Don’t rely on guesswork or intuition when you’re trying to improve your mobile game and reach a bigger audience. You can measure how people are interacting with it. The right metrics will give you insights into what’s working well and what could use a little extra work. External metrics can help you to analyze your monetization and promotion strategies. Internal metrics can help you to improve the gameplay and the overall experience for players.
We’re not going to cover every possible metric here, so let’s just pick out five of the most important measures.
There are certain things you’ll definitely want to measure for any type of game to get a sense of how players are doing with it. It’s important to take time to balance the difficulty and also the in-game economy.
The easiest way to assess a level’s difficulty is to measure how many players start it, how many abandon it, and how many complete it successfully. If you’re able to identify a specific point that causes large numbers of players to quit, then it might be worth reworking it. There will obviously be certain levels that are intentionally difficult, but look for unexpectedly troublesome areas. Tweaking a map design or dropping in a power-up at the right moment could be enough to fix the issue.
You also want to take a look at which levels players are replaying. What are the most popular parts of your game and what are the least popular? Even if you don’t intend to significantly rework the game you’re measuring, this information can be useful for your next project.
Earning and spending
The specifics here will depend on your monetization model. Assuming you have an in-game currency and you want players to spend real money on it, then you have to measure how they earn and spend. Take a look at their bank balance over time. Try to determine whether you’re being too generous with your in-game currency or too stingy.
Take a look at what players do just prior to purchases. Is there something that works well as a trigger? You can test out how effective pop-ups or free trials of premium content actually are in securing sales.
The number of daily active users you have is obviously important and you want to see that number grow over time, but it’s worth digging a little deeper.
A lot of games are played once and never opened again. If you want your mobile game to be a success, particularly with the freemium model, then you need a good retention rate. This is simply about measuring how many users continue to play your game after a day, a few days, a week, a month, and beyond. If you aren’t persuading players to return, then you need to analyze why and make some changes.
Calculate how much revenue each user generates on average. With a freemium game, you’ll want to work out your overall average revenue per user (ARPU) and also your average revenue per paying user (ARPPU). It’s usually a very small percentage of players, sometimes called whales, who actually spend money in mobile games.
These measures will indicate whether your monetization strategy is actually working and delivering the return you need. You should also factor in things like marketing expenses and advertising to create a cost per download. If it’s not profitable enough, then you need to make changes.
Are you persuading players to part with money? Your conversion rate shows you what percentage of players turn into paying players. It’s going to be low, but you can work on it. Try different strategies, and keep a close eye on the impact they have on conversion rates and retention. It’s all about maintaining a healthy balance.
If you run a beta or soft launch, then use these metrics to finalize your game and tweak your monetization model. The earlier you can identify issues, the better, but you should continue to measure after release and act on the insights your metrics deliver.