Categories
Uncategorized

5 Data Analytics Mistakes Made By Game Developers

6 Data Analytics Mistakes Made By Game Developers

Companies over spend in an effort to build an in house data warehouse

This involves hiring a team (3-4 engineers minimum hosting the infrastructure($2-5k/mo out the gate), and maintaining reports and uptime. Allocating too many resources towards an in house system can leave smaller companies cash strapped and unable to produce a AAA game.

Web/App based analytics solutions

In order to avoid the first mistake, many companies will look to web/app based analytics solutions. The issue is that these services do not provide the added value of customized analytics solutions. There is a tremendous value in analytics systems that are tailored to the unique flows of an individual game.

Outsourcing analytics to a third party with questionable data security

As a gaming studio, your data is priceless. Losing that data to a competitor could be devastating. Not all third party analytics providers are created equal. At a minimum you should look for a provider that is GDPR compliant, encrypts all data and offers an SDK. Take a good look at the terms and conditions, as well as the privacy policy of any third party analytics service before diving in.

REAL TIME GAMING ANALYTICS

GET STARTED FOR FREE

Forgetting to A/B test all game updates

Each and every time an aspect of the game is changed, that change should be A/B tested among two identical player groups to analyze the impacts on KPIs. Updates are generally released to improve game play, but it should not be assumed that just because an update fixes an issue that it could not also have undesirable impacts on KPIs.

Not Analytics to Fix Bugs During QA

Users expect a smooth user experience when playing your game. Any bugs that are not discovered and fixed in the quality assurance process are sure to throw a wrench in any user experience. Fortunately, analytics tools help developers to spot these bugs early on so that the initial game launch can be bug free!

Failing to use analytics as a communication tool

Whether communicating to management, key stakeholders or investors, analytics should be the language of choice. Doing so effectively can be difficult, however. Data analytics is often seen as overly complex, but simplifying with key metrics can facilitate effective communication.Using KPIs to discuss changes and ideas to management will help them understand the impacts on game revenue. Most seasoned investors in the gaming industry closely follow ARDAU (average revenue per daily active user) and retention rate. Planning a presentation with these metrics in mind can greatly increase the odds of successfully closing a deal.

Categories
Uncategorized

8 Ways to Increase Player Retention in Your Game

8 Ways to Increase Player Retention in Your Game

Watch for sticky points in game play

These are places where players get stuck and are more likely to quit. By analyzing player data, developers can find these points and implement solutions to make them less sticky. They can be removed, refined, or an IAP (In App Purchase) can be used to monetize this point of play. For example, at a point in game play where a player gets stuck, developers can introduce a purchasable booster that helps players progress through that point.

Historically, developers have looked to reduce friction as much as possible. In today’s gaming environment, freemium models are widely popular. Developers have actually begun to intentionally introduce friction so that the implementation of an IAP can allow gaming studios to monetize that friction.

Frequent In Game Rewards + Achievements

Creating a reward system will incentivize players to keep coming back. Structuring game play to include short term achievements that lead up to long term achievements will keep players engaged. Imagine players viewing long term achievements like any other goal, if small steps are created to slowly reward them as they get closer to that goal they will be much more likely to reach it.

Update the Game Regularly

Consistent and frequent updates will keep your players engaged. Adding new levels, players, themes and boosters can positively impact your player retention. Notifying players in advance before updates are released will give them something to look forward to.

Monitor key metrics

Keep a close eye on the metrics that impact your player retention. These may include average session length and ARPAU (average revenue per active user). Any measurable change in these metrics should be evaluated by the team. Keep an eye on these metrics when game updates are released.

REAL TIME GAMING ANALYTICS

GET STARTED FOR FREE

Focus on a Successful Launch

Your first impression is everything, a strong launch will boost user retention and provide much needed momentum to build off of. If you don’t make a good first impression on your users, there’s a good chance that a lot of them won’t return to play again. You’ll often want to have an explainer screen to show users how to play, but you don’t want to over explain and take away from the user experience.

