We all know that WOM (Word of Mouth) Marketing is as unrivalled a marketing tactic as you can find, and is the most effective method of brand growth, both in your close circle or through influencers. Plus, it can be free. When you start incentivising this phenomena, you’ve got yourself a sexy referral scheme. No longer free, but still an acquisition method with a very impressive return on investment.
Since day one at LTG, we knew that a referral scheme was going to be crucial to growing our exciting trivia game, pogl, affirmed by players who would frequently email about the friends they had encouraged to play alongside them, some of whom have become our most loyal players. However, we needed to find a referral mechanic that rewarded our loyal players, without that reward disadvantaging other players through in-game bonuses, such as extra lives.
What does it look like?
Our concept was simple. Taking inspiration from the “coffee shop stamp” cards, we developed a system that allowed users to increase their prize money in proportion to the users they’d referred. Each successful referral (stamped as complete when the referred user plays in a live tournament) awards the user a stamp and unlocks a new percentage increase on their winnings. For example, a second place winner of $100 who’s unlocked a 50% referral bonus receives $150.
The returns on a referral system to our brand can be endless, we’re benefiting our community of users as well as ourselves, at the same time.
For a social app like pogl, a referral scheme fosters an increased sense of community. Our most loyal users have seen the brand evolve in the last 9 months and a referral scheme allows them to feel more connected to pogl as ambassadors, as well as giving them a tangible reward for doing so. From our perspective it keeps them sticky, increasing their engagement and time in app as they check in to see the status of their pending referrals. Increasing the reward with each referral also encourages the user both to keep referring and to keep participating in live tournaments as the payout for doing so accumulates each time.
Equally, referrals reward people playing together with their friends, and participating in a pogl tournament in a group setting shifts from being an antisocial activity to a social one. Let’s also not forget that trust is an outcome that can’t be optimised through a traditional digital advertising approach. Metrics for brand confidence are always at their highest when peer to peer recommendations are utilised, but especially for a game that promises prizes without fees for entry, referrals eliminate any concerns over the game’s credibility.
By building a referral scheme that only costs us money when the acquired user plays in a live tournament, we’re only ever spending money on activated users, without having to pay for users that we have no guarantee will actually convert. An effective referral scheme is a no-brainer. Paid ads rack up huge bills, using sophisticated algorithms that target specific interests and personas. An old-school referral system simply infiltrates social groups with shared interests and hobbies, reaching a target audience at an accelerated rate for a fraction of the price.