The data that pays: What really fuels game monetization (VB Live)

VB LIVE: Find out how free-to-play games like Angry Birds 2, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and Song of Pan use these essential data metrics to maximize engagement, boost monetization, and increase retention by up to 66 percent.
 Missed it? Access this VB Live event on demand right here.

“The industry has learned the hard way that developing and spending your development resources based on anecdotal evidence or gut feel really doesn’t sustain a good game,” says deltaDNA’s CEO Mark Robinson. “Using data to make those decisions and guide development is the only way to go.”
Robinson joined VB’s own Dean Takahashi, Thumbspire’s VP of Product Stefano Melucci, and Jon Burg, head of product marketing at Appsflyer, to discuss how data drives sustainable, long-term success. And that means identifying the best metrics to track in order to optimize your game and build on your wins.
For example, the first-time user experience is foundational to your success—you have 60 seconds max to really grab the player’s attention, and here’s where your data analytics immediately come into play.
Melucci offers the example of Song of Pan, Thumbspire’s puzzle platformer. In its soft launch, retention was at only 15 percent — and they knew they had to concentrate on that first minute of the game.
They implemented analytics to see exactly what users were doing immediately, and found that they were already losing 20 percent of players during the tutorial.
“Basically we went back to the developers with the analytics,” Melucci says. “We improved the tutorial’s visual directions and reduced the choices in menu navigation to minimize confusion.” And they increased day 1 retention by 66 percent in the first two optimization iterations.
Data is such a powerful tool, Robinson says, because it can directly impact your design, engagement, and monetization strategies—the three foundational pillars of game success that can help optimize your app before it ever even officially launches.
“Analysis shows that the longer games are in soft launch, the better the metrics in retention and monetization become,” Robinson explains. “Three to four months in soft launch allows you to really refine the game with lots of A/B testing, analysis of the first-time user funnel, player segmentation, and getting a good feeling for the player experience.”
All of which make up the lifeblood of your game — engagement and retention, he says.
You also need to start segmenting right out of the gate, Robinson says, in order to gain insight into how each of the very different types of players, from novices to grinders to experienced and social users, are experiencing the onboarding of your game—helping you design the retention and monetization mechanics specific to each segment.
For instance, novices require early, generous gifts — and are susceptible to rewarded video, particularly if the exchange for a view doesn’t inhibit gameplay, and is particularly useful or lavish. Experts need challenge early and often, and are compelled by carefully considered, in-app purchase offers at the right time in the game, when they want to accelerate their game play.
And don’t be afraid to start your ad monetization strategy early in the game. “Many developers are cautious about ads because it seems like a retention problem in the making,” Robinson says, “but actually if you target the ads well, retention can be maintained and ad views increased by beginning to serve the ads earlier.”
Once you maximize engagement and a player’s LTV, then you can start spending your acquisition budget. With in-app analytics, after just three or four days of game play, a user has already given you a good sense of their 90-day LTD and 90-day retention, so out of the gate you can start tuning your acquisitions spend.
“If you’re a gaming advertiser, gaming developer, gaming marketer, you want to know what networks to be working with,” says Burg, “By combining your attribution data and your media cost data together with in-app behavior, you’re able to determine your ROI—and what networks you should be working with moving forward.”
Find out more about essential KPIs, ad networks offering the biggest ROI, and best practices for those first 60 seconds from our panel of pros.

Don’t miss out!
Access this VB Live event on demand here.

In this webinar, you’ll learn how to:

Target the right players and leverage the right engagement strategies
Maximize profits from ads and IAP
Predict the lifetime value of players by acquisition channel
Apply the killer strategies behind the most successful games
Unlock the lesser-known data secrets behind monetization

Speakers:

Dean Takahashi, GamesBeat editor, VentureBeat
Jon Burg, Product Marketing Lead, AppsFlyer
Stefano Melucci, VP of product, Thumbspire
Mark Robinson, CEO, DeltaDNA

This webinar is sponsored by DeltaDNA.
The data that pays: What really fuels game monetization (VB Live)
The data that pays: What really fuels game monetization (VB Live)



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