As much as I don’t want to admit it, I’m a Candy Crush addict. I was introduced to the game through a friend on Facebook two years ago and there has been no turning back. It is really incredible how King, the producer of Candy Crush, has developed an empire from one highly-addictive game. They developed a brilliant go to market and retention strategy that has grown its user base and also generated a higher and higher share of wallet for each consumer that plays it.
To start, King built a game that draws the user in with an easy starting game play. They guide the user through instructions in the first few levels of the game, making the ramp easy and enjoyable. Additionally, they make the game challenging but not impossible. This is critical because if a game is too easy, people will get bored. However, if they make it too difficult, people will give up. Furthermore, they continue to add challenges and new types of tools as the gameplay progresses, providing the user with variety. The challenge, simple game play, and variety builds a competitive emotional connection with the consumer that keeps bringing them back for more. King then builds on that connection by monetizing it. Candy Crush limits your lives enough that you ultimately will have to wait for further gameplay when you get stuck on a particularly challenging level. Those consumers who are impatient will take the opportunity to purchase additional chances or power ups in each level to pass on to the next level, which is where they start making their revenue.
The company doesn’t do email marketing but instead focuses on connecting users through Facebook. They initially launched their game platform through Facebook but quickly expanded to a mobile application. Leveraging Facebook’s social networking, Candy Crush gives users the opportunity to opt out of paying for certain features (like additional lives) by doing outbound marketing to new potential users. This strategy is brilliant because it gives the consumer a free choice for additional play and markets the product to strong leads in the user’s network. Additionally, Facebook’s approach to sharing newsfeed events to “friends of friends”, the application gets broader marketing beyond the initially targeted friends. Finally, King does in-game marketing for its other platform games, enticing users to new experiences and further driving growth in its business.
– John Downey