Megacool best practice for GIF capturing and sharing

After creating and growing the Fun Run games to over 100M downloads, we saw that it’s possible to reach the masses by triggering word-of-mouth: people trust their friends’ and acquaintances’ opinions far more than paid advertisement. Players who discover games they like share them with people they think will enjoy them too. With Megacool, you now have the resources to boost your users word-of-mouth.

GIFs + Games = Greatness

A GIF is a great format to present what your game is all about. It’s short, fun, autoplays on most platforms and much more transparent than a polished advertisement video. Most people have a very short attention span, so a 1–10 second GIF that automatically plays is a perfect fit for mobile devices.

Sharing emotional moments from your game

Topics go viral when they strike a nerve or stir up some feelings. Amazement and awe are positive emotions that motivate people to share, but also negative emotions such as anger and anxiety have the same effect. GIF recording is perfect for capturing these emotional moments in your game.

Shareable moments occur whenever there’s a reason to feel proud, or really, really mad. Based on your gameplay, you should only trigger your players to share when an emotional moment happens, e.g.:

  • Reaching a new highscore
  • Winning a boss fight
  • Making a hole in one
  • Losing in the game
  • Making a funny/clumsy move

Let your users easily capture and share these moments with Megacool. Below is our best practice for sharing emotional moments as GIFs from your game.

How to share emotional moments from your game

  1. Follow the Quickstart.
  2. GIF preview scene: Trigger the GIF preview after an emotional moment happens, and otherwise when a share button is pressed.
  3. Share scene: Change the pre-defined sharing text to something that is relevant for your game. Avoid marketing language and make it genuin.
  4. Welcome message scene: Personalize the welcome message for User B by including the username and metadata of User A in the share object. The metadata can be used to visualize a profile avatar, like a game character or the Facebook profile image.

Live examples from games that trigger sharable emotional moments

SteppyPants trigger its users to share a GIF reply of their faulty step when reaching a highscore.

What’s the Pic? triggers its users to share a GIF reply when they beat a level in the game.

Big Bang Racing triggers its users to share the GIF reply when the player dies in the middle of a game.

Let users refer their friends to your game

We’ve all been there: Someone looks over your shoulder and screams in excitement:

“That game looks SO cool! I want to play that too!”.

Before Megacool, your friend had to:

  1. Listen carefully to get the correct name of the game
  2. Open up the App Store
  3. Search for the game with the correct spelling
  4. Scroll to the right game
  5. Download the game
  6. Open the game
  7. And finally add you as a friend

Wouldn’t it be nice to let your users easily share the game and onboard their friends with only a few simple taps? With Megacool you can do just that!

With Megacool you’re also able to reward your users for referring friends to your game. When doing so we recommend you to:

  • Write ‘refer a friend’ rather than ‘invite a friend’ when you are rewarding your users, given that this is a familiar expression where users expect a reward for the effort.
  • The best conversion rate comes from the highest and clearly communicated rewards, thus greater willingness to share. Here are some suggested rewards:
    a) in-game coins
    b) special character/item
    c) unlock a feature

Below is our best practice flow for users referring friends to your game:

How to implement referrals in your game:

  1. Follow the Quickstart.
  2. Create a view that gives the option to refer friends to your game. To maximize the user experience and gamification, add a progress bar to show how many friends that have downloaded the game.
  3. Share:
    a) Change the pre-defined sharing text to something that communicates what User B needs to do. See recommendation in the flow chart above.
    b) Note: For referrals, you are not certain that a GIF is available to share, so in this case we recommend you to use Fallback image to add a pre-created GIF.
  4. Communicate to User A that the reward is only received when User B downloads AND opens your game.
  5. Personalize the welcome message for User B. You can include the username of User A or show an avatar/profile image. Use the share object to pass metadata from User A to User B.
  6. Show a “Friend installed reward” notification to User A. This is triggered by the event handler.
  7. Update the view to show numbers of referrals installed

That’s all cool, but how should I specifically do the GIF recording?

