Bundle upselling: subscribers can’t buy what they don’t know about

Bundle upselling: subscribers can’t buy what they don’t know about

When telcos add new digital services to their portfolio, they expect to acquire new users, increase subscriber LTV and reduce churn. Revenue can be gained only when subscribers start using these digital services. Mainstream digital services have organic uptake but without promotional activities, most of the user base will not be aware of the new offering.

Awareness of the service significantly impacts its revenue, even with extremely popular channels such as Google Play. Below we’ve compared two launches of Google Play done through Fortumo. On the left, the launch was complemented by a promotional campaign. On the right, the telco opted for a soft launch:

Telco promotion impact on Google Play launch

When the telco from the right graph evaluates the launch, they may conclude that results are underwhelming. This creates a negative feedback loop where future promotions are avoided because the marketing team doesn’t want to commit resources when the benefit is unclear. The telco on the left does not have this issue: the difference in days when promotions were run and regular organic growth days are very clear.

How does this relate to bundling? In an earlier post, we mentioned that launching a bundle offering has a fixed cost, often also with exclusivity and a limited validity. Potential growth on the other hand is not limited and the return on investment depends on how many existing and new subscribers can be convinced to participate. Would you rather prefer the fixed launch costs to be met by results on the left or right side of the graph?

Telcos have a vast toolbox of marketing channels available for bringing bundle offers in front of their subscriber base. These can range from media activities to advertising in digital channels, print and even radio or television. The team managing digital service partnerships needs to know what their marketing team has to offer. Otherwise, it’s not possible to push them to get involved in creating awareness for the launch.

Here’s what to request from the marketing team for a bundle launch:

  • Website: offer brought out on the front page, in self-service portals and through banner ads
  • Landing page: a custom landing page for the bundle offer, describing the benefits of the service, reasons to participate, FAQ-s and instructions on how to activate the offer
  • Social media: recurring posts about the offer on telco accounts in Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, Viber and on other social media platforms, amplified by advertising on the same platforms
  • SMS & USSD: subscribers who are eligible to participate should receive a notification that includes a link to the bundle landing page
  • Newsletters: information about the offer included in email outreach to customers, including a link to the offer landing page
  • Push notifications: push notifications with information about the offer sent out from telco-owned apps, such as self-care applications and digital wallet solutions
  • Invoices: inclusion of the bundle offer on both physical and digital invoices sent to subscribers
  • Smart TV hubs: in cases where the telco also operates as a TV service provider, push notifications and inclusion of the bundle information in smart TV hubs
  • Inclusion in sales processes: customer-facing personnel (store employees, customer support agents, telemarketing and technical support) should receive an overview of the bundle offer, how to pitch it and how to guide subscribers to activation
  • Own stores: leaflets, posters, roll-ups and video distributed to stores, promotional materials included at other physical locations (e.g. top-up kiosks)
  • Retailer outreach: in case of reseller and retailer partnerships, education of their personnel and sharing of promotional materials
  • Preloading onto devices: application of the bundled service sideloaded into devices going on sale
  • Upselling during e-commerce: including the bundle offer as a “related product” when subscribers are purchasing new services or devices from the website
  • Media activities: press release describing the bundle offer targeting mainstream media and targeted consumer-focused channels
  • Paid advertising: bringing out the offer information in products advertisements on digital, print, TV and radio channels

Planning for the bundle promotion should start in parallel with the commercial and technical discussions with the digital service provider; marketing teams need enough time to prepare the channels, content and implementation. The ultimate goal is to have the bundle visible offer in front of as many subscribers as possible, including both outbound and inbound touchpoints. Beside the review of channels, this is also a good time to figure out which users are most likely to convert through the offering.

For example, in case of a data-heavy streaming service, subscribers who already have high data usage are more likely to engage with the offer. On the other hand, if the goals is to increase subscriber data usage, those who have not activated their mobile data accounts can be targeted instead.

Getting more out of the integration can also be done through segmenting offers for different use cases, such as hard bundles for subscribers upgrading to a more expensive service plan, soft bundles for prepaid subscribers consuming a certain amount of data, and providing regular add-ons (reselling) for the entire consumer base. The exact pricing and duration of the discount given to subscribers should also be optimized based on the marketing team’s expertise.

As the primary goal of most telco marketing teams is to sell the telco's own services and devices, getting attention for stand-alone digital service promotions can be difficult. This should not be the case with bundling as it directly supports the sale of own products, whether it's prepaid recharges or getting users signed up for a new contract.

Through Fortumo’s Trident Bundling Platform, telcos and digital service providers are able to rapidly launch co-promotions. However, the performance of the bundle campaign comes down to how much telcos are willing to invest into creating awareness among their subscribers. If you’re interested in scaling up your bundling activities and learn how promotions have been set up between our other partners, get in touch.

