candycrush background with a screenshot of two app screens that show the evolvement of a gaming app
candycrush background with a screenshot of two app screens that show the evolvement of a gaming app

The Next Gaming Level: Pay-Per-Minute ("PPM")

Building on the success of the "Games Tab", Mode Mobile entrusted me with the ambitious "Pay-Per-Minute" project. As the recognized gaming expert project manager, I was poised to redefine the gaming experience, ensuring users were rewarded in real-time for their engagement as interacting with games that only rewarded them after big level achievements or a high amount of tedious tasks and often having to wait several weeks for the verification of their actions was one of the biggest user complaints we kept on hearing. So it was time to take things into our own hands and build a user-centric solution in-house.

The Goal: Rewriting the Gaming Playbook
  • Immediate Gratification: Implement a real-time reward system, addressing the issue where users don't even want to start a gaming offer due to high friction like long level completion and waiting 30-60 days for payouts.

  • Competitive Edge: Ensure our PPM model stands out in the market, especially given insights that users preferred pay-per-minute over milestone-based rewards.

  • Multi-feature approach: Address the fact that only 2% of users engaged with our Deals, and entire tab full of Groupon-like saving offers that however were also filling up with gaming opportunities. One of our highest revenue and user earning potentials but used by few due to high friction and low discoverability.

  • Future-proof approach: Building an in-house system we wanted to build it in a flexible way so that we could experiment with different earning mechanisms, be able to add additional special rewards, think ahead of what future partners might want to be able to integrate with us and be able to adapt rewarding depending on the game and partner.

  • Iterative approach: As this was a big project we wanted to be sure to start with an MVP that is future proof but provides value to the business and users ASAP.

The Challenge: Mastering a Dynamic Gameboard
  • Balancing Act: Designing a PPM model that's both competitive and sustainable, especially when competitors like AdJoe had set high user expectations.

  • Trust & Reliability: Ensuring users trust the PPM system, given past concerns about not receiving promised rewards.

  • 3rd Party Integration Flexibility: As Mode was not building games itself, we were dependent on partnering up with gaming platforms that would provide us with a relevant number of suitable games. Suitable in a way that we would be getting paid by install first although most of the games are interested rather in in-app rewards.

  • 3rd Party Dependency: The gaming platform partner we were working with was causing different issues along the way like only telling us later that there would be a limit per day that games would be installable, as well as having a smaller gaming reportoire than promised which made it necessary to look for alternative supply rather sooner than later.

The Project Phases: Creating The Perfect Game Strategy
  • Competitor Research: Analyzed competitors to ensure our PPM model was competitive.

  • Gamification Research: Explored ways to enhance user engagement through gamification.

  • Usability Research: Ensured the PPM system and design was user-friendly and intuitive.

  • Planning: Mapped out the PPM implementation journey, especially when it came to the integration of different rewarding mechanism, the visualization of those, the searchability of different gaming types, special rewards, and the integration of other already existing gaming features into the PPM system.

  • Iteration Specification: Detailed the best way to provide a valuable experience improvement ASAP and build up on it with follow-up features.

  • Execution: Seamlessly integrated the PPM system into the app.

Unexpected Ending: A Twist in the Tale

As the market trends kept being unfavourable for Mode, the company decided to do a major reorganization which shifted the game board considerably in the team landscape. As I had already laid out a several months long detailed plan with the team well under way to the goal of releasing PPM, the leadership team decided to have me onboard another product manager to the PPM project which by now was a relatively easy feat to bring to an end and rather have me focus on a project that was still in its infant stages: "MEC" - revolutionizing the company's business model from advertisement focus to a subscription model. Basically to weather the unfriendly market trend winds. My meticulous documentation and planning ensured the project continued on its trajectory, even in my absence.

Final Thoughts & Learnings

The PPM project was a masterclass in strategic planning and adaptability. It underscored the importance of being prepared for unexpected challenges and the value of thorough documentation. Watching the PPM system become a user favorite was a testament to the power of user-centric design and innovation.

Play is the highest form of research. - Albert Einstein

Transforming play into profit.