VGS London: 12 Lessons to Convert Free Users to Paying Users from IMVU CEO

IMVU (pronounced by the CEO as im-vyu) CEO Cary Rosenzweig showed up to keynote the afternoon portion of the Virtual Goods Summit London today, and quickly proceeded to list 12 lessons for game developers about how to turn free users to paying users.

Cary started with a few insightful statistics about IMVU’s business:

  • 85% of revenue comes from direct pay for virtual currency and virtual goods
  • Players play twice a day for 30 min on average
  • IMVU has 100 employees in Palo Alto
  • Over 50 million registered users, 10 Monthly Unique Visitors, Approximately 2m MAU
  • Demographics: 70% female, 60% 18+ years old, 50% USA

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Cary then got to the list of ways to turn free users to paying users in free-to-play games and virtual worlds.

1) Take them to the store ASAP

Introduce them to buying goods immediately. This resulted in 20% lift in purchasing.

2) Make them an offer they can’t refuse.

10% of revenue from VIP subscriptions, $10 a month. $0.99 introductory offer = 150% increase in VIP members.

3) Many ways to pay

DAOpay, Boku and others are part of the IMVU offering, and the more ways, the better.

4) New ways to pay

Cards available in 7/11 and various other areas. 15% lift in VIP Signups and revenue when they started using prepaid IMVU cards..

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5) Cool ways to pay

IMVU created a $50 3D Prepaid Card and hoped to turn it into collectible 3D brands.

6) Keep inventory fresh

4+ million virtual items, all user-created content. Free to the company. Every day there are more than 5000 virtual goods entering the IMVU catalogue. “They figure out what’s hot, we don’t.”

7) Give them free stuff

“When you buy the prepaid card at the store, and come back to IMVU, we’ll give you a virtual good.” 10 to 20% lift when using this promotion.

8) Make spending cool

Only subscribers can get Dance Battle VIP Gift, for instance. This leads to players wanting that item more, and willing to subscribe to get it.

9) Let them be creative

Creator users can create their own videos highlighting their own items. They provide cheap product for IMVU, and more than 1/3 of IMVU revenue comes from creators.

10) Turn users into sellers

Cary highlighted Banners created by creators that are creating brands within IMVU and selling items. Top 20 virtual items sold are only 0.2% of all items sold. This is a long tail revenue model for IMVU. The creators are all buying different items to represent themselves.

11) New ways to spend

Games are finally a part of IMVU, and their 3 new games are already 10% of credits sunk via entire catalog. These games are really driving revenue in a big way on IMVU, and this is going to become a bigger player in the future.

12) Speak their language

As we mentioned earlier today, IMVU has now expanded into 6 new European languages.

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