Upgrade your creatives with gamer motivations: customization and self-expression

Creative Assets

April 18, 2023

Gamer motivations are making a strong comeback in app marketing, especially for mobile games. But how can you take advantage of them while building your marketing strategy? We’ll show you how, one gamer motivation at a time!

What are gamer motivations?

Gamer motivations is a marketing tool that classifies users’ gaming intentions to better target them while setting up a marketing strategy. They help segment your user base according to what they’re looking for. 

Knowing what drives them to download mobile games is a great way to improve targeting, especially with the rise of ATT. It’s becoming harder and harder to target users, with access to third-party data being more difficult. It’s more efficient to target users through their needs and show them that what they’re looking for is available in your app or game. 

Gamer motivations can help you refine targeting, but to take advantage of them it’s important to figure out what they are and how to use them.

source: Facebook’s The Big Catch Playbook // source: Liftoff

There are many different options to categorize gamer motivations, Meta has 8 gamer motivations, Liftoff and Quantic Foundry have 6. Usually, these motivations are pretty similar but there is no set list. You can even make up your own motivations according to your audience. 

Gamer motivation can be a game changer, according to Meta’s research, they “drive higher user value and higher ads quality scores”. They also help improve conversion rate and reduce churn by targeting the right audience for your game. 

It’s a new way to segment your audience without relying on demographic data, and you can take advantage of this segmenting with tools such as Product Page Customization in the App Store and Personalized Listing Pages in the Google Play Store. Tailor your creatives to your audience’s specific needs and motivations. 

About self-expression & customization

Meta calls it self-expression, Liftoff calls it customization & decoration and Quantic Foundry calls it creativity. This gamer motivation is all about personalization and connection to the game. Users who are looking for self-expression are motivated by expressing their individuality and personality in game. 

Aesthetic control is very important for these users, being able to curate their experience and gameplay to fit their needs and desires. AppLovin found out that customization helps increase mobile game engagement, because users seek the ability to leave their mark, they will be more involved in the game if they can push boundaries and explore all the possibilities at their fingertips. 

These users like to personalize their experience, either by building something, customizing a character or decorating a house, having to make choices both aesthetics but also strategic. The experience needs to feel personal and to promise customization, to make it unique as well. 

Gamers in search of customization don’t want to have a regular gaming experience, they want the mobile game they’re considering downloading to bring them something special that’s just theirs, they want to leave their mark. They’re usually also interested in discovery and exploration. 

How to showcase it in creatives

The main element to show is the possibility of choices. But depending on your game genre, these choices will be different. You have a battle game? You can show customizable weapons, outfits, characters or even battle formation! Show diversity in your gameplay, that the users’ decisions actually show up in the game. 

Customization is mostly about creativity and visual impact, from renovation to character makeover, users want to make aesthetic choices and arrange the game’s universe to fit their identity. 

Addressing them directly with your copy is a great way to start. Help them visualize the experience and the customization they could set up. Let’s take a look at Stardew Valley, there’s a lot happening in this game but their first App Store screenshot is about the gamer building the farm of their dreams, not any farm mind you, the one they always dreamed of, one that would be just theirs, exactly how they like it.

And yes, as with any farming game, you can grow crops and take care of animals in Stardew Valley, but you can also design the farm however you like. This screenshot shows several type of choices like animals (you can see a cow, a goat, a duck, a horse and chickens) but also different houses, walls and floors. Even if you don’t see someone picking these things, it’s enough to see the diversity of options possible to know that you can do anything you want and set up the farm just as you’d like.

For survivor.io, a zombie survival game, showing customization is about weapons and skills combo. At the top of one of their Play Store screenshots you can see Skill Selection as well as available choices for weapons. It also implies that there are many ways of fighting the game’s zombies and that gameplay is a unique experience. By focusing on possible combos, it shows the user that no matter the limited amount of weapons available, they can design their own experience and make it personal. It’s a great way to show them that even if they don’t think so, especially within certain game genres, they can still find elements of customization to make the most of their gaming experience.

You can also address the player directly in your visual assets. It works great for screenshots, with straightforward CTAs but it’s also relevant for video ads. This mobile Mario game shows different colored Toads as well as different kingdoms. It’s straight to the point, and shows users that they will be able to personalize their experience.

But there are a lot of options to showcase customization options, both with static and video assets. Some keywords like “unique”, “your own”, “choose”, “customize”, “your dream….”, etc. will go a long way towards that goal. Feel free to adapt it to your product and show the uniqueness of your gaming experience. There’s always a way of making it feel special and personalized, and it will be helpful to help you convert users in search of a customized experience.

These users are looking to make their experience as personal as can be, you just need to show them how it would work in your app or mobile games. Customization is not just about creating a character that looks like you, it’s about having a unique gameplay experience and the freedom of making choices to impact your gaming.

This is probably why Campfire Cat Cafe chose to highlight the word choose for its first screenshot, because that is what customization is all about: making the choice to have a unique experience. You just need to show users the way.

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