Live events are an opportunity to drum up excitement and get your fanbase involved and interacting with each other
  • New features. Whether this is new gaming mechanics, player-to-player messaging, or new player modes, these can be enough to pique interest to keep users coming back. Live events, as mentioned above, can be a good testing ground for new features, to see users’ response before making them permanent.
  • Cross-promotion. Send players promotions for partner games, or even other apps developed by your studio. (hint: push notifications are ideal for this aspect of liveops)

When it comes to the bottom line, it’s far more cost-efficient to gussy up successful mobile game with a creative and engaging liveops campaign, thus retaining the users you have long-term… as opposed to building a new game from scratch and having to put time and resources into acquiring a new user base.

mobile game liveops

How Can You Use Push Notifications in LiveOps?

Ultimately, liveops are the sign that your relationship with users is growing and changing. And to communicate that in real-time, push notifications are the ideal tool. The very nature of push notifications is to engage users and pique their interest, driving them back into your mobile game and towards new content or special events.

Push notifications can act as a conveyance for overtly monetary liveops. For example, send a push notification to alert users of a new line of skins in your 1st-person shooter game. Or a limited-time fire sale on other cosmetics for your simulator game. Use deep links to get the user directly to the page you want them on, in one click. Entice users to upgrade to the next tier of gameplay by informing them via push notification about new VIP subscriptions. Clicking on the notification will then open up the page in your app where they can learn more information about different subscription tiers… or even sign up for a trial run.

Push notifications are also ideal for inviting users to engage in ways that may not result in short-term revenues, but will retain them in the long-term as active members of your community. Invite them to view bonus content or play bonus levels. Direct them to new features, such as leaderboards, and invite them to get their friends involved. Spark competitive spirit by inviting them to take part in a tournament, with prizes (whether free tokens or just bragging rights on the leaderboard) for the last player standing. Invite them to submit questions for an AMA event. Liveops are integral to building a healthy, fun community around your game, which will organically draw more users to download your game and keep using it in the long-term.

in-app message raid
Image Source: Screenshot from Raid

What About In-App Messaging?

In-App Messaging serves the same function as push notifications – to inform and engage users – but they appear when the player is actively using your mobile game. They tend to take up the full screen, and often have a higher imagery-to-text ratio than standard notifications.

In-app messages don’t have the space constraints of push notifications. As such, they are ideal for walking users through a more involved process. For example, they can act as a tutorial for new players. Use them to point out the gaming mechanisms and how to navigate your app. They are also ideal for relaying backstory and narrative. Or at displaying novelty cosmetics and other items users can buy via in-app purchase. For example, use an in-app message to display leaderboard statistics of other players, or tournament results. If your player is signed up to attend an AMA, send them a 30-second alarm when it’s about to kick off.

Segmenting, Analytics, and A/B Testing With OpenBack

Liveops are show the flexible, human side of your mobile app. As such, it can take some trial and error before you get them right. To start off, ask your players for feedback. You can also do the footwork yourself by reading reviews of your game. Check out gaming websites or the App Store to gather ideas on how to improve your game. When you have a pretty good idea of what your users want, implement the changes and then test them on a cohort of users.

OpenBack has custom segments for Android and iOS built into our platform, so A/B testing is straightforward and intuitive. Our dashboard provides full metrics tracking across all your apps integrated with our SDK, with customizable filters and easy-to-understand visualizations of data so you can keep track in real-time of how different campaigns are affecting different user segments.

Get in touch with one of our experts to learn more about how OpenBack’s device-side push notification platform can drive your liveops campaign and increase player retention and long-term revenues.

To read more about how to use OpenBack to boost player retention and maximize revenues, download our Case Study: Dreamworks How To Train Your Dragon App, School of Dragons

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