Happy girl playing a game on her mobile phone

How to boost mobile gaming app engagement with social features

The mobile gaming app segment has taken the world by storm, especially during the pandemic. Mobile games act as virtual spaces where people can share, enjoy, and be outside their everyday routine. People crave human relationships and social contact, and many continued to seek community in mobile gaming even after the lockdown mandates eased. 

According to a study by Statista, new mobile gamers in selected countries spent more hours on mobile games during the lockdowns than pre-existing gamers did. Currently, there are 2.69 billion video game players globally, and mobile games dominate 66% of the App Store’s revenue. And while the pandemic is easing up, we cannot deny that mobile gaming habits have changed—they have created a sense of community where there might not have been during the lockdowns. 

It’s good news for the industry, but this rising demand also led to countless competitors grappling for a bigger piece of market share. What can you do to stand out from the crowd? We think it’s it’s all about getting social. 

What it means to be talked about in the mobile gaming world

The leading games in your category likely have solid strategies, but you can outshine them by focusing on high user engagement. But to drive interaction, you need to invest in social features. These enable gamers to become “sharers,” eager to involve their friends in their mobile app experiences.

A study by Applifier stresses the impact of word-of-mouth advertising, where gamers have been found passionate about sharing their in-game transactions. Around 20% of users are sharers—they play more often, download more games, and facilitate the conversion of other potential gamers. 

Engagement cultivates organic buzz in a way that advertisements cannot replicate. But you need to give your users something to talk about and spaces to talk in. This is where social features come into play. 

There are countless benefits of investing in social features, including:

  • Retaining existing gamers
  • Coming up with more creative user-generated content 
  • Driving a sense of competition (and therefore motivation) among users 

Again, adding social features empower you to keep your players active, boosting your value and relevance.

Harnessing the power of social features for your mobile gaming app

With millions of games available with the same features, how can you be sure they’ll provide the same level of value? Well, these features are encompassing and work to help you create an engaging mobile gaming app.

While these are standard in-game social features, don’t be fooled. They’re powerful enough to boost your mobile gaming app engagement—so long as you use them correctly. 

1 - In-Game Chat

An example of an in-game chat on a mobile device

When socializing online, you might think of online streamers who talk endlessly through calls, but in-game chats remain a powerful way to express thoughts while gaming. Having an in-game chat box allows your players to interact and communicate in a single space via short text and emoticons. 

Many games also incorporate voice chat and calls, which may or may not be appropriate for your product. At the end of the day, the goal is to create an open communication line for your users.

Feature Case Study: Mobile Legends

Like Dota or League of Legends, Mobile Legends players can choose from a collection of heroes, purchase skins, create teams, and then defend their base while obliterating enemies. 

As a worldwide phenomenon, mobile legends thrive on a multiplayer setup. A MOBA, or Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, works well with advanced chat settings, facilitating communication between players. 

Each team member must coordinate and cooperate to win against the team enemy, making the fame exciting, fun, and of course, competitive. This makes in-game chat vital to the game’s design! 

Why can it work for you?

In-game chat allows players to collaborate, connect, and socialize. According to a study by Response Center for Teens, online video games allow players to talk to each other and make friends—especially when they cannot leave their homes. 

You boost player engagement and retention by nurturing a sense of community in your mobile app. Because why would they leave a space where they feel included, heard, and seen?

2 - Push Notifications

An example of an in-game push notification

Push notifications are often overlooked for all the wrong reasons. Most game developers end up suffering from incorrect application or overuse of this feature. According to a study by the Business of Apps, aroundof Gen Z users delete apps due to irrelevant notifications

To drive mobile gaming app engagement with push notifications, you must ensure relevancy and value. Push notifications are inherently social. Players still appreciate getting notifications about new messages, good deals they can’t miss, and even reminders to collect rewards. 

Feature Case Study: Design Home

Design Home is a mobile game that allows players to construct spaces with 3D home decor, furniture, and other items from existing brands. While it caters to interior design enthusiasts, Design Home remains a cult favorite due to its mastery of push notifications. 

