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Embrace the right data to get ROI for your game, argues adeven

Embrace the right data to get ROI for your game, argues adeven
Christian Henschel comes from a digital marketing background and now specialises in mobile analytics and app performance measurement.

He's the co-founder and CEO of smarter mobile analytics outfit adeven.


App business intelligence such as download tracking and in-app analytics can provide a good overview in terms of identifying problem areas such as the purchase process, users leaving a game early, or not using it often enough to generate revenue.

Analytics also allows comparison between marketing sources or even creative (for example which ad is the most effective?).

This will provide you with a good understanding of which marketing source gives what type of users and how they behave in the app.

But what should you look for when you proudly step across the line and proclaim that you love stats?

Get enough data

If you have a game that capitalises on in-app purchases, make sure you have a large enough user base and big enough dataset to work with.

If you have 2,000 downloads and you think you can determine how your users are behaving, well, you simply can't.

I've seen too many clients jump to conclusions about users or advertising sources based on a small sample size. It inevitably ends in disaster.

What are your KPIs?

Many games companies split their product group from their marketing group.

Whereas the product group focuses on making sure the engagement is high and does all the magic necessary to get an engaging game, the marketers are focused on bringing the right users into the app.

Likewise, when it comes to stats, you need to know where you sit in the game and what you can improve.

KPI #1: Time to first purchase

Of course it is important to understand when people make a first purchase in your game because it helps you understand how the game experience works for them.

For example, if you know your average user lifetime is shorter than the time to first purchase, then you know you have a problem.

General advice on how to develop your game and optimise it based on KPIs (key performance indicators) is extremely complex, however.

Big companies have in-house analytics teams of 10 or even 20 people who sit there and pry over numbers that are specific to individual games and help identify specific problems.

They are looking at which menu screens need to be tweaked, how to trigger purchasing decisions earlier, as well as user acquisition strategy. They also have to understand the sales funnel for the specific game and optimise it.

KPI #2: Average revenue per user over time

The average revenue per user generated over a seven day and 30 day periods are very important.

These will tell you when you will be able to get back the money you spent on marketing and user acquisition.

It's also important to know your average lifetime revenue per user, but 'lifetime' might be a very, very long time. People may play your game for months or even years, but the majority of your marketing costs are going to be upfront, so you need to know when you will get that back.

KPI #3: One-time user rate

The one-time user rate (aka first day retention) describes how your game is performing in terms of the behaviour of your users.

For example, a 60 percent one-time user rate would mean that 60 percent of your players are leaving after one day.

This is important to track against your various marketing campaign so you can see how quickly certain users are leaving in comparison to different campaigns and/or your organic users and existing players.

Find your diamonds

Optimising KPIs is an extremely complex science, and no one can give you general advice on how to optimise your game.

What's important is making sure you are able to get a big enough dataset to be able to make sensible conclusions about how your users are behaving in your game.

Once your game is optimised, you then need to work on identifying and understanding the players who are monetising in your game. Then find out where they come from and work out how to get more of them to maximise your ROI.

The next article in this series will look at marketing strategies.

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