Nudges in Gaming Apps

Kanishka Thakur
April 18, 2024
8 mins


A few decades ago, mobile gaming was all about simple graphics and addictive gameplay ruling the tiny screens of Nokia phones. Fast forward to today, and mobile gaming has exploded into a massive industry projected to be worth over $700 billion by 2032

With more than 60% of smartphone users downloading a game within a week of getting their phone and spending 20+ hours a week on their phones playing games, it's clear that people love mobile gaming. But it's not just about having cool graphics or fun gameplay. 

Gaming apps need to keep players engaged, but how do they do that? That's where nudges come in. In this blog, we'll explore how these little reminders help gaming apps stand out and keep players coming back for more.

What is an In-app Nudge?

In-app nudges are subtle prompts or gentle reminders within an app made to enhance user experience. 

They are designed to help you use the app more effectively based on user behavior and contextual action. Their aim is to guide users in the right direction, ultimately leading to increased user retention and engagement. 

In gaming apps, in-app nudges can be used to enhance user experience and engagement in various ways:

  • Getting Started: When you're new to an app, these nudges can show you around and make it easier for you to sign up. For example, if you're using a gaming app for the first time, it might give you a quick tour to show you how to start playing.
  • Using Features: They also help you discover new features and keep you engaged. Let's say you're using a gaming app, and there's a new game available. The app might nudge you to check it out. Or, it might show you how to use filters to find games you like.
  • Making Money: Sometimes, these nudges can even help the app make money. For example, the app might remind you about upcoming matches and suggest you invite friends to earn rewards.
  • Feedback: They can also ask for your opinion to help improve the app. These nudges are designed to be subtle so they don't bother you while you're using the app. They come in different shapes and sizes and can be helpful tips or just information you might need.

In-app nudges are designed to be subtle and non-intrusive, delivering a hassle-free user experience that lets users continue using the app while simultaneously grabbing their attention. They are also relevant to a user's context at all times, coming in a variety of designs, and can be instructional or informational depending on what a user needs at the moment.

How Can Nudges Increase User Retention in Gaming Apps?

In-app nudges are a handy way to keep users engaged with gaming apps, increasing user retention in the process. They encourage progress, celebrate good behavior, and make the app feel like it's made just for you, which keeps users interested and coming back for more fun.

But how exactly do they do that? In-app nudges can increase user retention in 3 major ways:

  • Encouraging Progression: Nudges can help users move ahead in the app by showing them what's new, pushing them to finish challenges, and reminding them to keep playing.

    For instance, a gaming app might remind users to finish their daily tasks or let them know about a new level they can try.
  • Reinforcing Positive Behavior: Nudges can also give users a pat on the back for doing well and encourage them to keep using the app.

    For example, a gaming app might cheer users on for winning or show off their accomplishments. This makes users feel more involved with the app and more likely to stick around.
  • Personalizing the Experience: Nudges can make the app feel like it's made just for you by suggesting games or sports leagues that match your interests.

    For example, if you've played certain games before, a gaming app might suggest similar ones you might like. This makes users feel more connected to the app and more likely to keep using it.

Using In-App Nudges for Improved User Onboarding in Gaming Apps

As we already mentioned earlier, in-app nudges are ideal for getting users started with a new gaming app. These quick reminders simplify the sign-up process and quickly familiarize the users with the app in the following ways:

  • Interactive Guides: Nudges can create interactive tutorials with tooltips and pop-ups to show users around the app and highlight important features. This helps users quickly understand what the app offers and keeps them interested.
  • Promoting Exploration: It’s crucial to encourage users to explore the app by pointing out new games or features, and in-app nudges do exactly that. They motivate users to try out different things and make the app more fun to use.
  • Step-by-Step Feature Introductions: A gradual way to introduce users to the app's updated or new features is through in-app nudges For example, they might highlight a new game and offer tips on how to play it. This makes users more comfortable with the app over time.
  • Clear Directions: Nudges are the ideal way to present clear instructions on how to navigate the app. They might point out buttons or features and explain how to use them. This helps users feel confident and keeps them using the app.

Nudge Use Case in Gaming Apps

There are multiple ways you can use in-app nudges in a gaming app to keep users hooked on it without being too obvious. Too many reminders or unnecessary nudges might drive users away, so subtlety is key.

Some of the best use cases for nudges in gaming apps include:

1. Interactive Onboarding Tours 

In-app nudges can create interactive tours to help users learn about the app. These tours use tooltips, pop-ups, and visuals to show users how things work. 

For example, in Candy Crush, tooltips guide new players on how to play the game. These tooltips make it easier for players to understand the game and enjoy it. Offering this help right in the game makes learning easier and keeps players from feeling overwhelmed. 

So, how will you incorporate these nudges into your gaming app? With Nudge. Nudge helps you set up onboarding tours to guide users on how to:

  • Make an account and add friends
  • Help new players learn the game rules with interactive tooltips
  • Show players how to play the game at the beginning
  • Point out basic buttons and moves during the tutorial

These hands-on tours make users feel more confident using the app and more likely to stick with it. Nudge's in-app nudges can boost activation, keep new users around, and make more money for your app.

2. In-app Messages

In-app messages are useful for sharing important info with users, like updates or reminders. Using these messages at the right time can get more people to interact, and even encourage purchase within the gaming app. 

