Why CoinMaster is a top-10 grossing app in the casual gaming category

As app marketers, we try out a lot of apps. We all have our list of favorites that span the spectrum of app categories—from health & wellness to fintech to gaming. But there’s one that’s infiltrated our team and gotten a number of us hooked (we won’t mention any names)—and that game is CoinMaster.


In fact, CoinMaster seems to have that effect on a lot of people, which is why it’s among the top-10 grossing apps in the casual game category in app stores. 


What is CoinMaster?

CoinMaster is a hyper-casual gaming app, which means that it’s free to play, super simple and doesn’t require much intellectual investment. Everybody can play this game—kids, moms, dads, grandmothers—it’s fun for everyone.


The game mechanics are simple. You use spins, coins, raids and attacks to build your Viking village to the top of the leaderboard. Collecting cards and earning pets is also part of the game play experience. 


This game app has had over 100 million downloads worldwide.


So, how do they do it? What’s CoinMaster’s recipe of success that’s kept them at the top of the charts? 


There are many reasons but here we’ll focus on a few of the major things that CoinMaster does right to secure their top-10 grossing casual game position.


Social-focused game play


We know how Candy Crush scaled. It was about friends and about moving up the ladder. CoinMaster replicated this success in a modern way with its own twist.


CoinMaster capitalizes on the power of social sharing and community with fun visuals and many rewards that come with going social. One of the first screens users see upon opening the app is the incentive to connect with Facebook:



Everything revolves around sharing with friends. You can send rewards to your friends, share cards with your friends—adding friends on Facebook gets you an extra 50 spins right away.  


Beyond connecting with friends, CoinMaster masterfully weaves in humans’ natural draw to community and competition. Leader boards, tournaments and teams are part of the in-game mechanics and foster collaboration and friendly competition. 


As a player, you can join a team and request coins, spins, cards, etc. You can also join tournaments and keep track of how you’re faring against the competition!



Simple game UX & onboarding


CoinMaster isn’t hard to figure out. The UX design is vibrant but simple and uncluttered. Visual prompts and pointing fingers guide you through every step. All of these are app onboarding best practices for increasing user retention


Getting started is extremely easy. At the beginning of the game, you get 50 free spins to earn coins. They give you just the right amount to get you hooked—extra spins and coins to start building your village and getting you excited. 



It’s clear that CoinMaster gets the point—their long term goal is to keep you playing the game and getting users to Retention Day 4 and Day 7, which is when they’ll know whether you’re a power user or not. 


Solid application of psychology behind user motivation


CoinMaster understands the psychology behind user motivation. The most successful apps tap into both intrinsic and extrinsic factors to get users hooked. We’ve seen how this gaming app masters extrinsic factors—things like prizes, rewards, winning, status—but they also brilliantly capture intrinsic motivators too—which includes goals like fun, dedication and purpose.

The best illustration of this is CoinMaster’s application of “pet psychology”!


They dangle this carrot from the beginning by letting you know that you can unlock pets at level 4. All you see is an egg—an automatic signal that there’s a mystery pet waiting for you. Again, another great way to keep app users enticed and engaged!


Once you reach level 4, you can unlock your first pet. Not only does your pet give you an extra boost and fill the fourth hole, but it also gets stronger and gets upgraded every time. But the real kicker is that you are responsible for its survival! Just like any pet, it needs to be nurtured and cared for. You even get notified when the poor thing gets hungry!


What better way to entice users to log in daily? Like a parent that must feed its child, every player must care for its virtual pet. After all, you don’t want your sweet animal to die, right? This is a brilliant example of nailing down user motivation through gamification.


Smart push notification strategy


Another app user retention strategy that CoinMaster has nailed down are push notifications. They’re simple, to-the-point, well-planned and sent in a very systematic way. Their goal is to get you back into the app ASAP with a clear call to action.

Customized push notifications alert you to when somebody has raided your village or a friend has attacked. Given the social nature of this gaming app, this approach plays on human’s competitive nature—if a friend attacks, naturally, you must get your revenge!

Effective monetization strategy


CoinMaster’s monetization is brilliant in that they make their in-app purchase opportunities timely and relevant. Not only are they low cost but they’re presented at the time when you need items the most within a small window of time. Every new user is presented with a special “first time pack” that time out after only 4 hours.

The first time you log in the app, you instantly receive a lot of extra spins to get you going. The goal is to get you warmed up to make your initial spend, which is the most important for these hyper-casual game monetization models. Once you spend your forest $1-$2, you will commit to further purchases.


The game developers certainly don’t skip a chance to get you to spend a few extra bucks. Every new level or feature triggers a prompt that lets you know how easy it is to get instant gratification. For example, you’re just one step away from completing a village and reaching the next level. Why wait when you can get what you want with a small purchase of $3.99?


Final Thoughts


Looking at the game, there are several reasons that CoinMaster is among the top 10 grossing in the store:

  • The game mechanics are very simple and visual
  • The rewards are well designed—every in-app action in the different stages of the buyer journey to Retention Day 7 is methodically mapped out
  • Effective application of the psychology behind user motivation with both extrinsic motivators (coins, spins, tournaments) and intrinsic motivators (caring for your pet)
  • Well-timed push notifications and bonus features get users hooked and get them to return to the app frequently—all which boost user engagement and retention
  • Highly social in nature—if user doesn’t make a purchase, statistically, one out of every 10 of the friends user shared with will complete a transaction


If you have an app that could use some help mastering one or all of the above app marketing strategies, please don’t hesitate to contact our expert team for a free consultation!


Jennifer Sansone

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