• Ofer Zeevy

Gaming metrics companies must consider measuring

Updated: Mar 28

User behavior stands at the center of evaluations done by companies to measure their performance. And this is no different for gaming businesses: they measure their success by quantitative parameters such as how many units of their mobile games were downloaded (acquisition metrics), how many new users they have acquired vs. active users and how often they are playing.


But game developers and app marketers looking for a broader understanding of their efforts must examine the qualitative aspects too. By tracking and analyzing players' feedback, they can gain key game analytics that would help them make better future decisions, regarding such factors as product enhancements, monetization strategy, and other business model decisions.


Metrics

Mobile game metrics, as well as those for PC gaming and console games, are actually a combination of the bottom-line sales and usage numbers, coupled with an analysis of what players are experiencing and commenting about. User engagement and any possible way of measuring how users interact with their games make up for the overall data gaming companies must consider measuring.


Quantitative measurements

There are a variety of mobile game metrics and other gaming quantitative measurements for companies to consider. These figures tell the numbers side of their business story.

  • Number of downloads

How many units sold or how many unique users have downloaded the mobile game app. Sales and download charts show which are the leading names in the mobile app industry and can tell how successful they are in terms of revenue generated.


  • In-app purchases

There are options for players to add tokens or to advance to other levels inside of a game by doing an "in-app purchase". This is one of the monetization strategies companies make as it is also a way to encourage users to play more.


  • Stickiness: number of active users (daily/monthly)

Measurements of monthly active users and daily active users are calculated to present gaming stickiness. As for the number of users, a "paying user" is not enough, but a "playing user" shows how much time one is devoted to playing. The longer the time of usage, the greater the benefits for the player. And the longer the user engagement, the greater the indication that the game is successful.


  • Stickiness: session length/count

Mobile apps game stickiness is also measured by the average session length as well as by the average session count, which refers to the average number of sessions played by a gamer in a specific period (day/week/month). So a user generates not only payments for a game, but his playing time is also measured to indicate the popularity of such a game.


  • Retention rate/churn rate

When a company successfully builds a loyal user base for a game and brand, meaning it manages to have players stick to them, it must also deal with those who churn.

Retention rate talks about how many players continued to play, after installing a game. Retention metrics, and the need to calculate retention, help companies to figure out how many players stayed with their products.


The churn rate for every gaming app helps companies measure how many of their players stopped subscribing to their games. Companies also witness users uninstall their mobile games and wish to avoid that. Being that each of these metrics is a key indicator, it would be important for gaming companies to find out why every single user has decided to quit. Through player feedback analysis, figuring it out for an individual average user or even a heavy player is possible. And of course, understanding whether there is a larger problem that causes many players to churn is an absolute must.


Woman celebrating playing videogames.

  • Average revenue per user (ARPU)

Whether gamers are monthly active users or daily active users, calculation of the average revenue per mobile game player is important. Paying users, whether through subscriptions or via "in-app purchases" of virtual currency, contribute to the total revenue but are also important for other monetization metrics.


First, there is the average transaction value and then, each and every further payment shows their mobile game loyalty but also the amount of money companies are able to gain from such users. So the average revenue per paying player helps companies not only evaluate their current gaming app's performance but also estimate their future total revenue.


  • ROAS, ATV and CTI

A marketing strategy, as well as advertising dollars, spent measure against mobile game players. Mobile game user acquisition campaigns are evaluated for the results they bring for mobile apps.

Return on ad spend (ROAS) calculates the budget a company devotes to marketing divided by the revenues generated from players in a specific time period (A week, month or quarter). Other metrics include the Average Transaction Value (ATV) discussing the total revenue divided by the numbers of orders taken, and also Click to Install (CTI) which measures the share of users who click on your ad and then install the gaming app. Such CTI conversion rate measures the success of your ads.


  • Lifetime value

Companies with hardcore games tend to calculate the overall lifetime of entire revenues generated by users engaged in their games. This is done by the players' number of days of engagement multiplied by the average spend per day. So revenue per paying user over the entire time he plays makes up the LTV (Lifetime Value).


  • Virality

Game analytics and metric measures can't be complete without what some call "virality metrics". When an existing user brings a number of new users, causing referral on a massive scale, this accelerates the amount of new players (this is similar to a post going viral on social media). The total number of users may rely on such virality, as a player, a user cohort, or a group of gamers builds up the game's base.



Qualitative measurements

Every other measure, which does not refer to sales figures or time spent on playing console, PC gaming, or more casual games, is defined as qualitative data. Such data has to do with what players are saying about their user activity. Analysis of such data completes and complements the quantitative data ("what happened") and on many occasions supplies gaming companies with the "why it happened".


Players are conversing in many different online places. Take Discord for example. Hosting many forums and communities, including mobile games, PC gaming, and console players, the website is one of the most popular places where they communicate online. Their interactions display what they think about all facets of their gaming experiences. The ability to track and analyze their discussions in real-time helps gaming companies to receive important feedback regarding their products and services.


The player's user base can be found in other places as well, such as Vanilla forums. This website hosts a huge player community and gaming companies can gather and analyze lots of feedback from it too. Users spend lots of time playing but they also devote some of their time to converse, discuss and comment on their gaming habits and experiences. Gaming companies can learn a lot from what they have to say in such forums.


Other places where such player feedback can be found are on social media outlets, the gaming companies' website response areas, and with direct emails from players to the companies. Users of games find different places and ways to communicate their ideas and such data, when tracked and analyzed, can serve as a goldmine for companies to hear their player voice and opinion.


