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How do free-to-play online games turn a profit? The week’s episode of CMO Radio welcomes Kevin Frisch, CMO of GSN Games, to discuss in-app currency and customer acquisition.

 

GSN Games brings the excitement of Vegas to your computer screen, offering a variety of online “casino-style games” — bingo, card games, and slot machines — where players can gamble virtual currency instead of emptying their wallets.

 

Here’s how it works: when you join a game, you’re awarded a fixed amount of “tokens” to gamble. You’re given the incentive to return because every day, tokens are automatically replenished, and you have the opportunity to earn even more. Since the vast majority of players don’t spend money in the game, GSN relies on the customers who want to keep playing when their daily tokens disappear as the primary source of revenue. The challenge is identifying those players and getting them over what Frisch calls “the mental hump.”

 

“There’s a psychological barrier to get people to say, ‘Yeah, I don’t mind paying for this entertainment,” Frisch said. “Once you get them to cross that, it’s easier to get them to purchase again, and that is, I would say, true across all marketing.”

 

Additional highlights from this week’s episode of CMO Radio include:

 

  • Understanding player behavior (5:40)
  • The more you have, the more you spend (12:09)
  • Player vs. player (16:01)
  • Measuring the last click (20:00)

 

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