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Game Design Secrets by Wagner James Au

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Gaining and Keeping Users

With so many games and assorted distractions on Facebook, and a total user base that’s so large, it’s not enough for a designer to create a fun and challenging game. Just as key is finding the ideal slice of Facebook users who are most likely to enjoy your game, and then designing the game to increase the chance that they’ll not only try the game once, but will keep coming back to it every day, over an extended period of time. This can be done through a careful mix of targeted marketing, overall design, user-to-user sharing, and the introduction of features that encourage regular play. These game-creation basics are discussed in more detail in the following sections.

Know Your Market—and Drive Installs with Facebook Marketing

It’s a common mistake to assume that most Facebook games gain their popularity through update spam and “forced virality,” in which players must send installation requests to friends in order to advance in the game. For most Facebook games, advertising on the platform is a main driver of installs (see Figure 4-1), and it’s a core tool to find your audience—especially when you’re not Zynga or Wooga, and don’t have a large pre-existing audience to cross-promote your games to.

The trick is to identify the ideal audience for your game and precisely target them with Facebook ads.

Figure 4-1: Facebook advertising platform

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Using Facebook’s ...

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