Weekly App Review: Why Four Pics One Word Loses Players to Ads

Helpshift’s Review Analytics gives a thorough, actionable breakdown of what people say about your product in the app store. You now have the ability to transform feedback into a solid product development and marketing strategy at scale. Every week we’ll provide data-driven insights for an app based on its publicly available user ratings.

Four Pics One Word (FPOW) has a global average review score of 3.5 on iOS, excluding ratings without a review attached. What can their reviews tell us about the app’s localization strategy? Let’s start by checking the review sentiments each day this week.

Four Pics One Word is generally well received. Yet at the beginning of this week, you can see a spike of bad reviews that lowered their average score by a star. The difference between 4 and 3 stars is thousands of potential downloads that would contribute to your app’s success. Studios often work hard to attract players only to be foiled by solvable issues. Rating dips are always a profit concern–most players find apps organically, and they won’t see this game unless it has great ASO. How can they increase monetization without upsetting their happy players?

Diving into reviews will easily reveal pain points when a bad review trend starts to happen. In this case, the vast majority of negative reviews are because of FPOW’s ad rates. Most players say the same thing–they agree it’s a good game, but it’s not worth sifting through all the advertisements. Their engagement suffers with constant interruptions. One churned player exclaimed “Greed spoils another otherwise good app!”

It’s common to assume that displaying more ads will provide more revenue. That assumption is wrong. 79% of users believe that mobile ads are intrusive, and will readily delete an app that shows too many regardless of game quality. Remember: showing two ads a day for 5 months is more profitable (and a better user experience) than showing 4 ads a day for a month before the player deletes it. The best way to increase mobile ad revenue is by providing utility, or timing it to lead players along a funnel. Summoner’s War only offers upgrades that would allow players to beat a level they struggle with. FPOW should adhere to that strategy.

Gartner has found that a great mobile marketing tactic is to weave call-to-action into your customer experience. FPOW can improve their monetization by making ads feel more natural and less like a money grab. For example, they can offer ads for other puzzle games to form a cross-platform partnership. Or they could incentivize ad participation by offering “coins” for watching short videos. Players are more forgiving of advertisements that feel contextual and rewarding. Plus–listening to users will bring ratings back to attractive levels, because customers will sing their praises:

Great things will happen when Four Pics One Word adjusts their ads as customers ask: players will stick with the app longer (increasing revenue), they will become advocates that bring more players into the fold (reducing acquisition costs), and the brand will gain strength over competitors.

To summarize:

  • Displaying more ads is not always the answer to increase monetization. FPOW should try targeting ads around moments that don’t interrupt the player’s experience, or making ads that help players along. Players will stick around to see more of them.
  • Listening to your loyal customers by easing up on monetization is likely to increase profits, because those players will become advocates that aid acquisition efforts.
  • Always ensure that moments in your game feel natural to the player. Developing advertisement partnerships with other puzzle games will help funnel players about to churn–and the other game will return the favor for you.

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