Understanding the Rise business model

A new social utility like Rise can be confusing, particularly when it comes to understanding the business model. The following post explains our thinking when it comes to offering the Rise service.


Social Networks broadly break down into three different types of business model:

  1. “Free” – the network acts like a freesheet newspaper often giving you the service and content for free but charging advertisers to include their commercial messages. This is how Facebook, Twitter and Google make their money.
  2. SaaS (software as a service) – the network acts like an app where you pay an or ongoing fee to use the service – this is the Slack, Yammer, What’s App model where each user pays a set fee. This subscription avoids the need to run advertising.
  3. Hybrid – different users get different services either on a Free or SaaS basis. For example Meetup.com charges organisers a quarterly fee (SaaS) but participants are generally Free. Here, the organiser can charge sponsors to advertise to the participants.

Rise is a social utility that uses a hybrid business model very similar to meetup.com. Different participants in the network are monetised differently.

In Rise, the manager of a board is charged a monthly fee, based on the volume of data, frequency of publishing updates and number of players (SaaS) but for players and followers the service is Free.

Rise expects managers to monetise their own boards in order to recoup their investment (we think the sky is the limit on what they can make). Rise offers managers the opportunity to monetise their players as follows:

  • selling advertising/sponsorship on the boards and email communications
  • restricting access to the board and scores
  • charging players to be on the board
  • charging followers to receive board updates
  • reusing Rise data for themselves (for example publishing the leaderboard as a widget on their site)
Screenshot 2016-03-10 12.38.15
SustMeme’s Circular Economy Rise board is sponsored by enevo

In the case of private internal boards, the company is paying for the service on behalf of the players on the board, making it akin to an internal HR tool, albeit an unusual one with the ability of an opt-out for employees, and the ability of non-employees to be part of the board.

Throughout this process, Rise protects the privacy of player data by:

  • providing players an opt-out from any or all boards
  • transparently showing what data is being shared
  • restricting the use of email and twitter notifications to releases only (a manager cannot use the email address for a non-Rise release related message).
  • restricting the use of any social network permissions granted to transparent score collection only
  • providing opt-outs to various notifications

The role of ‘Boards’ in our business model

In Rise, each board is the atomic unit for subscriptions, much like a Meetup Group. A company can have multiple boards but since each board can be different, in terms of data, players and usage, each board is paid for separately. Each board has a sliding scale in terms of cost – the more players on the board, the lower cost per player.

Our future together

Our intention is to provide a transparent, multi-stakeholder environment for publishing scores and leaderboards which is self sustaining long into the future.

Join us and you will Rise. That’s a promise!


Key KPIs to measure when commissioning a game

So you’ve decided to commission a game. Well done you.

Whether it’s for entertainment without an ulterior motive, an advergame to subtly inject your brand message or a serious game to educate and drive new behaviours, it is worth considering how you will measure success.

At times like these I like to turn to the Playfish troika of metrics – gleaned from the successful social gaming company these categories have been shown time and again to be the right prioritized order of metrics.

They are engagement, virality and monetization.

Let’s take each in turn.

Engagement is first and foremost – are people engaging in your game, do they enjoy being here and do they return time and again to your game.

The metrics are standardised – daily active users (DAUs) and monthly active users (MAUs). Beyond simply number of installs or downloads, MAU and DAU track actual users and engagement. For the advanced among us you can look at dwell times (the average duration of an engagement) and churn rates (cohort declines over time) but MAU and DAU still reign supreme.

Next up is virality, because once people are engaged in your game they should want to share it with their friends. Unless your game has no social dynamics (like uh huh?) virality becomes your next concern after engagement. Here the metrics should be viral coefficient (how many people does each engaged player bring in to the game) – any number over 1 is good, a number over 2 is stellar. For the advanced you should look at the average time to share to get a feel for how quickly your virus will spread. If it takes people a few hours before they share with friends great, if it takes a few months then you have a virality issue.

Finally consider monetization. What? It’s last for a reason. People will pay, and indeed want to pay for your game, for level ups, for access to new features, but only once they are hooked and their friends are there too, egging them on. Monetisation is the art of converting online desires into cold hard cash. Typically your KPIs here are CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) and CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) but the key one is ARPU (Average Revenue Per User). Ensure your ARPU exceeds your CAC and you have a viable, sustainable business, less and you are in trouble.

So the KPIs to measure are:

  • Engagement – MAU/DAU
  • Virality – Viral Coefficient
  • Monetisation – ARPU & CAC

Good luck!