$10 Million in 3 Months: the Crossy Road Phenomenon

A Marketing Case Study

Kenneth Ng
Jun 16, 2015 · 4 min read

Build a fully user-centric experience and that will lead to happy and loyal customers.

This seems obvious but it’s surprising how many developers miss the mark on this, especially when they’re blinded by financial struggles. If you’re building a game with a free-to-play (F2P) model, then your players are probably non-spending, casual gamers, which comprises of nearly 66% of the US online community. This highlights the importance of making your game as user-centric as possible: if your players are happy, they will give higher reviews, share the game more often with their friends, and visit your game more frequently, all of which will lead to more ad revenue and higher chances of players making in-app purchases.

Keep your users engaged with emotion-responsive calls to action (CTA).

As mentioned above, CTAs are instructions that get a user to take on an action of some sort, such as a button that says “Rate Me on the App Store” or “Play Again.” To make these buttons emotion-responsive means that they pop up accordingly with how the user feels. Crossy Road utilizes this strategy by revealing the “Rate Me on the App Store” and “Watch Ad for Coins” buttons only when the player has a new high score. It is during this euphoric state of triumph when the player is ready to put the game down that he or she is most likely to engage with a call to action button.

Implement optional ads that offer incentives when watched.

Optional ads are an excellent way to earn revenue without interrupting the user experience. In fact, offering incentives for watching the ad enhances it and increases user engagement by making the player want to watch the ad. In terms of advertising marketing, that’s a really big deal!

Make social sharing readily accessible.

If your game has something worth sharing, then provide those options! Anything built for mobile should be designed to be social-heavy. At the end of a play-through, Crossy Road provides the option to share a screenshot of your new high score or of your character getting squashed by a car. Monument Valley, as another example, allows you to share a screenshot of a gorgeous level after you finish it. People on Facebook love to see that!


  • Polygon: “They Wanted to Make a Video Game Phenomenon. They Made $10 Million. The Story of Crossy Road” (link)

Kenneth L. Ng

AR/VR Developer at Alibaba. Welcome to my portfolio.

Kenneth Ng

Written by

AR/VR Developer at Alibaba

Kenneth L. Ng

AR/VR Developer at Alibaba. Welcome to my portfolio.