Mobile gaming is one of the most promising and at the same time challenging niches in the mobile app market. Therefore, we have collected 11 important metrics that will help developers and publishers of mobile games measure the effectiveness of their solutions and add value to the product.
Metrics are indicators of how often the app is downloaded throughout the day, how much time users spend with the product, and which buttons they tap. Metrics help to understand what needs to be changed in the app, how to develop it further, and, most importantly, how to earn more money on it.
In order to reach the maximum profit, you need to attract as many users as possible. And those users must be interested in your app and want to come back again and again.
The retention is measured not in relation to each user, it is compiled in the ratio – cohorts (a group of users who entered the app, for example, on the same day). That is, the retention metric can help you determine the percentage of users from the cohort (who installed the app N days ago) that entered the app on day N.
Why is retention rate important?
Now when there are over 5 million mobile apps in the stores, developers have to desperately compete for the audience’s attention. According to Localytics, every fifth user opens the program only once after the download and never returns to it. That is why retention is one of the most important metrics in 2021.
How to calculate retention rate?
There are different calculation methods and frameworks for increasing the ratio – there is no single formula. For example, the classic retention rate is calculated as follows: the number of users who opened the app on the day N after day 0 is divided by the number of users who first used the app on day 0.
Traditionally, the retention rate is measured for the 1st, 7th, and 28th days. Please note that games of different genres have different retention rates. For example, casual games have a low retention rate on day 28. However, their audience is the largest on the market in comparison with, say, hardcore games, where the audience is quite narrow, but the 28-day retention is much higher.
On average, the following values are considered to be good:
- D1 Retention: 40%
- D7 Retention: 20%
- D28 Retention: 10%
Mobile game analysts make predictions based on day 1 retention. If the indicators leave much to be desired, then typically the problem can be found at the very beginning. Analyze the first session, think – maybe the gameplay is not entirely clear, the app features are not user-friendly enough, there is no onboarding process, etc. It all depends on the genre and type of game.
On the 7th day, you get an audience that stands at a “crossroads”. It seems that they are with you, but they have not yet got into the group of loyal users.
On the 28th day, you get the users who like your app. This is the group of people, a percentage of which agree to make purchases.
How do you measure the success of a game?
A retention rate above 40% after three months means that your game is very successful. A rate between 25% and 35% is good. If the retention rate is below 20%, then you should think about adjustments.
How to increase your retention rate?
- Create better app onboarding experiences.
- Add personalization.
- Use gamification.
- Set up push notifications: do not abuse attention, consider the interests of the user, send newsletters during the periods of user activity.
This is the percentage of users who leave the app. According to the GameAnalytics report, less than 15% of mobile games retain 35% of players after the first day. Within 28 days of downloading a game app, 94% of users leave.
How to calculate churn rate?
The formula for the churn indicator looks like this: Churn Rate = (Number of people who left by the end of the month) / (Number of all those who paid for the next month) * 100%
Why is churn rate important?
Churn rate allows you to look at the problem from a different angle: not to look for new methods of user retention, but rather to understand why they leave and consider re-engagement strategies.
This metric shows how many days on average the user spends in the app. It can be useful, for example, when you need to understand whether the user likes the updated version more than the previous one or not.
How to calculate LT?
To calculate the lifetime metric, you need to:
- Determine the time interval of inactivity of users in the app. In practice, it takes a week, two, or a month.
- Mark these users every day and measure how many days (months or years) a person spent with the app: from the first visit to the last one.
- Calculate the average of the total number of users and get a lifetime. Taking more users for a longer time period will give you a more accurate value.
Why is LT important?
This indicator shows how long it will take for the user to leave the project. If you know when this will happen, you can try to change their behavior: offer a discount, send a push notification, change something in the app to extend the user’s stay, etc.
Installs and Conversion Rate (CR)
This is the number of times the game was installed. You can get this number from the app store statistics. If you want to measure the effectiveness of paid traffic, then you need to focus on the Conversion Rate (CR) advertising metric. If 100 users clicked the ad, but only 10 of them eventually downloaded the app, then the CR will be 10%.
In the US, the average organic CR for apps in the App Store is 3.42%, according to AppTweak. The indicator ranges from 0.7% for board games to 8.5% for the Finance category.
How to calculate CR?
To calculate CR, we need to choose a time period – day, week, month, or quarter. That is, you need to calculate the number of leads, divide them by the total traffic over a period of time, and multiply the result by 100%.
CR = number of targeted actions or leads / total number of visitors * 100%
Why is CR important?
Here are the 3 main benefits of CR:
- Tracking of conversion rate helps you measure the current performance of your app.
- Understanding what percentage of users are meeting the underlying business goals can help identify areas for improvement.
- Increasing your conversion rate helps you get more sales for the same amount of traffic. You can cut your ad spend and get the same benefits as before, or invest extra money in new ad campaigns.
How to improve CR?
To improve the conversion rate, you can either launch an advertising campaign or improve the app’s page in the app stores by adding screenshots, ratings, user reviews, etc.
Cost Per Install (CPI)
It is the amount that you spend to attract a new user to the app.
How to calculate CPI?
To measure the cost per install, you need to divide the total cost of an ad campaign by the number of installs.
Why is CPI important?
CPI can help you determine the effectiveness of specific advertising campaigns or promotion efforts. It shows how much you need to spend in order to get one installation of the app and thus correctly distribute your budget.
How to improve CPI?
To improve the metric, i.e. reduce the CPI, you can use precise targeting and work with ad creatives. If you understand the core of your audience well, you can set up your campaign to only show ads to similar users. It will cost you less but be more efficient.