Use Analytics to Fix Bugs During QA

Users expect a smooth user experience when playing your game. Any bugs that are not discovered and fixed in the quality assurance process are sure to throw a wrench in any user experience. Fortunately, analytics tools help developers to spot these bugs early on so that the initial game launch can be bug free!

Create a Community and Currency Within Your Game

The more that players interact with your game’s ecosystem and other players within the game, the more likely they will keep coming back. Building a currency into this ecosystem can incentivize game play while also boosting game revenue. Many games incorporate a leader board to boost competition among players. Other community building efforts include social media pages and forums for players to communicate with one another.

Utilize Push Notifications

The more that players interact with your game’s ecosystem and other players within the game, the more likely they will keep coming back. Building a currency into this ecosystem can incentivize game play while also boosting game revenue. Many games incorporate a leader board to boost competition among players. Other community building efforts include social media pages and forums for players to communicate with one another.

Categories
Uncategorized

How To Use Data Analytics for PC Games

How to Use Data Analytics in PC Gaming

Analytics are a powerful tool that drive the decision making process fundamental in daily operations for gaming studios. The right analytics solution can be the driving force behind achieving KPI targets for a new game. 

When implementing an analytics solution, gaming studios have two routes to choose from.

  1. Create an in-house analytics tool. This can be customized for the specific needs of a game, and data is never shared externally. Companies will need to allocate resources to developing and maintaining an in-house solution, which can be an expensive endeavor.
  2. Use an external solution such as Google Analytics, Flurry or HypeInsights by HypeGamer. Such solutions offer “freemium” models for studios with limited resources. These companies provide an SDK that can be downloaded and connected for real time insights across hundreds of metrics. Hypeinsights allows for extensive game data visualization, customized reporting and out of the box KPI tracking.

REAL TIME GAMING ANALYTICS

Early Access: 50% Off For Life

When fine tuning a data analytics solution, teams will consider the metrics that key decision makers will use. The needs of developers, designers and high level executives should be considered.

Analytics for Game Developers

The data required for developers throughout the game creation process is extensive. User experience development will show developers where players get stuck and are more likely to quit. Developers can take this info to refine player experiences or introduce IAPs to monetize friction points within the game. 

Game developers will also use analytics for quality assurance. Game play data simplifies bug detection, allowing game studios to release AAA titles with fewer bumps during roll out.

Finally, developers will look to analytics for testing mechanics and identifiying optimal points of purchase within the gamepaly.

Analytics for Game Designers

Many designers will agree that they do not want every aspect of game design to be data driven. Instead, analytics can be used to make sense of how players are responding to design aspects.

Often times a high level metric may signal potential issues in game design. Designers can then pull from data to ascertain which design changes may resolve these issues.

Analytics for Game Executives

Executives often monitor high level KPIs and use these metrics to help direct developers, designers and marketing teams within their organization. These metrics are also imperative in effective communication with outside stakeholders, such as investors. An investor in search of a solid ROI will want to see player retention and ARPDAU. These metrics are often critical to landing investments. 

Categories
Uncategorized

13 Types of IAP Methods for Mobile Games

13 Types of IAP Methods for Mobile Games

IAPs (in app purchases) are a fast growing source of monetization for mobile, PC and console games. In various genres IAPs account for the bulk of in game revenue, as seen in this data from Statista.

An IAP monetization strategy can be very rewarding for game studios. It’s possible to implement for small studios, generates substantial revenue without a massive user base and cuts out third parties advertising agencies that may stifle revenue growth. In order to successfully build out an IAP game, teams must focus on the correct data points and build offers into the game in a way that improves upon the overall player experience. 

Here’s a look at some of the most common type of IAPs.

REAL TIME GAMING ANALYTICS

Early Access: 50% Off For Life

Consumable

The most common category of IAP, consumables disappear immediately once a player has purchased the item. Imagine an RPG where a player has taken on damage to their health, purchasing a health bonus will allow that player to restore their health fully and continue playing longer.

Unlockable items

These are the opposite of consumables. Once a player has purchased an unlockable item they will have permanent access to that item. Some examples are bonus game characters and loot boxes.