You can use in-app messages to:

  • Inform them of a new game update or level that you can finally play
  • Send reminders for special events, bonuses, or daily prizes to get players to log in regularly
  • Recommend playing with friends or joining multiplayer games to have more fun
  • Offer rewards to entice players to come back to the game after taking a break
  • Show cool sales or discounts on stuff you can buy in the game

Such timely info keeps users interested and more likely to continue using the app. Plus, if you use Nudge and mix tours with in-app messages, your app's revenue and user numbers will significantly go up by a notch.

3. Walkthroughs and Spotlights

You can create walkthroughs that guide users through the app step-by-step. These guides use tooltips and pop-ups to not only show key features but also give helpful hints to progress in your game. 

You can create walkthroughs and spotlights to:

  • Give players helpful hints during tough levels to help them beat the game
  • Offer useful tooltips about how to play or special game modes
  • Suggest different ways to try when players keep failing in one part of the game

Nudge guarantees that walkthroughs and spotlights help more people discover features, progress game levels, and stay engaged. This inevitably boosts sales, keeps users, and increases conversion.

4. Personalized Recommendations

When your gaming app establishes a personal relationship with you, you’re ought to feel great about it. And you can use In-app nudges to provide personalized messages or tooltips to users based on their interests and preferences. 

Other than in-app messages, these recommendations are your best shot at boosting in-game purchases. You can do so by suggesting users to:

  • Buy stuff in the game that suits what the player likes and how they play
  • Try new game modes or levels based on what the player has played before
  • Take a look at special deals for things the player likes or has looked at
  • Use the game money they have but haven't spent yet
  • Say if there are special features or subscriptions that match how the player likes to play

Examples of Nudges in Gaming Apps

Many gaming apps have already incorporated nudges and seen fabulous results. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular examples of nudges from today’s gaming apps:

1. Dream11

dream11 tooltips

Dream11, India’s leading fantasy sports game, has seen incredible growth by using a variety of in-app nudges effectively. This arsenal of nudges includes: 

  • Simple, straightforward tooltips to urge users to explore different features notifications
  • Tailored messages to congratulate winners and remind them of past victories, encouraging them to continue playing
  • A 3-step onboarding walkthrough to guide users, ensuring they understand the app's features and boosting user engagement and retention

Plus, Dream11 has a partnership with Hotstar that has extended its reach, maximizing user engagement.

2. Candy Crush

candy crush in-app nudges

Who hasn’t spent hours on Candy Crush trying to crush a particularly tough level?

This popular match-three puzzle game uses in-app nudges to encourage users to continue playing. These messages are clear and direct, telling players to come back for rewards, move ahead, or access bonus levels through a quick purchase.

Also, the game gives tips within the app to help new players understand how to play well. These tips are easy to understand and help players learn the game better. By giving help directly in the game, Candy Crush makes sure players don't get overwhelmed and can keep playing smoothly.

3. Wordscapes

wordscapes nudges

Developed by PeopleFun, this popular mobile word game is known for its effective nudges. And here’s why they stand out:

  • Every single nudge is personalized based on each player's progress, so if you're stuck, you'll get a reminder to try again
  • Wordscape’s nudges establish a sense of urgency, making you feel like you need to finish levels quickly
  • Nudges come with rich elements like cool pictures and animations, making them fun to look at
  • Sometimes, nudges appear as hints for tough levels, which can help you if you're struggling

4. Subway Surfers

subway surfer in-app message

If you're curious about how Subway Surfers attracts millions of users worldwide, one of their secrets is their personalized but non-intrusive in-app nudges. They use them for:

  • Gamification: Nudges make completing challenges or collecting coins fun, adding a playful element to the game and boosting user engagement.
  • Rewards: Players are rewarded for completing certain tasks, motivating them to continue playing and stay engaged with the game.
  • Education: Nudges introduce new features and mechanics, helping players understand the game better and improving their experience.

Additionally, the game's freemium model and enticing in-app purchases contribute to its success by effectively monetizing the app while retaining a large user base.

5. Clash of Clans

clash of clan tutorials

Supercell’s Clash of Clans is a free mobile strategy game that comes with highly interactive tutorials to help players understand the app's tips and tricks.

These tutorials give detailed guides on how to build your village, train your troops, battle opponents, and upgrade structures in a smooth and effective manner. These nudges also break down various game aspects, like managing resources, defending villages, attacking enemies, and interacting with other clans. 

And that’s how new players never feel overwhelmed with Clash of Clans. They put extra effort into making sure users easily grasp the game's key elements, leading to increased engagement and retention rates. 

Add Nudges to your Gaming Apps with Nudge!

For a successful gaming app, you need to keep your players engaged and motivated. You need to tap into their curiosity and encourage them to keep exploring the levels.

In-app nudges are the best way to keep your users coming back for more, and Nudge is the perfect tool for the job. It offers everything from interactive onboarding tours and walkthroughs to tracking player behavior and progress. This user-friendly platform can do it all, helping you maximize the lifetime value of your players. 

With Nudge, you can create personalized in-app messages tailored to your game, sending recommendations to your players about new features, bonus levels, and even in-app purchases. Plus, you can set up gamification and reward systems to attract both new and old users.

Use advanced features like audience segmentation to target the right players, and watch as Nudge boosts player retention and drives conversions for you.

Kanishka Thakur
April 18, 2024