Carrier billing in India: market report by Fortumo

Carrier billing in India: market report by Fortumo

India is one of the fastest growing markets in the world with the second largest population of 1339M people and average age of 28 years. India’s GDP growth rate has consistently been above 5% for the last ten years, aiming for a 7,36% growth rate in 2018. It is a country where most people are young, two thirds of the population still live in rural areas and more people have access to 3G and 4G network than they do to electricity.

With over 460 million internet users, India is the second largest online market in the world. It’s also the second highest number of mobile subscribers and second largest smartphone market. Access to internet is on a fast rise, mainly due to the spread of data-enabled phones. The average mobile connections penetration is 86% and in 2018, mobile devices will account for 73% of time spent using the internet — up from 70% in 2017.

Smartphone ownership in India has rapidly become more affordable to users due to government promoted competition and consumer benefits. Mobile data usage has has increased 15 times in 3 years, from 0.26 GB per person per month in the end of 2014 to over 4 GB per person per month at the end of 2017, as per the TRAI data. Much of which is driven not only by falling 4G data prices, but availability of rich media content. Average data price in India is roughly INR 15-20 per GB (USD 0.20 - 0.30).

Mobile solutions are even believed to be the answer to many social problems - including access to health care or even panic buttons to enhance women’s safety.

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Is it time for game developers to review their user acquisition strategy?

Is it time for game developers to review their user acquisition strategy?

The gaming market has reached a tipping point with more than half of the total revenue coming from mobile games in 2018. The majority of new potential gamers are located in mobile-first emerging markets. This puts PC and console game developers in a tough spot: revenue on their core platforms is growing 8x slower than the mobile segment.

This isn’t to say everything is picture perfect on mobile: lower income markets bring their own challenges. Converting users with less disposable income means additional resources need to be invested in localization. But it’s quite clear that mobile will dominate the future of gaming due to the sheer volume of new users.

There are great examples of game developers making a successful shift from desktop games to mobile. Blizzard’s Hearthstone has cornered the card game market and Epic Games’ port of Fortnite to mobile is seeing over $2 million in revenue per day. Epic Games’ approach is also notable as they have chosen a different user acquisition strategy than most other developers.

Desktop game developers thus have two options if they wish to profit from mobile platforms: either create a completely new game for mobile (as Blizzard has done with Hearthstone) or port their existing game (like Epic Games with Fortnite). The first is much more expensive, the second assumes PC-quality games are able to run on smartphones and provide meaningful engagement for users.

Fortunately, modern smartphones are becoming powerful enough to support lighter versions of traditional PC games as well which means both options are viable. But developing the game itself of only part of the challenge. Where will the users come from?

For desktop game developers starting to look into mobile platforms, telco partnerships are the most logical choice for user growth. In mobile-first markets, telcos have a connection with the majority of the population through device sales, providing them with mobile data and for service access. The only thing they are missing from the perspective of the gamer is the content itself. This is why Vodafone, Movistar, Globe and Singtel (among others) have launched projects to enable their subscribers better access to gaming content.

For game developers, the model through which to work with telcos on user growth has already been laid out. Bundling, a standard approach for telco, music and video streaming service partnerships also enables game developers to grow their audience. Streaming services usually give away free access for a limited amount of time in return for promotions on the telcos side. The same can be done by game developers: free promotions in exchange for telco subscribers getting a discounted battle pass, card packs or other in-game content.

But why should telcos care about promoting games? Simply put, that’s where the money is. Telcos have so far focused almost exclusively on streaming partnerships as it supports their own business strategy (heavy mobile data usage), games still generate a significantly bigger amount of revenue.

Compared to the $27 billion that video and music services generate, gaming stands at above $100 billion. Bundle partnerships coupled with converting consumers into paying customers through carrier billing mean telcos are also able to take their share of each payment. Our own recent experience with Kinguin and Orange in Poland showed that when gaming content and telco promotions meet, great things can happen.

When starting to look into telco partnerships, game developers should keep in mind that not all telcos are created equal. The commercial and technical capabilities of mobile operators differ vastly across different regions of the world.

Fortunately, streaming and other major digital content companies have done the heavy lifting here as well. The capability of telcos can be judged based on what other partnerships they have already launched. In short, MENA, South-East Asia and Eastern Europe are regions where telcos are best able to support game developers in user growth.

In the mobile gaming category, app stores will remain the primary source of new users and revenue for a long time to come. But for developers looking to accelerate their growth beyond these channels, partnerships with telcos are the next logical choice.

If you’re a game developer looking into payments or bundling with mobile operators, Fortumo can help you get started quickly. Get in touch and find out how to get started.