Impatience

This type of IAP offers a way for players to speed up the play of the game. They can be introduced at any point of friction within the game play. Some developers will even create friction in a game in order to increase IAP driven revenue, as it is a time tested top earner among IAPs.

Continue

One of the earliest types of IAP, these can be traced back to arcade games in the 70’s. A continue will require a player to add funds (whether coins in the arcade setting or via apple pay in a modern app) in order to keep playing. A recent example is the purchase of extra moves in Candy Crush Saga.

Auto-renew subscriptions

Access to premium content in exchange for regular payments made by users.

Regular subscriptions

Access to premium content on a non renewing basis, for a limited time only.

Battle pass

Once a player purchases a battle pass, they are rewarded with access to bonus in-game content.

VIP System

Rewarding players who make in-app purchases and take other required actions in game.

Loot Boxes

Unlock randomized virtual items that assist in game play.

Piggy Banks

Players collect in game currency while playing, this is stored in a piggy bank. Once the piggy bank fills players must make a one time in app purchase to open it. This is most commonly seen in casual and casino games.

Gacha

A classic Japanese monetization tool, gachas target highly engaged players and offer them a random chance of acquiring something. An example would be a purchase opportunity for a random weapon that will do at least 2X damage.

Time Limited IAPs

Discounted items and bundles, these offers expire after a set amount of time.

Bonus Game Characters

Pay to unlock an additional character in the game.

Categories
Uncategorized

How To Implement an IAP Revenue Stream

How To Implement an IAP Revenue Stream

The growth of Freemium gaming models has pushed developers to implement new monetization strategies, subsequently giving rise to the IAP (In App Purchase) model. Many success stories have stemmed from game studios converting to IAP, or more commonly adopting the model to supplement traditional in game ad revenue. Prior to their $250 million acquisition by Zynga, Gram Games began testing IAP on single title Merge Dragons. The new revenue model was such a success that IAPs quickly became 90% of all revenue generated across their games (traditional ad revenue continued to grow over this time frame).

 

IAP models have successfully been implemented by small teams, they require fewer app installs to generate substantial revenue and they allow game studios to take control of their revenue streams instead of trusting it in the hands of third party ad companies. 

 

When building out an IAP based game, you must keep a few things in mind.

REAL TIME GAMING ANALYTICS

Early Access: 50% Off For Life

Focus on your core audience

Rather than looking at averages across the board, focus on your most committed users. These are the users that are going to drive the most engagement in your game, thus being more likely to convert when offered IAPs. With proper analytics, users can be segmented into appropriate groups. Once you’ve established a core group, resources can be allocated to retaining these users, engaging them with custom offerings and targeting outside look-alike users with marketing campaigns to grow this segment.

Track relevant metrics

  • DAU (daily active users)
  • ARPPU (average revenue per paying user)
  • IAP conversion rate
  • Customer LTV (lifetime value)

Use IAPs to enhance player experience rather than limit it

Instead of creating paywalls that limit what players can or cannot do, think of ways that you can casually enhance gameplay for users with IAPs. Can you reduce sticking points in gameplay where individual players are stuck by offering them a booster or in game unlock? Doing so can convert an issue that would normally reduce player retention into a revenue producing opportunity.

Create a mini economy within the game

Think about an ecosystem where players are engaged to buy into, contribute and earn throughout the game play. Within this economy, too much scarcity of “diamonds” could frustrate players, while too many would create the perception of inflation.

Categories
Uncategorized

How to Increase Mobile Game ARPDAU (4 Ways)

How to Increase Mobile Game ARPDAU (4 Ways)

One of the most valued metrics in gaming is ARPDAU (average revenue per daily active user). This metric is especially significant to freemium game developers. According to research firm SuperData, freemium games accounted for 78% of the $139.9 billion in total gaming revenue generated in 2020. Developers are constantly looking for ways to boost ARPDAU.

REAL TIME GAMING ANALYTICS

Early Access: 50% Off For Life

Integrate IAPs

Use of IAPs (In App Purchases) alongside traditional in-game ads has proven to be an effective growth strategy for big and small gaming companies alike. According to Statista, IAPs accounted for 73% of total revenue generated by RPGs in 2020. Numerous success stories validate the use of IAPs to enhance monetization among AAA games.