Sessions + Average Session Duration
A session is the amount of time that the user has spent in the mobile app. ASD is the average session time over a specific period of time.
How to calculate ASD?
ASD = Cumulative Session Duration for a Period / Total Sessions for the Same Period
Why is ASD important?
When comparing different groups of users by ASD, it may turn out that some start the game every day, but only for a couple of minutes. Others spend three hours in it, but only once a week. If you add other metrics, for example, ARPU/ARPPU, you can understand which of these groups pays better, which one should be involved, and which one to focus on when releasing updates.
How to improve ASD?
It is possible to increase the frequency of sessions by using various mechanics at specific time intervals, such as bonuses or recovery of lives every 30 minutes.
ARPU / ARPPU
This is the average income per user/paying user.
How to calculate ARPU/ARPPU?
ARPU = Revenue per Cohort for All Time / Number of Users in the Cohort
ARPPU = App Revenue / Unique Paying Users
Why is ARPU/ARPPU important?
The ARPPU to ARPU ratio shows how paying users relate to the pricing and quality of paid content. For example, lower prices can lead to a decrease in ARPPU, but an increase in ARPU. This is because some of the users who were previously not satisfied with the cost of your services may start buying.
How to improve ARPU/ARPPU?
To improve this metric, you can experiment with the app monetization types: in-app ad revenue, in-app purchases, subscriptions, pricing models, etc. You can also review the placement of ads and try new ad formats, such as video or playable ads.
Lifetime Value (LTV)
LTV shows the total amount of money a customer spends over the entire time they are your customer.
How to calculate LTV?
LTV = total revenue from new users over a given period of time.
The metric is calculated for users who have a mobile app installed during the selected time period. It is also possible to calculate the LTV not for the entire user’s lifetime, but for a specific period of time, e.g. from the moment of installation by the amount of the specified interval (day, week, month, or year).
Why is LTV important?
LTV brings you the following benefits:
- Analysis of marketing channels. You will understand from which channel you get the most money – it needs to be optimized and developed, and from which one the least – it may be worth turning it off.
- Identifying the most loyal customers. Customers with the highest LTV can be called loyal. You will need to pay special attention to them.
- Optimization of retention efforts. If the indicator is low, you need to focus not on attracting new customers, but on retaining current ones.
- Personalization. Divide customers into segments by LTV level and work out your strategy for each segment.
How to improve LTV?
To increase LTV, you need to constantly maintain user engagement – monitor user reviews, add new features and conduct all sorts of internal events. Also, LTV is influenced by how quickly the user gets the essence of the game and starts playing. As well as the number of difficulty levels, bonuses for watching promotional videos, and personalized push notifications.
Daily/Monthly Average Users (DAU/MAU)
This is the number of unique users per day and per month. These metrics are calculated based on total data across all app launches. User uniqueness is usually determined by device ID or authorization parameters.
DAU helps you understand which days were the most successful and how many active users you have during the day. MAU shows the average number of active users over the last 30 days.
How to calculate DAU/MAU?
In mobile games, the Monthly Active Users metric measures the number of unique players who have returned to the game at least once a month.
To analyze MAU, you need to divide users into groups according to the days of the week in which they downloaded the game. If you constantly monitor the metric, then you can launch advertising campaigns exactly on those days when the most active users come. For games, a DAU/MAU level of 20-30% of the total number of users is considered good. For comparison, in messengers, this indicator is considered successful if it is around 50%.
Why is DAU/MAU important?
You need to measure DAU/MAU in order to:
- understand how active and engaged users are in your application;
- better understand the target audience of the product;
- analyze the needs of the audience.
How to improve DAU/MAU?
To improve the DAU and MAU, you can encourage user activity with daily bonuses, remind them about the game in push notifications and email newsletters, retarget them on social media, and carry out promotions. Help the users remember that your app exists and give them an extra reason to come back.
This metric defines how regularly the app is used during a month.
How to calculate stickiness rate?
Stickiness rate is calculated by dividing DAU by MAU. If all users run your app every day, then the DAU will be equal to the MAU, and the stickiness rate will be 100%. It means that all users are “stuck” in the app. But this, of course, cannot happen.
According to GameAnalytics, a good average monthly stickiness rate for all mobile game genres is 10-18%. Casino is the most “sticky” genre, here the stickiness rate reaches 26%. Racing and Action have the lowest stickiness rate among all genres – it is good if it reaches 10%.
Why is stickiness important?
Stickiness indicates how relevant your game is for users. High stickiness shows high interest in your game and makes users visit it more frequently.
How to improve stickiness rate?
If the stickiness rate falls below 5%, then it is worth launching push notifications or updating the app and offering new features. It is also worth encouraging feedback: create in-game chats and build an in-app community.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
This metric is important at later stages of the app development and acts as a loyalty indicator. To measure it, ask the users for feedback, e.g., “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely is it that you recommend our app?” Then you analyze the data as follows:
- Score 9-10: Loyal enthusiasts (app ambassadors and influencers) who will continue to buy and motivate others to fuel your growth.
- Score 7-8: Passive customers who are vulnerable to offers from competitors.
- Score 0-6: Dissatisfied customers.
How to calculate NPS?
To calculate NPS, subtract the total number of dissatisfied customers from the total number of enthusiasts. It is also crucial that you find out the reasons for negative feedback.
Why is NPS important?
NPS is important because it:
- helps you to understand if the product is relevant to the market;
- measures the app’s value and virality;
- identifies the extent to which your users can share the app with others and refer new customers.
Over to You
As you’ve already understood, a mobile game can have a lot of metrics. It’s crucial that you determine the necessary ones, constantly track them, understand the averages for your category, platform, country, etc., so that you can consistently improve your product.