It might not have crossed your mind before, but players spend money in games at different times of the day.
“So what”, you’re thinking?
Well, if you are trying to improve a F2P game in order to monetize it, this is the information you need to know.
There’s a clear statistical correlation between clock hour and in-game spending. To demonstrate this, we analyzed the playing and spending times of a sample of over 4 million players on the deltaDNA system, and across a wide variety of game types.
The chart below shows the distribution of all session times, compared to the distribution of all real money transactions. Let’s take a look at what it’s telling us.
Player activity peaks early evening
The first thing we can see is that players are much more likely to be active between the hours of 10.00am to 10.00pm. This makes perfect sense, as many people are likely to be asleep outside of these times. The peak activity occurs between 5.00pm to 6.00pm, in the after work/school period but before dinner/bed.
Players spend more at night
Transactions follow a similar pattern, although there is a clear deficit between 11.00am to 6.00pm and an excess from 8.00pm to 4.00am. We can see this more clearly if we measure the typical fraction of transactions per session vs. clock hour.
The overall rate of sessions with a transaction is 0.68%. During the daytime hours, from 5.00am to 8.00pm, we see the rate is well below this, dropping to as low as 0.65% at midday. After 8.00pm the rate rockets up to nearly 0.8%, a 23% increase over the midday low.
So why know these player metrics?
At deltaDNA we concentrate a lot on what we call ‘Player Relationship Management’ (PRM), i.e. how we can customize the playing experience to boost player enjoyment and game revenue. This means identifying player behaviors and understanding how they correlate with key milestones, like returning for a second session, playing for more than a week or completing an in-app purchase (IAP). While often these are complicated, game-specific behaviors (i.e. complete Mission 3 in less than 5 moves), there are some simple player metrics that correlate with important game milestones across all games. An important example of this is the time of day players play.
Understanding broad trends like this is essential when developing effective PRM. While more specific player behaviors, such as competence or aggression, are key to customizing a single player’s experience, knowing the right time to place an offer in front of someone (i.e. not lunchtime) will boost the overall effectiveness of your player interventions.
If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in reading Twin Peaks: The January Spike in F2P Games.