Source: PixabayTo measure a game’s success before and after its release, gaming studios need to prioritize several areas for optimization and decide what data is the most relevant for decision making. In other words, a game studio should focus on selecting and using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that best reflect how they’re performing with meeting their goals.
What success implies can be different from one mobile game to another; however, three essential categories stand out as areas for optimization:
- User acquisition – reflecting on how to improve targeting new users
- User retention – focusing on how to keep users engaged the most
- App monetization – conveying how to increase revenues to sustain further business development
For each of the above categories, there are some essential KPIs a mobile game studio needs to track.
KPIs to monitor mobile game user acquisition
Determining the amount of new daily and weekly users allows the company to discover the number of game installations every week and observe its progress. These KPIs can help the gaming studio team to discover what engagement strategies are or aren’t working promptly.
# Monthly Active Users (MAU) and # Daily Active Users (DAU) are KPIs that allow a business to follow up on its user base over time.
# Monthly Active Users (MAU) – reflects the number of unique users who engaged with the game in the past month
# Daily Active Users (DAU) – measures the number of unique users that participate in at least one session of a game each day
# K-factor – is another fantastic metric that keeps track of the effectiveness of a business’ customer referral strategy. A game’s K-factor represents the number of invites sent by each application customer multiplied by the conversion of each invite. It becomes a quantifiable metric that can afterward be monitored at specific times in the studio’s game development process.
# Invites sent / DAU – is an offshoot of the K-factor metric, which provides a thorough sample of how well a business’ referral program is retaining players that have downloaded and played the mobile game.
% Users acquired virally (virality metric) – reflects how a gaming development business segment its customers, thus measuring the percentage of users generated by referrals from its overall existing users.
Monitoring this KPI can also provide insightful data to support an effective marketing strategy, one that works best for increasing a studio’s chances of its game going viral. After observing the virality metrics, a business will be able to segment the information even further, and the segmenting can be done by source, by geographical location, by the time of day or year, etc.
% Conversion rate – measures the proportion of players who decide to invest money into the game, either by acquiring the full game from the demo or lite app version or simply buying an in-game item in the case of the Free to Play title. The conversion rate for each paid object in the game can be calculated so that the business can find out which ones sell the best.
KPIs to monitor mobile game user retention
What KPIs can help mobile game studios develop a long-term strategy that will encourage players to keep playing their game?
% Retention rate – measures the percentage of users who came back to the game after several days in a row
% Churn rate – As opposed to % Retention rate, the % Churn rate of a mobile game app measures the proportion of users who stopped playing during a specific period.
% Average Session Length per User – monitors the proportion of users who play for a long time in comparison to those who leave the game fast. For instance, the distribution of the session length can show what proportion of game sessions lasts less than 10 minutes and how many last for more than 10 minutes.
# Starts, # Fails, and # Successfully level completions – are three metrics that are useful in determining the learning curve of the game. By understanding how difficult the game is in practice, a business could properly adjust their user engagement and boost their retention.
While # Starts emphasizes how many times a player has started a new level, the number of # Fails measures how many times a player has started a level without being able to complete it. Meanwhile, a KPI such as # Successfully level completions measures how many times a user has successfully completed a game`s level.
KPIs to monitor app monetization
Source: PixabayGaming studios may come up with different strategies for monetizing their app, and using KPIs can help determine which model can maximize their revenue and suit their audience’s preferences.
$ CPI (cost per install) – measures the amount of money invested in acquiring a new user from paid advertisements.
$ LTV (lifetime value) – measures the total earnings from a relationship with a user who installed and paid for the game over that customer’s life span.
$ Return on Investment – measures how much profit was generated out of the total cost of an investment, reflecting on the difference between $ LTV (lifetime value) and $ CPI (cost per install). If the value of this metric falls in the negatives, it denotes that the studio is keeping the game alive at a loss.
$ Average Revenue per User (ARPU) – measures the amount of income generated by each active user.
To better understand how the game’s revenue-generating potential is best achieved, two similar KPIs should be monitored, namely: $ Average Revenue per Paying User (ARPPU) and $ ARPDAU (Average Revenue per Daily Active User).
A game studio’s ability to visualize the relationship between acquisition, retention, and monetization KPIs can provide extraordinary insights into a game’s growth and profitability. By combining the acquisition and retention measurement results, powerful trends can be observed and lead to customer satisfaction and customer stability.
By combining retention and monetization, a business will quickly discover what kind of user behavior translates into its most profitable users.
With reports and insights from Daniela Vuta