With the abundance of jargon, abbreviations, and acronyms used in analytics and game development, we have put together an explanatory list of common terminology. Bookmark this page as a referral tool that you can come back to in the future.
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A/B Testing (or Multivariate Testing): A/B Testing is the process of comparing one variable against another to determine which one is more effective. It can be done with just two variables (A,B) or with multiple variables (A,B,C,D,E). A/B Testing is often used within free-to-play games to test, for example, in-game messaging. We have 5 top tips for A/B Testing on the deltaDNA blog.
Addressable Market Size: The potential number of players for a game.
Ad Unit: An advertising vehicle (e.g. a banner, a video ad or an interstitial ad).
Android: The mobile operating system developed by Google, designed primarily for touch-screen devices. Android also has specialist user interfaces for televisions (Android TV), cars (Android Auto) and wrist watches (Android Wear).
App Reviews: Players can review or rate your mobile game (alongside other apps) in the iOS App Store and in the Google Play Store. The more favorable reviews a game has had, the higher it is rated; star ratings can range from 0-5. This can influence new installs, with players choosing games that have higher ratings.
App Store: iOS users can purchase games and other apps in Apple?s online store.?There are millions of apps on The App Store available to be downloaded through iTunes onto an Apple device.
App Versions: Apps, including games, are often periodically updated to improve their functionality. This is served to the player through an update that they must download.
ARPU (Average Revenue Per User): This a metric used to measure how much a game is earning per player, usually on a monthly basis; in this case it is calculated by dividing the monthly Revenue by the number of Monthly Active Users.
ARPDAU (Average Revenue Per Daily Active User): This metric is used to calculate how much a game is earning per player on a daily basis. It is calculated by dividing the daily Revenue by the number of Daily Active Users.
ARPPU (Average Revenue Per Paying User): This metric is used in free-to-play or freemium games to calculate the average amount spent by paying users only. It is calculated by dividing the total Revenue by the number users that have paid.
Attribution: Attribution is the process by which user interactions are identified and measured. By using an attribution partner, marketers can get a better understanding of how certain events lead users to a desired outcome, referred to as a conversion.
Banner Messages: These are messages that appear briefly for a few seconds at the top of a player?s screen.
Benchmark: The process of comparing your game performance against others. DeltaDNA has a benchmark tool that can do this for your game.
Big data: Used to describe large, complex data sets that require advanced analytics technology to measure, store and interpret.
CAC (Customer/User Acquisition Cost): This metric is used to calculate how much has been spent on acquiring players. It is calculated by dividing ?the total amount invested in acquisition activities (e.g. advertising) by the number of new players acquired during the period of time the activities were running.
Casual Game: Games that are usually targeted towards a mass audience and often have rules and controls that are easy to follow. They can be in any genre, though typically gameplay can be short without much commitment required by the player.
Churn rate: Used to determine the rate that players are leaving the game, usually on a monthly basis. It is calculated by dividing the number of players loss during a monthly period by the number of players at the start of that period. E.g. 10 players loss during May, 100 players at the start of May = 10% churn rate.
CTR (Click-Through Rate): This metric is used to determine the level of interest in a piece of content, often an advert in the game. It is calculated by dividing the total number of views that the content has received by the number of clicks on the content.
Cohorts: A group of users that have completed a specific action within a specific time frame. Cohorts are different from segments because they use the added dimension of time. For example, one cohort could be users who downloaded your app in the month of June.
Conversion Rate: This metrics is used to calculate how well a game is monetizing. It is the percentage of non-paying players who become paying players by making in-app purchases.
CPC (Cost Per Click): This metric is used to determine the return on investment generated by an activity, e.g. placing an advert. It is calculated by dividing the total spend of the activity by the number of clicks generated.
CPI (Cost Per Install): This metric is used to calculate how much it has cost to get a player to the point of installing a game. The total cost of marketing activities up until the point of install is divided by the number of installs.
CPM (Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions): This metric is used to calculate the ?price that an advertiser pays for each 1000 views of an advert. It is calculated by dividing the total cost of the advertising activity by 1000.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management): The process of managing relationships with customers in order to improve key performance indicators. Read our blog post on why CRM?s not working.
Cross-Platform: A cross-platform game or app can be used across multiple operating systems, e.g. iOS and Android.
CTA (Call To Action):?A mechanism used in a game in instigate a player to take an action, e.g. ?buy more credit? or ?download latest version?. These messages are served as push notifications or in-game messages.
CPA (Cost Per Action/Acquisition): Cost Per Action is an advertising pricing model, where the advertiser pays for each specified action. For example, an action after an initial impression and click, like an install, form submit (e.g., contact request, newsletter sign up, registration etc.), double opt-in or in-app sale.
