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How to Analyze and Improve Your Game Using Various Metrics

by Dr. Michael Garbade on 05/16/18 05:04:00 pm

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

 

 

Usually, after developers have created their games and deployed them to the app store, they forget about everything else and sit and wait for people to start downloading.

Though the number of downloads your gaming app receives is relevant, it is not a surefire measure of success or failure.

If you spend the time to scrutinize your app’s analytics, you can discover a wealth of information, including useful tips on how to enhance your game and its monetization.

Two of the commonly-used analytical tools are Google Mobile Analytics and Apple’s Analytics Platform. You can also use third-party tools for analyzing your game’s metrics.

With these powerful tools, you can uncover important insights that can assist you to attain your desired game development goals.

Importantly, discovering critical insights starts with knowing how to build a good game. If you develop a bad game, you may not have sufficient metrics to measure.

For example, you can learn from Thefoothing, who is an experienced senior software engineer from the U.K., on how to build an elegant gun shooting game.

Here are the four broad categories of metrics you should examine in your game.

  • Performance metrics

  • User metrics

  • Engagement metrics

  • Business metrics.

Let’s dig deeper into each of them.

1. Performance metrics

This is the most important metrics you should analyze. The performance metrics will tell you the experience of users while using your gaming app. Therefore, if they are not optimized, achieving your goals as a game developer may be a pipedream.

Here are some key performance metrics to keep an eye on:

  • Game crashes: The crash rate of the mobile game should be as minimal as possible; the typical rate is 1-2%.

  • API latency: The round-trip time from sending a request to an API service to getting a response should be optimized to around 1 second.

  • Network errors: Any network errors can result in errors or slow loading times.

  • Game load time: Ensure your game app loads as fast as possible—from the time a user clicks on its icon to the time it’s ready to be played.

  • Real-time tracking: How are users moving inside your gaming app in real-time? What are the most common screens they use? Where are your users coming from?

With these performance metrics, you can enhance your game’s retention rate. For example, you’ll understand how your game operates on every carrier’s network, how loading time differs with operating systems, and how performance differs in different regions.

If you discover that your mobile game is performing dismally in some places because of poor network connectivity, you can solve this issue by developing an offline-mode game or preloading data to maximize its availability to users.

2. User metrics

Analyzing user, usage, and demographics metrics will assist you to know the characteristics of your game users and how to improve their experience.

Here are some main user data to analyze.

  • Daily Active Users/Monthly Active Users: This analytics will assist you to track the number of users actively playing your game on a daily or monthly basis. If you notice any discrepancies, such as the number of monthly users is decreasing, then you should take quick action.

  • Operating system and devices metrics: Knowledge of the type of operating system used by your main users as well as their devices will assist you to concentrate your efforts where most of them are.

  • Demographics: Is your game played more by male users or female users? Is your game loved by young, middle-aged, or old gamers?

3. Engagement metrics

With these metrics, you’ll know whether users are finding your game engaging—which will allow you to make adjustments, if necessary.

For example, if you have a car-chasing game with 20 levels and you notice that 80% of the users exit the game at the level of 12, then you need to increase the game’s engagement by adjusting the level of difficulty.

Here are some important engagement metrics to measure.

  • Session length: How much time do users take playing your game? If your game is interesting and engaging, users will spend more time playing it.

  • Retention rate: Do users come back and play the game again and again? Or, are they uninstalling the game? To answer such questions, you should measure the retention rate yourself.  

  • Referral rate: Do users like the game and inform their friends about it?

4. Business metrics

If you intend to make money using your game, then you should use the business metrics to track whether your pursuit is profitable.

Here some data to track.

  • Acquisition cost: The channels that users can know about the existence of your game are many—from organic search to paid advertisements. If you know where users come from and the extent of their engagement with your game, you can increase the efforts in acquiring them through the most valuable channel.

  • Abandonment rate: If your game supports in-app purchases, having a high rate of abandoned transactions could point to some anomalies. For example, the game could be crashing or loading slowly, or it may not be meeting the user’s expectations.

  • Lifetime value (LTV): This metric measures the total revenue earned from a user before stopping to use your game. It assists in knowing the amount of revenues users generate and also forecasting the potential profitability of the game in the future. To measure LTV, you can do the calculation yourself since the inherent in-app analytical tools may not be accurate.

Conclusion

The success of any game relies on the ability of the developer to analyze its various metrics and optimize its operations.

If you can use the in-app analytics tools and other third-party resources to get insights on how to improve the growth of your game, then you can transform it into a behemoth.

Importantly, you should not forget to analyze the mother of all metrics: the game’s star rating in the app store.

This rating is a public testament to the usefulness of your game; therefore, you should endeavor to make it high.

Therefore, you need to learn how to create interesting games that will make users provide positive feedback and high scores in the app stores.


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