When you're looking to recruit people, few things work better than referrals. This is true for military recruiting, customer acquisition, and pretty much everything else. Having a friend or family member tell you about something is just more personal than seeing paid ads.
While every app loves organic referrals, sometimes you have to incentivize growth. You've probably seen these "give $10, get $10" campaigns where both you and your friend earn a reward when they sign up. This is a very effective growth strategy, but you need to earn more than you spend on acquiring new customers (on average).
Imagine if Satoshi had run a "give 1 BTC, get 1 BTC" campaign back in 2009. Despite this being a no-lose situation, the value of 1 BTC was low--very few people had heard of it and even fewer understood it. "Give 1 ETH, get 1 ETH" probably would have gone better in 2015, but these types of campaigns still aren't used on cryptocurrencies. Why?
A few reasons:
- Someone has to put up the coins OR the referral mechanism has to be built into the network (which would probably cause significant inflation)
- Giving away tokens isn't likely to result in a positive ROI without some other way to earn revenue from token holders
- For your typical L1 network, having a large number of small holders isn't very impactful (better to have more developers and whales who use the network a lot)
- Token holders are already incentivized to tell their friends because more buyers will drive the price up
However, I believe dApps (and games especially) are well positioned to offer incentivized referrals. Inflation isn't as big of an issue, and having more players is very important. Games are also more inherently social. They feel less like an investment/risk, so you're more likely to be comfortable telling close friends.
Whatever you give away needs to be inflationary, but it should still look really exciting and be meaningful within the game. Something like a free pack of cards, a guaranteed legendary item, or just 100 gold coins. The point is to entice new and existing players alike.
P.S. Some players will game this by referring fake accounts, so think through what that will do to your game economy.