Face it. Most of us need to make money. This applies to Game Developers and Publishers too, even if the game is free.
In the realm of free-to-play, players will only spend money on your game if they like playing it. This can be good news for the players; the focus has to be on the quality of the game play and not just on the buzz preceding it. Dwindling are the days of players spending a big wad of cash on a game, only to discover that playing it is akin to picking up a packet of spilled rice off the kitchen floor with your toes (difficult, tiresome, not particularly interesting or fun).
With the try-before-you-buy approach of F2P, comes increased pressure to make sure the game is good enough to keep players engaged for longer. To do this, you need to adapt your game to entertain segments of players with different needs. If you want to earn a living from making and publishing F2P games, you simply can’t afford adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to your players.
So, you need data (and preferably, lots of it). Follow the process of measuring your game performance, analyzing your player behavior and engaging with your players, to make your game as good as it can be. This is the holy grail of game monetization. This is how you turn players into payers.
Game monetization: the 7 player insights you need to know
Alongside gathering your own data, use these killer insights into player behavior to begin improving and monetizing your game, generated from data held on the deltaDNA games analytics platform:
1. Players that pay later, pay more
The longer a player waits to pay, the more they will pay over their entire engagement with the game. The lifetime Value (LTV) of a player is the primary measure to consider in this instance. The key is patience. Pushing too hard, too early for payment can be detrimental to game monetization. Practice your inner sloth and wait it out.
2. Players leave on a Sunday
Sunday: the worst day for many to try to do anything substantial (other than perhaps brunch), is also, as it turns out, the worst day for retention in the world of F2P. While overall day 1 retention is 26%, on a Sunday it drops to 24%, while Wednesdays and Fridays have a day 1 retention of 28%. See Sunday as a day of rest for Game Devs and players alike.
3. A one-off payment is not enough
Roughly half of players (52%) who ever pay in a game only pay once, and they have a much lower average spend ($8) than their counterparts.
Not only that! On average, 18% of players pay twice, 30% pay three times or more and the total average spend per paying player is $21.
Phew. So, what does this mean? Well, one-time payers are by far the least lucrative. Focusing too much on a one-off payment, or forcing players to make early paying decisions, can be detrimental to the total revenue you can achieve and LTV. You gotta keep your players playin’, if ya want ’em to be pay’in. They’ve got to like the game.
4. Night-time players come back
It turns out that Day 1 retention is better for players installing games in the evening than at midday: the retention rate for players installing at midday is 22%, while for those installing at 9.00pm, it’s 28%. The overall mean day 1 retention is 26%.
Perhaps it’s time to think about your player segmentation and what other common behaviors they share.
5. Night-time players pay more
Players who join after 9.00pm are 27% more likely to come back the next day, compared with someone who downloads the game at lunch-time. Night-time players are also more likely to make an in-app purchase, with an 18% difference between those who play after 8.00pm compared to those that play from midday to 1.00pm.
Data analysis shows night-time sessions result in more transactions
It seems these creatures of the night are also big spenders.
6. Social media acquisition is ineffective
The dream of free acquisition, with players spending hard to beat their friends through social media, is, alas, very hard to attain.
Only 22% of players will connect to a social network and only 4% will ever invite a friend. Sorry Facebook.
Although hard, it is not impossible, however. It’s a case of not trying too hard, too soon. While only 3% of players on day 0 will invite a friend, 8% of players who connect after day 3 will invite their friends.
7. PC users convert best to payers
PC users have the best conversion rate, android the worst. The overall conversion rate for PC games is 3.4%, while for IOS it’s 2.3%. Android users convert to payers 1.1% of the time.
No, we’re not suggesting you only make games for the PC now.
Adapt your game using these insights and you could not only see higher player retention and engagement but an impressive increase in game monetization. It’s a no-brainer, right? Making some small changes to your game in response to this data is a start, but if you really want to optimize your game to its full potential then why not go one step further: it’s time to really get to know your players.
Using a specialist, integrated games analytics platform, like deltaDNA, developed specifically for games, allows you to understand your unique set of players and augment their gaming experience in real-time. deltaDNA is the most accurate free data platform available for games and has been independently top-rated by Gamesauce. Using the platform has been proven to increase engagement by 50% and revenues by 30%. You can get started with a free platform trial.
If you liked this article, you may also be interested in reading Why Day 7 Retention is just as Important as Day 1.