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Learn Ten Techniques to Creating High-Converting Landing Pages for Free-to-Play MMO Games

by Anthony Doctolero on 11/28/11 05:07:00 pm   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
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Ten techniques to creating high converting landing pages for free to play games

Photography: Jeurgen welding by scjody

Last week, one of our clients asked us for some suggestions to improve their landing page conversion. Their banners received lots of clicks, but the amount of registrations fell short of expectations. Since we are in a unique position of being able to see performance data on hundreds of landing pages in the free-to-play MMO game space, we decided to offer the client some recommendations at optimizing their game landing page.

With so many free-to-play game options for players to choose from these days, it is crucial that game marketers be effective at communicating their game’s basic value proposition in order to convert visitors into players. In no particular order, here are ten landing page optimization tips for creating high-converting landing pages. 

Create a dedicated landing page
Sending users to your homepage is not recommended. This is because your homepage has lots of general information and possibly lots of different games. You will confuse the user and they are likely to hit the back button or click out of the page. Creating a dedicated landing page allows you to keep the messaging from banner to landing page consistent and keeps the focus on converting the user to a player.

Limit the number of links on the page
Quick, count how many actual outbound links there are on your landing page. Don’t forget to include all the top navigation, footer links, count everything. If that number is more than 5, you’re giving the user too many additional ways to leave your page. Sure you’ll probably need to provide links to your Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and End User License Agreement (EULA), but the most important link should be a button that completes the registration. The better converting landing pages we see have 5 or less links on the page. Savvy marketers even go so far as removing the top navigation, footer navigation, and even the link to the homepage on the logo as well. For those, that feel it is a must to include some links, consider making the information pop-up so the user doesn’t have to leave the page to get the additional information.

Insert strong imagery/video
You have talented artists who’ve spent countless hours on the characters and scenery of the game, so use those images to good use. The key is to provide actual screenshots or video of the game. Players today want to see actual game play as it gives them an idea of what’s to come if they decide to invest their time in the game. Additionally, if you have video, make it auto-play when the page loads.

Limit number of form fields
The number of form fields directly impacts the conversion percentage. We’ve seen some LONG forms with as many as 15-20 fields to fill out. Of course there are going to be required fields such as email and password, but beyond that consider if you truly need username, re-confirm password, nickname, a captcha, age, date of birth, security question, security question answer, etc. We’ve seen as high as double digit percentage increase in conversions when the landing page fields are culled down to just the basics. We’re not saying this won’t increase the number of bogus accounts, but clearly there is a happy compromise between making it easy for users to sign up and keeping your database clean.

Clear call-to-action
The actual wording you use on the button used to submit the form on the page is important. This call-to-action for the user can take them from on the fence to a user so choose action-oriented phrases. You’re more likely to convert a user with “Play for Free” or “Start Playing Now” as opposed to the often used “Submit” or “Download Now.”   

Make sure banners match the landing page art
This is a subtle thing, but you’d be surprised how many times we see banner imagery that doesn’t match the landing page imagery. Not having them match creates confusion for the user and they are less likely to convert to a player in your game.

Add reviews from credible sources
Users don’t want to waste time on boring games. You lend credibility to your game if you are able to garner some good press mentions from notable sources. It’s not enough to have just the quote itself, be sure to include the person/source and possibly a logo of the website.

Keep things high
It’s always best to keep all the key elements (imagery, video trailer, form fields, call-to-action button) above the fold of the page. If you bury these elements near the bottom, there is a high chance they won’t get seen. Keeping all elements high and neatly organized toward the top of the page keeps users focused on the task at hand—learning about the game and signing up.

Size does matter
When it comes to high-converting landing pages, size does matter. Keep the submit button, form fields, and key messaging big. Again, you only have seconds to pique the interest of the user so make it easy from a visual standpoint by giving the key elements more visual weight on the page. This keeps the user from getting distracted and in the end increases conversions.

If you’d like a free assessment of your game landing page, join Game Advertising Online.

[NOTE: Game Advertising Online is a sister website to Gamasutra, and also part of the UBM TechWeb Game Network.]

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