There are several areas that serve gaming companies with valuable information about their products and services, regardless of game genres or gaming platforms. Such information can come from free users, daily active users paying for features, casual game players, or professional ones.


  • Player overall satisfaction score from a game

Players tend to rate the games that they play by either giving a numeric score but also by writing reviews and discussing their overall satisfaction, or lack of, from their experiences. These ratings serve as a temperature check for each and every game that they comment about.


Following that, companies wishing to take a deep dive into the various facets of their games can check their player conversations for more intel regarding product features, service aspects, and more.


  • Player feedback on the product and game features: design, narrative, characters

Player feedback usually includes a mix of positive and negative reactions. Poor user experience gives companies a chance to fix the product, although it's not always easy when it comes to areas that were fully planned in advance.


Gaming companies need to first realize what comments gain the most volume and whether fixing specific areas does not alter the initial intentions of its creators. Some release updates and new features to try and answer the most complained-about topics, but this is not a simple operation. Unique users and other players may like or not like the company's new additions, but they most probably appreciate the effort. Such appreciation may contribute to the company's retention rate too.


  • Player feedback on technical issues (how fast does a company fix bugs)

When players discover bugs, game lags, or other technical problems, they tend to report them. They either send direct emails to the company's website or to the customer service online address. On many occasions, they complain in specific gaming forums or review boards. Companies can track such complaints, locate the problem areas quickly and act to resolve and fix them immediately.


A daily active user has no time to waste, and if his complaint is not resolved fast, he may churn. While acquiring users can be difficult, and turning them into loyal users maybe even harder, companies must do their utmost to prevent them from churning. After all, there are many other attractive gaming options out there, and companies who wish to generate revenue do not want to risk losing any number of users to their competitors.


  • Player feedback on the company’s customer service

Players expect two things from gaming companies: A quick solution to a problem, be it technical or usability-related, but also a cordial and professional customer service attitude. Their feedback may address one or both of those expectations, and companies would be wise to handle whatever their players write about.


The advantages of relying on both types of data


Quantitative measures tell console, mobile game or PC gaming companies the "what happened". Qualitative data supplies the "why it happened". If companies only consider the "what", they will not be able to understand why they succeeded or failed.


The disadvantages of relying on just one data type


Companies missing out on their overall player feedback scenario could easily find out that they are losing their market position. If they rely on only one type of data, they will miss out on their entire gaming market situation. There are three disadvantages to relying on just one type of data, be it quantitative or qualitative.


  • Analyze the numbers but miss out on the meaning behind them

The total number of users or their spending average value is crucial to know, but if companies don't track and analyze their player opinions and complaints about any facets of the game, they will not recognize their product problems with players and may risk failure.

Seeing sales figures but not knowing what they mean, in terms of achieving a game's true potential or figuring out the average amount of time played or money spent, will prevent companies from understanding their numbers completely.


  • Miss out on issues that the numbers don’t show

The numbers don't show how players perceived the game's features, whether they encountered any technical issues with it or even what they thought about the characters and plot. Such data can be found in what they converse about all over the open web. Tracking and analyzing it in real-time may solve this issue.


  • Long term player satisfaction which does not show in the short-term numbers

A mobile game or a console's sales numbers do not tell if players are happy with their gaming or not. Only when they discuss their user experience and keep on commenting as they continue to play, and the company tracks and analyzes their conversations, can it truly learn what their satisfaction level from the game is.


As games strive for "player stickiness" and long-term engagements, companies that track and continue to analyze their player feedback are able to learn what the game's sentiment is but also find out how it contributes to their overall brand sentiment score and appreciation.



Comparing both types against a business’ competition

Another key factor for gaming companies to consider is to figure out what their competition is doing, on all levels. Sales, quality of games, design features, new technological inventions, character development, story and narrative ideas, sound and voiceover features, etc, are all on the table for companies to compare.


Gaming companies are able to measure their sales and games’ quality against their competitors based on what the competitors' players are saying about the competing games. By collecting millions of open web competition data points, companies can learn a lot about what their competition is doing, where it succeeds, and where it fails.


Since feedback bots and span can be filtered out, the remaining data gives a pretty good indication of how players perceive the competing games to those of the company.


Affogata delivers the best of both worlds


Analyzing both quantitative as well as qualitative data

Affogata delivers an AI-powered player voice analytics platform, combining both numbers data but also many key qualitative data points' analysis detailing what players think, want, and need. From overall brand sentiment score to ratings of games and game features, Affogata reports to gaming companies on their performance with players, resulting in actionable insights for a quick and accurate evaluation and decision-making.


Covering many different UX/UI data points

The gaming data analysis takes unstructured data, made up of millions of player feedback points all over the open web, and structures it into the true player voice. Complaints are categorized in order to measure their size in terms of the number of users who filed them. Such categorization enables companies to prioritize what problem areas to handle first.

In addition, when bugs stop players from continuing to play or slow down their efforts, and they have reported them online, companies can move quickly to fix them. Companies can also address players directly through the "all-in-one" platform, showing customers that they care and are there for them.


The platform also issues reports on a variety of elements and features, letting companies know what works best and what in their games requires improvements, all based upon what their customers say. And all that happens in real-time, with millions of feedback data points tracked and analyzed all the time. The AI-powered player feedback analysis enables companies to learn fast but also react quickly to what their players comment about.











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