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May 22, 2019
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What Hours and Days Do Mobile Gamers Pay?

by Gur Dotan on 10/16/15 04:04:00 pm   Featured Blogs

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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.

 
This report was originally published by Ella Gati from the SOOMLA data science team.

 

Getting your users to pay in your game is never easy. Of course you need to have a great game with good graphics and great design, but you also need to know how and when to target your payers. Studios who’ve attracted spending users into their game are focusing substantial effort in these user segments to optimize retention and consequently revenue. A valuable strategy of increasing in-app purchases is to target potential spenders when they are most likely to spend.  But what hours of the day and day of the week are the strongest?

Methodology

Analyzing data of 250 games from 17 different genres, spanning 188 countries  over a time period of one year, we are able to identify unique insights. The sample contains over 1M purchases from ~240K different users.  Here are the main findings:

Prefer the Evenings

People play mobile games at any hour of the day, with their morning coffee, while waiting in line, on the bus, in front of the TV and even while walking down the street (dangerous!), but when are they likely to pull out their wallet?

Looking into data from many different games, most in-app purchases happen between 3pm and midnight, with peaks at 4pm and 8-9pm. The ride back home from work or the after-dinner play time is probably when people play long sessions and reach points where they are willing to pay.

Distribution Through Countries

Looking more closely at the US and Russia, we found a clear trend with sales rising from 4am onwards and dropping again at late night. While 4am is consistently a low point across countries, in the US sales peak at 8pm and then start dropping, while users from Russia tend to buy more at 9-10 pm.

In other countries the trend is not that prominent. Sales go up during the day, but much more slowly. Interesting to note, in Great Britain the peak hour for in-app purchases is actually 4pm, followed by 5-6pm, with a decrease in sales thereafter.

Slicing the Day into Quarters

To simplify, we divided the day into four quarters. The following plot shows the number of users and the number of corresponding purchases in each quarter. As expected the 3rd (12-6pm) and 4th (6-12pm) quarters are the highest.

Now, let’s take a look at how users behave with respect to the quarters of the day. We asked ourselves: Do mobile payers always pay in the same quarter or is it distributed over the day?

The results are conclusive. Over half of all users who paid more than once always pay in the same quarter of the day!

Number of quarters a user payed in

Percentage of paying users

1

53.7%

2

35.7%

3

9%

4

1.6%


Similar patterns are observed when looking at the day of the week. As to be expected, users play and pay more on the weekends, with Saturday being the peak.

Number of Purchases:Week Day

It is also the case that 81.6% of all paying users and 53% of all payers who paid more than once always pay on the same day.

Implications for Mobile Marketers

These results uncover ground truth about the times of the day and the days of the week which are "golden mobile moments" - those periods of time where highly engaged gamers are more likely to play and pay. This means that these times are when they'll be most receptive for in-game messages and offers. On top of that mobile marketers should try these practices:

  • Building day-hour segments of payers.  Since paying users always pay in the same hour of the day over and over again, why not target them in their preferred time?
  • Discount campaigns and events scheduled for evenings and weekends since that's when players are most like to pay.  This is especially applicable for games that incorporate extensive virtual economy and IAP features.

By combining analytics, in-game promotions, adaptive gameplay and push notification platforms, you can target users in the right place at the right time.  Having prior knowledge about which users are likely to pay can help you build the most valuable user segments to target.  SOOMLA's gaming data platform help developers spot these VIP users based on their behavior in other games.


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