Tag Games' new data analyst Chris Kelly on how one tweak increased daily revenue 150%

Tag Games' new data analyst Chris Kelly on how one tweak increased daily revenue 150%
With the dawning of the freemium era on mobile and social platforms, the role of data analyst has become a requirement - not a luxury - for most game developers.

Our ultimate goal at Tag Games is to become a leader in the use of metrics in order to enable better game design and support more effective commercialisation, and I'm excited to have moved into the industry at such an important time.

Balancing act

Investing in a bespoke analytics platform and dedicated in house data analysis staff allows us to reap the benefits, both in knowledge and revenue.

However, we are equally aware that we are a games developer first and foremost, and not an analytics company. The high standard of our games must be retained and improved upon, otherwise all the data in the world has little real value.

Every day, I have a working relationship with both the design and marketing side of the company. At our daily stand up meetings I inform the teams of the results of my data analyses and provide a situation report detailing key performance indicators, such as the number of users, revenue and retention plus any trends that are developing.

At our more strategic high level meetings, I advise on larger issues and help to plan the next steps in the development of the respective projects.

Turning data into wisdom

With the recent launch of the award-winning Funpark Friends, we have a perfect platform to learn from our data and iterate. We've received overwhelming praise for the design and mechanics of Funpark Friends, but sadly our monetisation and conversion was not what we had anticipated.

It was through one of these strategic meetings at an early stage of Funpark Friends' launch that I identified a major issue with the game's economy. There was a clear imbalance with too much premium currency in circulation resulting in smaller than expected in-app purchases.

As you can see from the chart below there was a considerable amount of in-game actions actioned or hurried with premium currency, yet numbers of in-app purchases were extremely low.

Close to 1-in-10 ride collects were being done through the use of premium currency, which is considerably higher than what we had expected.

A quick economy rebalance was clearly required.

After discussions with the team, we decided to reduce payouts of premium currency upon quest completion as a first step, to reduce the amount of premium currency in the economy and thus increase its value.

Where before 1-in-10 collections were being made by premium currency this decreased to a more acceptable 1-in-50.

After conducting this initial rebalance we monitored its effect on our daily revenue and saw it considerably increase in a short space of time. Our daily revenue increased by 150 percent one day after making the change and further improved by another 50 percent the subsequent day.

Clearly, our concern with making this change was that our retention rates would suffer. After conducting comparisons of intakes before and after the economy rebalance our retention rates decreased by approximately 0.8 percent showing that the effects were negligible when compared to the benefits.

My current work around data analysis is centred on monetisation improvements. With our goal being to increase ARPU levels in the short term, as well as bringing down the cost of acquisition of users to as low a level as possible.

It is only through working closely with the different disciplines within the production and marketing teams that my data and analysis can become meaningful. Data helps you identify the issues but the real challenge comes in how to apply the insights this data provides to your product or service.

Having an amazing creative and technical team to generate solutions to problems and to apply behavioural learnings to improve gameplay is a vital part of a successful social games team. Collecting data is not enough on its own; you have to be able to apply that data successfully.

I’m sure that in years to come data analysts will be as common as game designers in game development teams. Until then I'm happy to be one of the early pioneers of this exciting new role.
To read more about Tag, visit www.tag-games.com


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