Megacool SDK currently enable two types of recordings:

  • Time recording
  • Capture frame recording

Use Time recording for games where timing is essential, like endless runners or action-packed games. Capture frame recording is best when it’s the player’s moves that are of importance, like it is for board games, coloring books, word games, etc.

Adult Coloring Book uses capture frame recording to show the progress when drawing:

Timelapse

Use Timelapse recording when you would like to show progress over time.

Here’s an example with a game of 2048:

Include the highscore scene in the GIF

For many games it will make sense to emphasize the highscore view at the end of the GIF recording. Use the Delay last frame.

Here’s an example from UFO Hunter:

Include a last frame overlay image in your pre-defined GIF for referrals

When you create your pre-defined GIF, we recommend you to add a last frame overlay to the GIF to emphasizing call-to-action, because this is aimed for new users.

Here’s an example of how Letter Soup Café is doing this:

Let users invite each other to a specific game session

User A should be able to easily invite User B to a specific game session, i.e. in a multiplayer game. User B can either be an existing user or a new user. The GIF included can be from the game session or pre-created. This is illustrated by Give Me Fuel below where User B directly joins a session with User A. User B is in this example an existing user.

Automatically make users friends in your game

To ease onboarding, with Megacool you are able to automatically make User A and User B friends in your game. You can expect some sort of “relationship” when User A invites User B, and thus link them as friends in your game. This will improve their onboarding experience as they don’t have to add each other manually upon User B either opens or installs the game from the link.

Let your users ask for help and allow them to be helpful!

There are a lot of games where it would be useful to either be able to ask for help or receive help. In either case, GIF capturing of the thought process of a solution or someone failing, is great to set the context. With the Megacool SDK, users can easily help each other or ask for help: User A uses the GIF to explain how he/she is stuck in a game. The GIF will help User B understand the situation and can reply with helpful instructions:

Here’s an example of how User B can answer User A with the answer as a GIF:

Oh, and yes, your guess is correct: By integrating the Megacool SDK you allow your users to easily create their own tutorials!

Allow your user to send graphical gifts

Sending gifts is a great way to re-engage users. You can improve the gifting experience and re-engagement by allowing users to share the gift visually through a channel outside the game. Capture a GIF of the gift or share a pre-created GIF. Here’s an example of how Steppy Pants could implement this:

General best practice for social sharing

Make it as easy as possible to share

  • Always have the option to share something, even though it’s not an emotional moment. This could be a character or a state the user is in.
  • Appeal to their ego: People share when it makes them look good.

Don’t give immediate rewards

An immediate reward is when a user receives a reward upon sending a invite or share to a friend. We do not recommend using immediate reward as it can cause user to spam their friends. In the case you do choose to give an immediate reward to users who invite or share something with their friends, restrict the number of times they are allowed to share within a timeframe.

Use a pool of pre-defined sharing text

Be creative with a pool of pre-defined text for social sharing. By including pre-defined text, the number of steps to share is reduced and the likelihood of sharing increases. The different sharing texts should be triggered based on different events in your game. This will save User A time as he/she doesn’t have to come up with something clever, yet User A always has the opportunity to edit the text.

We experimented with a pool of creative pre-defined texts for Fun Run 2 as part of the Dirtybit team. It increased sharing as the player wasn’t always posting seeing the same pre-defined text, which made the users more engaged, as well as being excited to see which text they received every time they clicked share. Remember to make pre-defined text that looks like it’s written by a human and not a robot! If you are catering to a young demographic we recommend using emojis in the suggested texts. Below are examples of how we implemented this in Fun Run 2:

I liked this best practice guide. Do you have other things I should read?

Yes, if you are interested in learning how top mobile games grow their userbase aside from paid initiatives, you should check out more content on the Megacool Blog.

Another goodie is Aurora’s presentation from Pocket Gamer Connects in London 2017, where she walks through 10 growth features you should consider for your game:

Please reach out to us with any questions, concerns or feedback you may have, at hello@megacool.co. This document will be updated as we receive feedback and learn more best practices.

🙌 Thanks for reading this far — you rock and deserve a high five!