Candy Crush Saga has quickly become one of the most popular games on Facebook and mobile devices, with a reported 15.4 million daily users on Facebook. While Candy Crush used to feature advertisements, King.com has recently announced that they are no longer relying on advertising for revenue. As advertising becomes more and more prevalent on our mobile devices, social media platforms, and popular websites, it would seem that a popular game such as Candy Crush draws most of its revenue from advertising. However, the widely addictive game has been able to draw the majority of its revenue from micro-transactions, which include in-game purchases of lives and bonuses to help beat more levels.
Candy Crush Addiction
How did this simple game of matching candy become such a phenomenon? ABC News recently reported on this Candy Crush addiction that affects over 15 million people. First, Candy Crush is attractive to users because it is a highly social game. You can play the game on your mobile device and connect through Facebook, or simply play on Facebook with your computer.
Candy Crush requires you to ask friends for tickets to progress to the next episode, and friends can gift one another lives and additional moves. Furthermore, Candy Crush ranks players by score, providing the incentive to compete against your friends. ABC News brought in a psychology professor to explain that the pattern-solving aspect of the game, combined with the increasing challenge as the levels progress and the satisfaction of beating them, keeps us “addicted” to Candy Crush Saga.
Micro-transactions & Product Integration
Candy Crush Saga is free, but in-game purchases exist in a variety of formats. Users can purchase extra lives, extra moves, and special candies that make levels easier. While these purchases are not necessary to progress in Candy Crush, they appear subtly and play on the addictive quality of the game. Offers to purchase special candies or extra moves appear after one has attempted a level multiple times or when the user is about to run out of moves in a level.
The extras have the appeal of being very cheap individually and easily purchased with a credit card. However, these micro-transactions quickly add up, making Candy Crush a profitable success. In addition, King.com integrates their other games into Candy Crush with the option to gain lives and special candies by completing a certain number of levels in another game created by King.com, such as Papa Pear Saga and Farm Heroes Saga. This brings consumers to other King.com products, where they can also make more micro-transactions.
What We Can Learn from Candy Crush
Candy Crush Saga’s success shows us two important aspects of marketing a product and making it profitable. The first is that one must draw the user into the product, which Candy Crush does through its addictive qualities and social media integration. Second, Candy Crush shows that unnecessary yet desirable micro-transactions can be extremely successful if they are marketed correctly. The subtlety and low costs of individual transactions rapidly adds up to a profitable business model.
Has your company created an innovative business model? What worked and what didn’t?
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