Editor’s note: A version of this post first appeared on WalktheChat’s website. WalktheChat specializes in helping foreign organizations access the Chinese market through WeChat, the largest social network on the mainland.
According to WeChat’s data, by April 27 (22 days after the release of WeChat mini games) the number of games available had already reached 300. The biggest WeChat mini games have more than 100 million users, and some mini games even have over 10 million monthly revenue from in-app-purchases in the Android system.
Here are the top 5 games played by the most friends in the past week. Some of them are a bit weird. But I’m not here to judge.
No. 1 and No. 2 games are Tanqiu Wangzhe (弹球王者, Pinball King) and Zuiqiang Tanyitan (最强弹一弹, The Strongest Bomb). They are the same game with a slightly different UX. A bouncing ball to clear all the blocks.
The Pirate Game (海盗来了) ranks number 3, played by 6% of my WeChat friends. In this game, you build structures on an island and attack other players for gold.
Happy Ball (欢乐球球) is another simple ball game. You can control the spinning of a tube to let the blue ball pass through.
The famous Jump Jump (跳一跳) game is one of the first WeChat Mini Game released by Tencent. DAU of this game reached 100 million at the peek on Jan 15th, 2018. Tencent claimed the 7-day retention rate of Jump Jump is 52%. Now, after nearly 5 months of release, Jump Jump is still on the top 5 list, which is a good indicator of how addictive this game is.
So what’s the key to making a viral WeChat Mini Game? We studied the best games and here are some rules to follow:
1. Easy to get started
You should be able to explain how to play the game in the first 10 seconds. The most viral mini games have simple on-boarding instructions.
2. Sharing on WeChat groups
WeChat is very restrictive on incentivized sharing. Yet sharing on WeChat mini games has not been strictly banned. At least not yet. Thus sharing with friends is the most common way for these mini games to get new users, and the best game developers sure leverage that.
Here are some examples:
Because of these incentives, many WeChat groups are spammed by mini game sharing. It’s only a matter of time until WeChat puts a ban on such incentivized sharing. Until then, this will remain the key driver of user acquisition for mini games.
3. Make the game social
Social aspect might be the strongest drive for returning players. Here are how these top games build social circles within WeChat.
- Ranking of the best players in your WeChat friend circle
Most of these scoreboards reset every week, this gives the new users chances to rank at the top, and more incentives to keep playing to beat your friends’ record.
- Find a friend and in-app chat room
The pirate game enables you to search for other players in a particular city, and send them personal chat messages. It also has the main chat room where everyone can participate. This creates a mini gaming community ecosystem within the game.
- Interaction with other players
Some games give the player options to attack other users to gain points or in-app currency. Others let users create a game room to play the same game together.
It makes the game more interactive. So that users will be more likely to share it in their WeChat groups in order to compete.
4. Redirecting traffic to other mini games
Almost all the Mini Programs give recommendations for users to try to play another game. For new games, this could be a good way to gain traffic.
Mini programs have limitations for hyperlinks between 2 mini programs (you can only add hyperlinks between mini programs if they are linked with the same Official Account).
When users click on “try a new game”, it automatically saves a QR code to users’ album. Users will then need to scan the QR code from the photo album.
This process is not optimal for conversion, but since these games have such a large traffic, it still can drive a significant amount of traffic.
WeChat gives mini games a great social environment for sharing. Developers should leverage the social aspect to build a game that users would want to share with friends.
The competition of mini games is only going to get stronger. For existing games, monetization in a timely manner will be the key. However, this is a new trend and creating new WeChat mini-gam