As the marketplace becomes more and more crowded with easily disposable free-to-play games, putting your finger to the wind and hoping for the best just won’t cut it. You probably know you should be using game analytics tools to improve retention, engagement and, ultimately, monetization. But what do these tools do exactly and how do you decide which platform best suits your needs?
Determining the answers to these questions can seem a tedious task, so it’s often tempting to avoid using game analytics tools all together.
To help ease your decision-making process, Games Industry website Gamesauce carried out an independent analysis and comparison of the essential mobile game analytics tools available across a number of leading platforms. Discover the key features of these tools below (as categorized by GameSauce), and find out what they do and why you need to be using them. In conclusion we reveal the score given by GameSauce for each of these tools to the leading game analytics platforms.
Game Analytics Tools Explained
Each of the tools listed below feature on the leading game analytics platforms and have been included in an independent comparison by Gamesauce.
Segmentation Tools / Segmenting Users
Segmentation tools are used to identify shared player behavioral traits and help you to then categorize your players by these traits. It’s incredibly important not to lump all of your players together and presume that they will experience your game in the same way. They won’t. Some will find the game more difficult than others, or they will prefer different aspects of the game play.
Get to know your players and segment them with game analytics tools
Why segment? If you know your player segments you should be able to find out how best to please them. Your next step is adapting your game to keep the most valuable segments entertained, ultimately turning your players into payers.
Custom KPIs and Events
KPIs are your ‘key performance indicators’. They’re the metrics that you will use to define whether your game is meeting your objectives. Expect to find commonly used industry KPIs, such as Lifetime Value (LTV), on most platforms.
‘Events’ track specific actions that your players need to complete in order to meet a KPI, as well as telling you how your players are interacting with your game. For example, an event could be meeting an enemy, and the performance indicator would be killing that enemy.
Why custom? You need to be able to define you own KPIs and events in order to ensure you are properly measuring your game on your own parameters. As each game is different, your KPIs and events can vary on a game-to-game basis.
Data mining is the process of analyzing large datasets to find useful information. In game analytics, data mining is used to build a picture of your players, and it allows you to understand what makes them tick. You need to consider who will be using the information generated; is it useful to a game designer or is it only understandable by a statistician? Accuracy of the data gathered is a key consideration if you want to use it to make changes to your game.
Analyze large datasets with data mining tools to find useful information
Why use data mining? You’ve spent a lot of time making your mobile game so now you need to understand what works and what doesn’t. Data mining gives you the opportunity to get into the detail of your players behavior and really understand how they are playing your game.
User Attribution Tools
User attribution tools should show you the channels or campaigns that are bringing in players to your game and the volume of players from each. To really maximize your marketing budget, analyzing attribution channels can reveal which channels or campaigns are delivering the most valuable players. The most powerful versions of these tools will not simply show you what has happened but also predict what will happen; how much will a group of players spend, when will they leave?
Why do user attribution tools matter? You won’t make much money from your game if you can’t find the right people to play it.
There are many platforms out there for analyzing and marketing mobile apps, and not all of them are focused on games. Games are different from other mobile Apps, they are not a linear experience. Most analytics solutions have been built to optimize the e-commerce experience, which is very different from trying to make a game engaging. This is a factor to consider when choosing the right analytics platform for your game.
Why does game focus matter? If given the choice, would you rather use something tailored or made with a one-size-fits-all approach?
Engagement tools allow you to adapt your game by altering the game play to suit the style of different player segments. The aim here is to make your game more enjoyable so that your players return, play for longer and are happy to make in-game purchases. If you have really got to know your players (using the correct tools), you can take some simple steps to augment your game to suit their player style. The various analytics platforms available offer different levels of engagement tools, from none at all to advanced, real-time targeting tools.
Why engage your players? Data gathered by deltaDNA has shown that when real-time engagement tools are used effectively they can increase revenues by 30%. Check out this Playspace Case Study for a more detailed look at how these tools have been used and the effect on engagement, returning players and spending.
Do you need some help in making decisions about how to augment your game? Perhaps more players would’ve finished a level if you’d offered them a potion instead of a sword, or you need to see whether a gift that improves progress adversely affects Lifetime Value (LTV). A/B testing lets you to make informed decisions, allowing you to test changes and pick the version that statistically works best.
Why use A/B Testing? Optimizing your game to its full potential will mean that you are maximizing your income (and all your hard work developing it in the first place hasn’t gone to waste).
The various platforms available on the market place offer an array of tools as well as different pricing for various licensing options. Consider what it is you would like to do, and subsequently which tools you need, to help you determine which platform is right for you.
Why is pricing important? Let’s be honest, it’s important that the costs associated with marketing and Analytics scale with the success of the game. As you’ve probably now realized, you can’t afford not to be analyzing your game. The good news is that most platforms have some basic tools available for free, so even if you are an Indie developer with a small budget, you should be able to get started with analytics tools. Find out which platform suits you best and consider upgrading to paid tools as your game grows.
An Independent Platform Comparison
Gamesauce looked at the tools above when conducting an independent comparison of the top game analytics platforms available to developers, publishers and statisticians. It classified each tool as either not offered, offered, an excellent offering or a paid offering in the category of Behavioral Analytics. See the findings in the table below.
The full article by Gamesauce features this comparison table in the category of Behavioral Analytics. Engagement & Retention Tools and Monetization Tools also compared in the article.
Find out more about the deltaDNA platform and discover why it came out on top.