The mobile game notifies users about cash prizes, as daily challenges allow them to “earn” money to purchase decor and furniture. This prompts them to remain active every single day.

Push notifications are also used to encourage designers to participate, where they can sell their designs and gain traction for their work. In turn, this generates buzz that enables users to engage further and explore the game—especially since community voting on interior designs also happens daily. The better pieces you have, the more chances you have of becoming a crowd favorite. 

Why can it work for you?

Retention relies on the fear of missing out (FOMO). Your users will want to get their hands on the best deals and offers first, making it essential to invest in push notifications. Whether it be a message from a friend during a game or a reminder to collect daily rewards, tasteful use of push notifications can help keep user engagement strong. 

3 - Social Media Integration

An example of an in-game social media integration

Thanks to social media, the mobile gaming world continues to thrive each year. According to Go Globe, users will have spent 300 billion hours on social platforms by the end of 2022, making it an essential factor in boosting mobile gaming engagement. 

It’s vital that when a user launches your game, you provide them with the option to link their accounts to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. This makes it easy for them to track friends, invite users, and share in-game content link rankings and achievements.

With social media integrations, you must encourage users to share their content online. Whether through live video streaming, sharing leaderboards, or showing off their new skills or skins, you can cultivate a sense of ownership by incorporating social sharing capabilities.

Feature Case Study: Call of Duty

Call of Duty—a household shooter game by Activision—features World War II narratives, Cold War, and other themed storylines that continue to keep players on their toes. Integrated with social features, players can now play in two-person or four-person squads. In 2020, the mobile game enjoyed over 250 million downloads. 

Besides its sophisticated graphics, customization options, and ranking opportunities, Call of Duty also thrives beyond the game in community-based platforms like Facebook and Reddit. A subreddit called r/CallOfDuty allows users to connect worldwide on tips, tricks, and other advice, made possible through seamless social media integration. 

Why can it work for you?

Given Call of Duty’s success outside the game, integrating social media into your app allows you to create close relationships and an active player base. This allows you access to unbridled customer feedback, valuable user experience information, and other issues that can help you fix the game better and quicker. You can use social media to ensure your audience gets exactly what they want.

4 - Guilds

An example of an in-game guild

Guilds are in-game communities mostly found in multiplayer games, but it brings together players with similar interests and complementary game styles. These communities are built around systems players create and partake in. Within them, players can compete as teams, collaborate against enemies, finish goals, and exchange resources. 

Larger guilds gain recognition in the community, so lead players often actively recruit members. This creates a feeling of camaraderie and belonging among groups, while reinforcing a desire among other players to become a part of it.

Feature Case Study: Pokemon Unite 

Pokemon Unite continues to make strides in the mobile gaming app. It charmed the world with its simple MOBA gameplay featuring well-loved characters, and it recently introduced a new feature enabling players to create “Unite Squads.” 

Up to 30 players can join a single Unite Squad, allowing users better success with goals, ranking up, sharing strategies, and communicating with like-minded players.

Why can it work for you?

A sense of community incentivizes your players to keep coming back. They’ll have friends and achievements that tie them back to your game. While this drives retention, guilds also motivate loyalty, cementing your game’s impact in the sea of competitors. 

Games provide more than just a digital space, after all. They’ve become “third places,” where people go to unwind and escape from everyday routine.

Empowering mobile players with powerful social features 

Mobile games have become more than just fun and play. They’re now spaces for socialization and community. The right communication features can enhance experiences that allow them to thrive as players, build personalized characters, meet new friends, and gain value from in-game experiences like never before. 

Although behind the screen, users can connect with players worldwide, effectively widening their worlds—all thanks to mobile gaming apps. With rising demands and competitors, however, cutting through the noise with compelling and valuable social features is the only way to keep the ball rolling.

Building a thriving community is easier said than done, though. By now, you may have noticed that all features listed above, including guilds, bank on social capabilities that need to work together seamlessly. 

It can be challenging to develop everything at once, but with social SDKs from Amity, you can access read-to-use social features that drive players to your platform. 

Our pre-built and customizable social features can help you build game experiences that boost engagement and drive more interactions. 

No man is left behind here—build better in-game communities with us!


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