5 Metrics every mobile game developer must track

By Gurinder Singh on 01/23/14 08:27:00 am

HashCube

When looking at data at a Macro level, there are certain important metrics you must keep a track of. We look at 5 of these macro metrics which all game developers must track. Maybe we’ll look at some micro level metrics in a future blog post, but those are dependent on the game.

1. Actual Stickiness -

Stickiness is generally calculated as DAU/MAU but it can sometimes give you a false impression if you get a lot of new users everyday or are running marketing campaigns to acquire users. Actual Stickiness can be calculated as (DAU-New users today)/(MAU-New users today).

Measuring change in actual stickiness is useful when you make a change to your app with your hypothesis being that it’s going to increase engagement. For example, you could have implemented push notifications with a view to keep re-engaging users, an increase in actual stickiness would ratify that hypothesis.

For a casual game, Actual Stickiness = 20% would be a good number to target at an average but it depends highly on the nature of the game.

2. 1-Day, 7-Day, 30-Day Retention -

D1, D7 and D30 retentions are calculated as the percentage of users who are active at any time after 1 day, 7 days and 30 days of installing your app.

Some people like to calculate D1 as the percentage of users who come back in exactly the 24-48hr window after installing the app. The latter would be useful if you had some feature in your game that would require a user to come back within that window, like a starter bonus/pack or something. Otherwise, the above framework would be more pertinent.

D1 = 40%, D7 = 20%, D30 = 10% are considered as industry benchmarks for decent games. For Sudoku Quest in particular, we have D1=40%, D7= 25% and D30 = 15%.

For the case of Sudoku Quest, we also see D90 = 10% and D365 = 5% and in some months where most of the users we have got have been acquired, we have seen D365 as high as 12%. So for us, most of the users who stick with us for 30 days, stick around for a long time.

3. Avg. Time Spent per user per day -

We tend to concentrate more on avg. time spent per user per day rather than average sessions per user per day (Sessions are generally longer for a Sudoku game). The time a user is willing to give your app each day is a good indicator of how engaged a user is with your app.

Again each metric varies with the nature of the app but we see avg. time spent per user per day around 50mins on Sudoku Quest.

4. ARPDAU -

ARPDAU is calculated as (Daily Revenue/DAU) but unless you were making a million dollars a month, chances are this simple calculation will give you a mountain range rather than a worm. The way we calculate ARPDAU is:-

Avg. Daily Revenue = Last 30 Days revenue/30

Avg. DAU = Sum(DAU) for last 30 Days/30

ARPDAU = Avg. Daily Revenue/Avg. DAU

For puzzle games, ARPDAU = $0.05 is a good target.

5. LTV -

Lifetime Value is the estimated average revenue you will make for each user that installs your app. Tracking LTV by geography and demographics will define your target market. Tracking LTV by source will allow you to identify ROI+ sources of acquiring users.

LTV is an estimation and as such, it’s difficult to calculate very accurately but you can make intelligent guesses by looking at past data. Let’s analyze past payers:-

This is only hypothetical but let’s say our analysis says that we will make 50% of our revenue from payers in the first month, 30% in the 2nd month and so on. When acquiring users from different sources, we’ll look at our ARPUs from each source within the 1st month of acquisition and multiply that by 2 to give us our estimated LTV.

Now depending on your target LTV/UAC (User Acquisition Cost) ratio, you could with good degree of confidence identify sources that are working better for you than others.

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About the Author

Gurinder is VP-Marketing at HashCube, makers of Sudoku Quest, one of the biggest social games to come out of India. The company's replicable framework, which HashCube calls the 'Quest model', for casual games has lead to 40x monetization on Sudoku Quest compared to the competition plus 1000s of free users from Social and more engagement. The company is now poised to extend the Quest model on to other casual games.

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