“Exact fare required, driver has NO change” - the opportunities of carrier billing in transportation ticketing

“Exact fare required, driver has NO change” - the opportunities of carrier billing in transportation ticketing

Recently I was travelling back from a vacation and had a longer layover in a major Asian airport. I wanted to go to the city for a while and made my way through the terminals to the train station. There it turned out I needed cash to buy the ticket and could withdraw it only from another terminal. Of course the ATM dispensed much bigger bills than were needed for the train fare. After some more orienteering and going back and forth, I was finally able to buy the tickets, but it sure was a memorable hassle.

Probably anyone who has arrived to a new city can relate to this situation - it might be late, you’re tired and grumpy, possibly jetlagged and just want to get to the hotel. You probably need to take the bus or the metro - maybe even both. Maybe you need cash for buying the ticket. Perhaps you even have to exchange currency.

Smooth transportation is not only a headache for the tourists, but for anyone trying to find their way in the city jungle day-to-day. (Public) transport is the lifeline of big cities and requirements are getting more and more complex. People’s rising mobility combined with the constant rise of urbanization all over the world puts great pressure on both the public and private sector for creative and innovative solutions. The United Nations expects that by 2030, over 60% of the global population will live in urban areas.

Transportation providers everywhere are working hard to offer solutions those and many other problems. Intelligent Transport Systems are becoming the integral part of the 21st century cities. ITS aims to achieve traffic efficiency by minimizing traffic problems. This requires cooperation between public and private sector with local transport authority administering the system and extensive data collected and analyzed from all transportation players.

At the same time alternative transportation methods like park-and-ride, car sharing and bike & scooter rentals (such as Mobike) are added to the mix. Shared mobility services are disrupting the personal car ownership and come especially handy in micro- to medium distance mobility. For example startups addressing short-distance transport, such as e-bikes and e-scooters are filling the gap of public transportation’s first- and last-mile-problem.

The craving for comfortable mobility options is evident. To tie these options together, you need a flexible, adaptable and diverse system to deliver seamless transportation experiences to the customers. This includes next generation mobile ticketing system, that offers attractive payment methods for both public transport, alternative methods and parking (EasyPark example).

For the transport ticketing market, the need for improvement is constant. The digitization of mass transit is changing the face of public transport as we know it. Ticketing and payment processes have to keep up but at the same time cloud-based technologies and data analytics opens up exciting new perspectives. Carrier billing commercial logic is exactly suited for microtransactions like the ones needed in parking or bus/train tickets. Both public and private transport players should consider the following points about mobile ticketing:

  • Cooperation between transport solutions: it’s important for both the customer convenience and for developing new processes more efficiently. It might be useful to establish so-called open standards to be shared by different service providers. Platform based solutions also optimize the infrastructure management and operational tasks

  • Speed of process: it offers both more convenience to the traveller and helps avoid rush hour jams by reduced queues and quicker throughput

  • Reduced administrative costs on physical tickets and in person customer service

  • Pay-as-you-go solutions: it will be possible to charge the client on the go, based on the variety of transportation means used and the actual distance/duration of the route taken

  • Personalized client experience: it enables to offer different fares based on the time of day, popularity of the certain departure and even client’s user behaviour, personal preferences and why not even personal occasions (birthday, first day of school for students, etc.)

For example Europe’s leading digital parking services provider EasyPark implemented Fortumo’s carrier billing platform in the Nordics (Norway, Finland, Sweden). Even in a highly developed region such as the Nordics, about a third to a half of adult population don’t have a credit card. Carrier billing solutions give the client a guaranteed payment access regardless of their bank card or cellphone type. It also allows the provider to communicate promotions or general customer awareness (for example urgent service failure information) through telco channels.

Carrier billing is already used extensively in public transportation in countries like Estonia. It’s an opportunity for the telcos to strengthen their mindshare with customers and their role as the main infrastructure for other services. The payments can also work via SMS and don’t require wifi, mobile data or downloading an app. This means faster service for anyone, including first/one-time users or people in a hurry - the client doesn’t have to sign up for any new accounts or wait in line for the ticketing booth. In fact, it removes the need for ticketing booths or customer service employees altogether, providing an easy self-service solution. It offers a comfortable pay-as-you-go model, expanding the availability and convenience of payments.

If you are looking for new ways to offer flexible payment methods to your clients, get in touch.

August's over, here’s what happened

What happened in the digital industry in July?

Another month behind us and time to recap the biggest events from the digital industry. Make sure to check out our new infographic on telco partnership deployments of leading digital merchants. Telcos will also find our latest guide on improving Google Play payments performance useful.

And here are the stories from August that caught our eye:

General mobile



Digital content


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