A/B testing is one of those pressure points that excites some mobile game developers while sending others into a spiral of analytical despair.
There's no doubting the power of a well-organising testing program, however, particularly when it comes to the in-game retailing of virtual goods.
And that's where US outfit Leanplum is looking to help.
Set up by ex-Googlers, it's just released its A/B testing platform for iOS and Android apps and games.
We caught up with CEO Momchil Kyurkchiev to find out why developers needs to embrace A/B testing, and how Leanplum makes the decision easy.
Pocket Gamer: Why is A/B testing so important for mobile game developers?
Momchil Kyurkchiev: Companies like Google base most of their decisions on data, and A/B tests are fully integrated into their day-to-day work. My co-founder Andrew and I know this first hand having run hundreds of A/B tests at Google.
Mobile apps are still a nascent space, but games are by far the most advanced category on the App Store. Every day, game developers are faced with decisions that impact the engagement, retention, and monetization of their app.
They range from introducing new features, using advanced game mechanics, re-engaging their players with push notifications or special offers, or just balancing their virtual economies.
There are hundreds of things to tune in a mobile game, and unless you run an A/B test, you will always be left to wonder if you're actually helping or hurting your metrics.
Why has it taken you so long to launch your service. What have been the key challenges to overcome?
They key challenge has been around building a product that our customers need that's also easy to use. One thing we learned in TechStars was the process of customer development. At Leanplum, we built a minimum viable product and offered it to the early customers in our private beta to see where the real pain points are.
Soon, we realized that A/B testing is all about the analytics behind running those tests.
With A/B testing, often times you are making trade-offs like engagement versus virility or monetization versus retention (e.g. showing more ads impacts returning users). Therefore, the person making those trade-offs needs to have access to world-class analytics that allow them to drill down into their data.
Over the past six months we've added the ability to filter and group the results of A/B tests across multiple dimensions like past user behavior, geography, traffic source, etc. We've also added many new types of visualizations like retroactive funnels, comparison graphs, stack graphs, and cohort analysis.
How easy it is to integrate Leanplum both from a technical/code point of view and also a development cycle point of view?
Ease of integration is one of our primary differentiators. One of our customers recently exclaimed that he could integrate Leanplum into his app in 30 seconds thanks to our automated SDK installer. He reproached us for not doing a good enough job putting this fact front-and-center on our home page.
Our SDK installer puts Leanplum into your project along with all required dependencies and API keys.
For iOS and Android, we have automatic resource syncing, which allows you to update your app's images, user interface, and configuration without App Store approval. We even detect if you are currently using any of the popular analytics providers like Flurry or Google Analytics and automatically send event data to Leanplum as well.
What other thirdparty solutions do you integrate with?
We also have a partnership with HasOffers to expose traffic source information in our system. Finally, we have a very extensive REST API, which allows any developer to integrate Leanplum into their existing tools.
For more advanced use cases, we have an extensive data modeling API, which allows developers to make any piece of content (or variable) in their app A/B testable. It takes 1 line of code per variable.
What's your business model and pricing structure?
We have a freemium model based on usage (daily active users or DAU). The base tier is free up to 100 DAU. The paid tiers are $79/month for 1,000 DAU and $399/month for 10,000 DAU. Above that, we have our enterprise plan.
You can find out more about Leanplum's services via its website.