Dashboards: Visualization tools available within an analytics platform that are used to display data in a matter than can be more easily interpreted. The deltaDNA platform, for example, has 60+ visualisations available on customisable dashboards.
DAU (Daily Active Users): Used to measure how many users open your game daily.
Deep Data: The concept of deep data is concerned with using targeted analytics to collect, measure, and analyse a smaller number of more effective data streams, as opposed to collecting massive volumes of data. Deep data in games goes beyond surface data, or data for data?s sake, to look at actual player experiences. Game developers gain a deeper understanding of different players by leveraging the right data with the right deep data tools.
Difficulty curve: How the difficulty within the game changes as the game progresses. Analytics can be used to measure how the difficulty rises and falls throughout the game. If the game is too difficult or too easy, it be one of the major reasons players leave. The difficulty curve should be tailored to suit different player segments to improve retention.
Dimensions: Data that can be grouped to be used as a filter for comparison and analysis, e.g. mobile device model.
DSP: A platform that enables mobile advertisers to manage all ad exchange and data exchanges through a single interface.
Duration:?This metric is used to calculate the number of months the average player plays your game. To calculate duration, devide the number of months by churn.
eCPA (Effective Cost Per Action): An online advertising pricing model used to calculate the effectiveness of advertising to instigate a specific action that is not a click (CPC) or install (CPI).
Engagement rate: This metric is used to measure how often players interact with a game. Games with higher engagement rates generally find that more players are enjoying the game. It is calculated by dividing DAU by MAU.
Events: Can be any action that a player takes within the game, for example, making an in-app purchase or finishing a mission. Events are trackable on a game analytics platform. Some events all F2P games should be tracking.
Event Attributes: Event attributes provide more context around events. For example, the event ?level completed? could have attributes like ?level name? or ?length of level?.
FTUE (First Time User Experience): The initial experience that a player has within a game. This can include the on-boarding experience, e.g. the tutorial, and the configurations. Developers need to make sure players have a good FTUE to keep them in the game.
Funnels: Funnels are used to show how players are moving through events within a game. In analytics they are ?used to reveal, for example, how many players are leaving after each event. This can show where there are retention issues. The metrics and data are used to generate insights to inform design or business decisions.
Game Analytics: Game analytics are quantitative measures, metrics, and tools that can be used to track events within a game to capture data for statistical analysis. The aim of using a game analytics platform is to generate insights to inform design and/or business decisions in regard to the game. The information that can be measured, and subsequent actions that can be taken, depends on the capabilities of the platform.
Game Marketing: A functional role within a company, responsible for promoting games and other metrics including retention and monetization. Usually involves a wide range of activities that span acquiring and retaining players. Find out how the marketing role has changed on the deltaDNA blog.
Geotargeting: When players are targeted based on their current location. This can be done by country, state/region, or address. Often it is used to send targeted messaging to groups of players.
Google Play Store: The Google Play Store has over 1 million apps available to download and serves as the official store for the Android platform.
Grinders: The term used to describe a segment of players who continually return to play a F2P game without making an in-app purchase. A grinder would rather wait for a item or access to part of the game that spend money to obtain it more quickly.
IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers (also IFA)): Is a method of gathering anonymous user data within apps that enables tracking for advertising purposes. This is found in apps using iOS 6 or later. Allowable uses of IDFA include:
- to serve advertisements within an app,
- to attribute installs to a previously served ad,
- to attribute a post-install action such as X number of launches, a subscription, or an in-app purchase.
Impression: When an ad is displayed, it counts as an impression to a viewer.
In-App Messaging:?Messages that are displayed to users while they are using your game or app, also referred to as native content. Often these are triggered by player actions within the game and/or are used to assist players or improve conversion. In-app messages differ from push notifications, which are messages delivered while the user is using a different app or game. Read our 10 tips for effective messaging.
In-App Purchases (IAP): Purchases that are made by users within your app, such as currency to use in the game purchased with real money, services, and upgrades. If you?re developing an IAP pricing strategy, read our post about whether IAP bundle discounts work or not.
Infection Rate:?The rate by which players are sharing your game with other players. A high rate can signify that your game is being well-received.
Interstitial Ad: A mobile ad unit that appears between two views within a mobile website or mobile app. ?Interstitial? derives from ?interstice? which means ?a small space between things, especially when part of a series of uniform spaces and parts? (think of a picket fence, which has interstitial spaces between slats). This is commonly a static ad, but can also have a video window within it.
iOS: The Apple operating system for it?s own-branded mobile devices, i.e. iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch hardware.
Jailbreaking: The process of removing limitations or restrictions that have been placed on the hardware by the carrier to prevent users from changing settings.
