Off the back of her GDC 2015 talk that used mobile data to examine “whales,” it is perhaps unsurprising that Kongregate CEO Emily Greer is keen to discuss the vitality of analytics.
“Mobile analytics are so much harder than web,” she admits.
“There are all the different devices and settings, plus the inconsistency of connections that introduce all sorts of new problems.”
Kongregate solves the issue by building analytics into its SDK with a dashboard that helps developers drill down the figures.
“There are so many random bits of information from the industry that 40/20/10 retention is good,” says Greer.
“But there are nuances, and sometimes it's just hard," she adds.
"Even if you have the data you won't always know what it means unless you have a context and broader perspective that you get from a publisher.”
Under the magnifying glass
Greer believes all studios, including indies, should be relying on analytics to help distribute their games.
“You can't just look at vanity metrics of DAU and so on. Instead developers can get into a more complicated analysis of win rates by branching RPG progression in battles.”
Still, she admits that dedicated analytics experts can be hard to build into teams – especially for indie developers.
Even if you have the data. you won't always know what it means unless you have a broader perspective.Emily Greer
Instead she advises all game makers to “start with an existing service, whether it’s Kongregate’s or another.
“Their SDK for doing analytics will be better than anything, but their standard metrics for things that are the same from game to game won't be enough to tell you what's happening in your game.
You need to have some level of customisation where you get at the things that are specific to your game, because if you use general analytics you're not going to get specific feedback.”
It’s like buying a new shirt or dress, Greer says. You can get a one-size-fits-all option, but it will never be as good as the tailored equivalent.
“You need to start and get the basics right, but you also need to have insight into where things are going.
"You need good basic pants and a fun top.”