Starting a new business is always challenging, but it's getting even harder when you're a developing a game and have to launch your game startup at the same time. You have to think about all the key performance indicators, or KPIs, that are applicable to every business. Also, you need to take care of the specific metrics for your game. And even among your game KPIs there are still numbers that not everyone tracks (and therefore fails).
Most of the time a new game startup monitor traditional KPIs like DAU, or Daily Active Users, MAU, or Monthly Active Users, WAU, or Weekly Active Users, ARPU, or Average Revenue Per User, ARPPU, or Average Revenue Per Paying User, and other complicated abbreviations.
Now let’s talk about those KPIs that are absolutely necessary for an in-depth understanding of your game. We can divide them into 4 main categories: user acquisition, retention, monetization, and social KPIs.
User Acquisition KPIs
The basic KPIs to monitor the user acquisition are: New Users, Total Users, CPI , or Cost Per Install, and ROI, or Return On Investment.
In addition to those basic metrics, it's also necessary to evaluate all third-party costs which your may have, such as integration costs, partner’s fees and all the other costs that led your customer to find and install your app:
eCPI, Effective Cost Per Install. It's basically a regular CPI that includes third party costs.
eROI, Effective Return On Investment, which is a basic ROI that is calculated with the eCPI in it.
The basic retention KPIs are: day 1, day 7, day 28, or day 60 retention to measure the returning users to the game, and/or rolling retention to track customers that logged in on the 7th day or later.
It is also recommended to measure:
FTUE, or First Time User Experience, which measures the retention of the first session,
Tutorial Retention, which can be divided into the smallest steps to show you all the bottlenecks,
28/1-retention, which is a 28-day retention divided by a day-1 retention. It helps to understand how many users from those that remain active after the 1st day, will remain active after 28 days.
Most of the companies track active users, but forget about the ‘sleeping’ ones, on dormant users. Dormant users are those players who can still become active, and depending on the kind of game, this period can be stretched from one week to 6 months. They can still log in, and the less time they stay inactive, the more chances they’ll ever use your app.
By the way, you can wake them up by sending push-notifications, deep-linking, relevant updates, various assignments and/or tournaments. Daily quests, gifts for returning users, customized difficulty of the levels may also help your users not to become dormant.
Engagement KPIs measure the size of your game startup app. Among the traditional KPIs to track engagement are: DAU, WAU, MAU, Users Online, Average Length of the Session, and Lifetime Value, or LTV.
For the non-traditional metrics we still use those that were mentioned above, but apply a twist to see more detailed data and understand players better.
Sticky Factor is a number that is calculated by dividing DAU by MAU.
Sticky Factor shows how regularly your users launch an app over the month. It’s clear that the more often they log in, the higher your Sticky Factor would be. For example, if every user logs into the game every day for a month, then your DAU will be equal to WAU, and both of them will be equal to MAU. It means that the Sticky Factor will be 100%. Usually, the average value is around 18%.
Sessions/DAU is a value that shows the regularity of logins per day.
The average value depends on the type of game because of the different length of sessions. Usually, 3 sessions per user per day is a good average value; for RPGs - 2 sessions are a norm, and for casual games - 4-5 sessions are most typical.
Average Playing Time Per Day tells you how much time the user is playing per day, It allows to determine user’s interest in a game.
Frequency by Day is a frequency of user’s logins, which usually decreases over the time. Tracking this KPI will help you predict when your user is going to leave your game.
Usually, the most common monetization KPIs are measured by the total income numbers: Gross, Revenue, and by the averages: ARPU, ARPPU, and Average Check.
In addition to that, the number of paying users is measured by the following metrics: Paying Users, Paying Share, and Paying Conversion.
It’s also useful to track the next metrics to get more in-depth data on your users.
New Paying Users will show you how many users out of those who made payments today made a payment for the first time.
On average, probability of the second payment is around 70-90%, and of the third and following payments is even higher. Therefore, the most important thing is to get user to make his first payment, and then it will be easier. And New Paying Users will help you understand how many users convert into paying users over the period of time.
First Time Paying User Experience, or FTPUE helps to understand what motivates users to convert from being non-paying customer to paying, how much time this conversion takes, which game events trigger that action, and how much game currency he had at that moment.
First-Selling Items track what players bought when they made their first payment. You’ll be able to recreate this experience in various promos and consider it when making decisions on monetization.
Conversion of the In-Game Store is the number of purchases made divided by the number of store openings. Usually, you need to integrate a custom event for the store. This KPI shows if you need to optimize the store: to arrange items in a different order, change prices, or simply rewrite descriptions and create more appealing icons.
In general, you have to build a smart game economy for your game.
If users like the game, or any other product, they share information about it and you receive their feedback via free organic traffic.
Invites Sent tracks the average number of invitations that were sent by a player.
To check this number you may either generate a unique reference and count them, or simply embed an appropriate custom event.
K-factor shows an impact of social factors and average number of friends invited by one active user.
For web projects, it’s usually calculated as Invites Sent multiplied by the conversion from invitation to registration. For mobile projects, it’s more difficult to estimate the number of users who saw the invitation (as it’s not generated as a unique reference but as a post on social network), so you can use the following formula:
K-factor = (New users from the Organic Channel) / (DAU - New users)
Social Lifetime Value, or Social LTV shows you how much money one player brings along with those who he invited into the game.
Net Promoter Score, or NSP measures customer loyalty. To calculate it, you need to create a survey among your users and ask them to estimate how probable that they will share your game with their friends on a scale from 0 to 10.
As a conclusion, you have tons of metrics to keep an eye on when launching your game startup. Besides the traditional numbers that will allow you to have a basic understanding of how you game is performing, there are 21 other great KPIs that you need to track to get a deeper understanding on your users' behavior and overall success of your business.