K Factor: Used to measure the rate by which the game is growing through viral activity online. It is calculated by multiplying the Infection Rate by the Conversion Rate.
Lock Screen Messages: Messages that are show on the screen of a mobile device while it is ?locked?; when the device is locked it is in sleep mode. A password can be setup by the user to be requested to unlock the device before an action can be made.
LTV (Lifetime Value): Used to calculate the value of a player (usually a measure of monetization) over their lifetime within the game. There are number of ways to calculate LTV. We?ve written about 3 of these in our blog article, F2P data analytics: 3 ways to calculate LTV & when to use them.
MAU (Monthly Active Users): Used to calculate the number of players that are playing a game over the period of a month. It is used to determine how well a game is performing. To calculate MAU, you need to determine the parameters for classifying a player as an active user.
mCommerce: Used to refer to mobile commerce. Most frequently refers to retail apps, as opposed to gaming apps.
Mediation: A platform that allows publishers to strategically fill ads by using multiple ad networks in a programmed system. They can also use mediation to sell unsold and remnant inventory.
Monetization: The process of making money from a game. Often this term is used to refer to strategies to increase profits, or use as a key performance indicator metric. Read 7 deadly insights for game monetization to learn how to improve this vital KPI in your game.
Multi-Channel Marketing: When a number of channels are used in a marketing campaign to reach the same players.
Multivariate Testing: Involves modifying multiple variables and testing them to see which work best together. This differs from A/B Testing, as you are testing a collection of variables as opposed to just one whole variable. It is often used to test elements within a web page, for example.
Native Ads: These refer to ads that are designed to fit within an app user experience and feel like part of the app itself. These can be video or interstitial ads, but they share a common theme in that they are as unobtrusive as possible. Common formats include scrolling feed ads such as one would see on Twitter or Facebook.
Opt-Out: The process by which a player may choose to no longer receive communications via push notifications. Players may choose to opt-out if they feel that they are receiving too many notifications or that notifications are negatively affecting their experience.
Personalization: The process of tailoring the player?s experience within the game to suit their individual playing style. This be done by segmenting the players based on their behavior in the game, and then by sending messages or augmenting the experience, e.g. the difficulty curve, using game personalization tools.
Platform: Mobile devices use different operating systems to access a gaming app. This is referred to as a the platform. Games are often tailored to work across more than one platform.
PRM (Player Relationship Management): The process of managing relationships with players ?in order to improve key performance indicators. Read our blog post about why you need to be adopting PRM.
Push Notifications: Messages that have been forwarded from third parties to players on their home or lock screen while they are not playing the game. Read 10 tips for effective messaging.
Remnant Inventory: This is advertising space that a publisher or network has left over; it is typically sold at a discount through mediation or offered for promotional purposes.
Retention Rate: The % of players who have downloaded and played the game, then returned to play it again within a certain time period. This is often measured in daily units, e.g. Day 1 Retention, which is the % of players who return the following day to play the game. It?s important to analyse Retention in order to understand why players leave. Download our free guide, 5 golden rules for player retention.
Rewarded Video Ad: A video ad where the user can watch an ad and then receive a reward for completing the ad view.
Rich Media: A range of interactive and engaging ad formats, including expandable banners, embedded audio and video, all with linkable content. These tend to be more engaging and have higher click rates, but are bandwidth heavy.
RTB: (Real-Time Bidding Engine (or exchange))
This is software that conducts a real-time auction of available mobile ad impressions by receiving bids from multiple demand sources within a set time interval (typically 100ms) and then delivering the ad to the winning bidder.
SDK (A Software Developer Kit): A set of software developer tools to help with building and optimizing a game, e.g. with analytics or marketing. A third party SDK can be integrated with the game.
Segments: Users that have been grouped together based on their shared behavior within the game.
Sessions: Used to count the number of times a player plays the game; each occurrence counts as one session.
Session Interval: Used to count the length of time between two player sessions, so that you can measure how often the player is returning to play.
Session Length: Used to measure the length of time a player plays a game within one session, usually from when they open the game to closing it.
SSP (Supply Side Provider): A platform that enables mobile publishers and operators to manage and sell their advertising inventory through one single interface.
Stickiness: Used to measure overall engagement rate within a game. It can be measured by dividing Daily Active Users by Monthly Active Users (DAU/MAU) to give a percentage.
Time in App/Game: The session length within a game over a specific time period, e.g. a week, day, or month.
Unlocked mobile phone: A phone that can be used with any carrier or cellular service.
User Behavior: Used to describe the way players are interacting with a game.
UX (User Experience): The overall experience that a player has in a game. Aspects of UX can include design and technical functionality.
Virality: The rate by which players are tell others about a game socially, usually on social media channels. High virality can indicate that a game is well received by an audience.
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