In Case studies, Games Analytics

Thumbspire is a global game publisher that works with and supports mobile game developers across the world, to maximize their game’s player engagement potential. Based in New York City, it identifies the best way to generate revenue from the game and ensures it finds the widest popular audience, using data driven analysis.

Thumbspire chose deltaDNA to be its analytics provider, to improve monetization, on-boarding and retention, and optimize ad frequency without loss of engagement. Thumbspire was impressed with both the functionality and the level of support offered. DeltaDNA provides extensive help with the set-up, and provides direct one-on-one access to its top analysts and game design experts.


First time user experience

The first objective for Thumbspire, during the soft launch of puzzle platformer game, Song of Pan, was optimizing on-boarding and retention. In the game, players take on the role of a young satyr, who must recover a flock of sheep belonging to Zeus, using strategy to solve complex puzzles. Day 1 Retention was at only 15%— so they knew they had to focus on the beginning of the game. They concentrated on first time user experience using funnels for the on-boarding and the first seven levels. Using deltaDNA’s deep data analytics platform, they found that they were losing 20% of players during the tutorial, and losing around 50% after level 7. From these findings, they decided to change the tutorial visual directions, to make it easier for users to understand how to move the character, and reduced the choices in the menu navigation to minimize confusion. By implementing these measures, the effect on player engagement was Day 1 (D1) Retention increased by 66% (from 15% to 25%) and continues to improve with further iterations.


For puzzle action game, Mind the Arrow, Thumbspire’s key focus was improving monetization through ad frequency optimization – by setting dynamic parameters on frequency and cool down – to look into user’s player engagement behaviour, and the impact of the ads on engagement and In-App Purchase (IAP) monetization. Originally the frequency of the ad was every 10 events, with a cool down period of 60 seconds. This was then reduced to every five events with a cool down period of 40 seconds. Ramping up the frequency slightly, increased conversion and retention. This led to an increase in ad revenue, without impacting on engagement.

Dynamic messaging

Monetization was optimized by up-selling and using dynamic messaging and flash sales. When the game was live, data analytics was used to target different users with messages. For instance, in Level 7 where there was a high churn rate, they used dynamic messaging to offer a bundle, which improved the sale of that specific item by 39%. This offer was triggered for users who had a low currency balance, and who had never purchased anything before (termed a Grinder – a player who makes slow progress only using free resources and daily play bonuses). 50% off purchases was offered for one session, only to this specific segment, which led to an increase of 23% on cash sales, and more importantly to an increase of first time spenders.

Acquisition optimization

Thumbspire used Appsflyer for attribution, which was then analyzed with deltaDNA. Player engagement, monetization and Lifetime Value (LTV) were all examined. For instance, it was found that users acquired through optimized marketing channels showed a D1 Retention of 70% versus an average of 65% and that they were twice as likely to make an IAP as the average user, leading to an overall LTV for these users that was double the average across all acquisition channels.

Stefano Melucci, VP of Product at Thumbspire, explains that: “It’s important to identify, on a daily basis, how to acquire users in a way that is profitable, and then to continue tracking them to find opportunities to grow them in a profitable way. Make sure the metrics are where you want, and that you have effectively implemented tools in place for analytics and dynamic engagement. Tweak your game to target engagement metrics and measure your game monetization potential by projecting a baseline of LTV.”

After the launches, Thumbspire continued to improve IAP monetization with product iterations and live ops, continuing to measure and project LTV, focusing on specific cohorts of users (top value users), and identified opportunities for UA and push to maximize organic return.

Stefano says: “Only by understanding how players interact with your game and making changes based on analytics findings, can you ensure better player engagement and monetization.”

Mark Robinson, CEO of deltaDNA responded: “Thumbspire are smart guys and have a number of great games. It’s awesome to see how they are using the deltaDNA platform to increase engagement and monetization using intelligent insights and personalization. By understanding the player engagement journey from acquisition to monetization and actively managing the experience via real-time interventions, they are ensuring their games reach their maximum potential. This is truly what the deltaDNA platform is all about.

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