Prior to their $250 acquisition by Zynga, Gram Games tested IAPs on one their ten active games, the rest being ad monetized. The results led Gram Games to move towards IAP implementation across all titles, with 90% of their revenue being generated by this model (in-game ad revenue continued to grow over this time frame as well).

Reduce Sticky Points in Game Play

Any sequence of the game where players tend to get stuck should be revamped to keep players engaged in gameplay. Doing so will result in a reduction of churn rates, which allow more time in the player life cycle for monetization. By identifying important issues in game play, developers can use analytics to make sense of those issues and improve upon the user experience.

Segment Users and Adjust Marketing Campaigns Accordingly

Identify users that are most likely to be monetized by in-game offers and focus marketing efforts on those users. By targeting segments of users, a marketing team can allocate resources to the highest converting groups and tailor promotions to each specific group’s needs.

Improving Purchase Funnel Efficiency

Any friction within a game’s purchase funnel can put a damper on revenue generated. Teams should focus on each step of the purchase funnel, from add to cart to order confirmation. If a step of the funnel proves to hinder user conversions, that portion of the checkout process should be retooled to create an optimal user experience.

 

Categories
Uncategorized

3 Ways to Use Player Behavior Analytics to Increase Game Revenue

3 Ways to Use Player Behavior Analytics to Increase Game Revenue

The ever increasing popularity of the freemium model in mobile gaming has created substantial demand for data analytics services in gaming. Many small development teams do not have the resources to hire a team of trained data scientists, yet the need for analytics is too great to ignore. According to VentureBeat, the global gaming market is expected to reach $218.7 billion in 2024. The collection and interpretation of player data is fundamental to understanding which users can be monetized,  identifying the underlying issues causing player churn, segmenting players into actionable groups and communicating KPI’s to stakeholders and investors.

Game makers often put in thousands of development hours before their games reach the masses. As seasoned developers know, this is usually only half of the battle. A large number of active users does not always translate to a higher ARPDAU (average revenue per daily active users). The ever popular freemium model encourages many mobile developers to offer a product for free now in exchange for potential future monetization of that product. Fortunately, the barriers to monetization can be significantly reduced with proper analytics. 

With segmentation and appropriate targeting, players can be grouped into tiers and marketing campaigns created based upon that segmentation. Thus, the players with the highest likelihood of converting to paying users can be more aggressively targeted. Furthermore, issues in the game that get players stuck and increase churn can be resolved or even turned into opportunities to monetize would be lost users.

REAL TIME GAMING ANALYTICS

Early Access: 50% Off For Life

Reducing Player Churn

Player retention is one of the key factors that investors and publishers alike are eager to explore. A small to medium size gaming company can be heavily rewarded for an aptitude to digest, improve upon and communicate this metric. As previously mentioned, the use of analytics to identify and reduce “sticky points” in the game is often the first place an astute developer will look to improve upon player retention.

 

Segmenting Players

With a monetization target in mind, game developers will look to carve out data driven segments of their active user base. This data will fuel marketing campaigns, user experience development, product development and product life cycle decisions. A segment of users may be more likely to get stuck in certain parts of the game, understanding which part of the user experience creates this obstacle can allow developers to retain and monetize users the otherwise would likely churn.

Key characteristics will define a group of users with the highest ARPDAU.  Marketing teams will not only target these users more aggressively with offers, but also look to attract more look-alike users with promotional materials.

Communicating With Data

While the use cases for analytics may vary widely between small and large game developers, the notion that professionalism can be communicated with that data holds as a constant across the board. Whether communicating KPI’s to stakeholders within the organization, or potential outside investors, an understanding of key metrics and the analytics that support them is critical. An investor in search of a solid ROI will want to see player retention and ARPDAU.

Teams within the same organization may disagree on where to allocate resources, and often a failed release will show evidence of misallocation. A unified team with a set of core metrics and data driven evidence to back them can focus resources on the most meaningful areas of development to ensure a higher likelihood of a successful initial release.