As any marketer knows, successful marketing strategies involve captivating potential customers along their buying journey with the right message at the right time and, of course, in the right place. Increasingly, that right place is mobile games.
More popular than texting or social media, more than 200 million people play mobile games in the United States. And innovative c-store brands are harnessing that skyrocketing popularity to uncover new customers and drive more regular traffic under the mounting economic pressures from inflation, operations, and labor costs, all of which limit further marketing budgets. Here are four ways c-stores can improve their marketing results through mobile games.
1. Drive new users for less
Brands are increasingly relying on reward programs and loyalty apps to expand their base of higher frequency, higher spend customers, but those efforts often fail to reach the target audience and drive true engagement.. Marketing through mobile games has literally changed the game, uncovering entirely new networks of customers.
And, for c-store brands on the hunt for new customers, mobile game players are a particularly smart audience to target. They don’t mind brands reaching out during gameplay. In fact, 56% reported that they are more likely to buy from a brand that is featured in their favorite game.
They also appreciate a good deal. Some 70% of respondents in Savanta’s 2023 gaming report said that they mainly play games on their phones, and 52% play free games that charge users only to unlock premium features.
What’s more, it’s cheaper to reach that engaged audience through mobile games than other digital advertising alternatives. With Mobivity’s help, through its Connected Rewards solution, a major global convenience store brand recently acquired 158,000 new consumers in 45 days through mobile games. Those new consumers were acquired nearly 30% faster with an 82% lower acquisition cost than other digital advertising channels such as social media, influencer marketing and digital ad networks.
2. Increase loyalty and visits
Persuading a customer to make a first-time visit is one thing; building a loyal customer who keeps returning is another. Through mobile game marketing, c-store brands can do just that. In fact, Mobivity data finds that up to 43% of first-time customers don’t just leave with their redeemed offer, they also make multiple purchases — either with friends who joined them or during return visits.
The right in-game reward can spark new traffic to a c-store, such as an offer for a free coffee or fuel discount for reaching a new level. And they can increase loyalty through in-game rewards for extra discounts or free products for additional visits and more rewards when mobile gamers sign up for the brand’s loyalty program.
3. Promote new products and offerings
Mobile gamers are also immersed in expansive virtual worlds, and the wider reach of their digital word-of-mouth can be even more effective at promoting new products and offerings.
Smart marketers will build in-game rewards around the latest seasonal offer or new value menu item that encourage mobile users to share the reward or the game with the rewards to their online communities.
7-Eleven, for example, created a Fortnite scavenger hunt with a “reward” that involved uncovering a custom built store and gas station at “There Car” Island. Gamers that posted a picture had an opportunity to win prizes such as weekly fuel discounts.
4. Reach new customers all the time
We’re on our phones five hours a day, and our usage peaks at different times depending on various factors. Evening is the most popular time for most users, especially Millennials, Gen X and women, according to ironSource. Both the afternoon and evening, however, draw more men and members of Gen Z.
But, via mobile gaming, c-store brands can reach prospective customers at any hour, including traditionally low traffic times as gamers check in throughout the day. In fact, while 28% of mobile users scroll through their social media before going to bed and another 22% scan their texts before going to bed, 30% check in on their mobile games. A well-timed reward for a free morning coffee with the purchase of a breakfast sandwich might nurture a few sweet dreams, and a gamer ready to partake in the morning.
Mobile gaming is an emerging marketing channel for c-stores, but it quickly could become a primary channel as playing games is the #1 preferred form of entertainment. But any launch of a new marketing strategy must be intentional, and easy adoption is critical in mobile gaming.
Mobivity’s Connected Rewards platform helps connect brand marketers with mobile game publishers to deliver in-game rewards strategically and at scale. This ensures offers are displayed in a progressing sequence, in relation to proximity, or according to other relevant parameters. A quickly loading mobile-friendly page, a simple form to sign up and text-to-join options are also ways to increase the effectiveness of campaigns and marketing spend.
With the right partners and tools in place, the new opportunities that mobile gaming presents are a win-win for c-store brands and the new customers they entice.