Blog The gaming apps’ guide to mobile measure...

The gaming apps’ guide to mobile measurement analytics

In 2022, smartphone games have snatched up 45% of video gaming revenue worldwide, and by 2025, the mobile gaming industry will reach US$138 billion. The high penetration of smartphones and rapid adoption of mobile gaming across the globe continues to spur the industry to new heights.

App developers and marketers looking for success in mobile gaming must track performance to ensure their app stands out from competitors. In this guide, we’ll review four major areas marketers should measure, the most popular metrics for mobile games, and useful examples of gaming apps generating success via mobile analytics.

What should I measure for my gaming app?

While selecting which analytics to monitor for your mobile app can seem overwhelming, if you first establish your goals, you can more easily determine the metrics you’d like to employ. Although several metrics will depend on which type of gaming app you’re marketing, we’ve curated a brief overview of four essential focus areas for mobile measurement that apply to all gaming apps.

Focus 1: User acquisition

To monetize your app, you must first grow its user base, which requires strategic planning. The goal isn’t simply to acquire random users, but to acquire engaged, high-value users. Therefore, where and how you obtain new users matters. In the beginning, you may try out multiple channels — social media, rewarded video ads, CTV, etc.- to find high-value users. It’s essential to understand where these higher-value users are coming from, to know which ads work best for them, and to uncover which campaigns are most successful to optimize accordingly.

With mobile gaming leveling up in EMEA and seeing continued growth in APAC,, you may find it valuable to target other regions to expand your user base. However, you will still need to utilize mobile analytics to discover what works best in each target market.

You can partner with a mobile analytics platform like Adjust to track attribution and make smart decisions thanks to unified data. A mobile analytics platform can help you answer the following questions:

  • Which creatives work best?
  • What sources are bringing in the highest value users?
  • Which combination of touchpoints leads to conversion?

If you’d like more insights on user acquisition, check out our guide: Scaling your app to 1 million users, Part 1. From app store optimization (ASO) to paid campaigns, it’s the ultimate guide to growing your app to 1 million users.

Focus 2: Onboarding experience

While the onboarding process is part of the user journey, its heightened importance prompts us to mention it separately. If users don’t understand either how to use your app or the value your app brings to them, they will not continue to use it. This is why it's imperative to fine-tune your gaming app’s onboarding process, taking the time to understand what attracts and repels users and at which points churn occurs. What information do they need at this point in their journey? What can you share with them to entice them to remain in the app and complete the onboarding process?

Four points to remember for your onboarding process:

  1. It should be quick.
  2. It should be interactive and fun. (This is a gaming app, after all!)
  3. By the end, the user should know how to use the app and the benefit(s) it provides them.
  4. This process should be continually reviewed and updated.

Focus 3: User experience

Unsurprisingly, whether your gaming app is successful depends largely on the user experience. While surveying select gamers may yield insightful feedback, app developers and marketers primarily track user satisfaction across all players with metrics that monitor the user journey.

Example user experience questions that analytics answer:

  • How many levels does the average user complete?
  • How long are gaming sessions on average?
  • How much in-app revenue is generated per user?
  • What’s the average retention rate?

Getting analytics on the user journey of your app is crucial to predicting players’ behavior, areas for improvement and opportunity, as well as players’ goals within your app. Before setting up your target key performance indicators (KPIs), determine the goals of your user journeys. For instance, do you want the users to make a purchase? Or do you want them to continue playing and watching ads? It’s important to clarify these goals to map your user journeys—you will likely have multiple to serve different segments and cohorts—and set relevant KPIs to monitor them.

Focus 4: Re-engagement

The gaming industry often deals with churn more than others, as players tire of games, especially hyper casuals, if they are not constantly engaged. According to Adjust data on the user lifecycle, the average time between a user’s last session and when they uninstall the app is only three days. Therefore, the timeframe to retain and convert is short.

By running retargeting campaigns, you can prevent churn and gather insights early in the user journey. So, don’t forget to add re-engagement into your marketing strategy, as winning back users is essential to your app's growth. For further insights, check out our webinar with Facebook that offers five retargeting secrets for games and tips on how to boost ROI and keep your users engaged.

Top KPIs for gaming apps

A full range of KPIs exists withIn the mobile gaming industry. Which ones you decide to track will depend on your app’s vertical, the size of the app, and your marketing team’s strategy. However, there are several standard KPIs that those in mobile gaming must know. From retention rate to stickiness to installs, we’ve compiled the most commonly-used metrics for mobile gaming apps in the table below.

Table of metrics for gaming apps and their definitions

Examples of gaming apps maximizing their KPIs

At Adjust, many of our clients are gaming apps, publishers, or developers/studios. We’ve collected several success stories in which our gaming clients partnered with Adjust to understand and maximize their analytics. Take note of their strategies and consider if your app could benefit from focusing on the same KPI.

Duolingo examines retention

The marketing team at Duolingo, an education and gaming app, desired to understand the app’s user journeys better. With Adjust Measure, the team was able to drill down to monitor day 7 retention and LTV to make data-driven decisions that ultimately improved its day 7 retention and LTV.

Games2win tackles ROAS

Casual mobile games publisher Games2win set ROAS as its KPI and used Adjust’s cohort-level data, and campaign spend data to understand LTV, retention, and cost per install—all from one platform. The brand saw a 200% increase in user acquisition (UA) spend year-on-year because it could identify which UA campaigns were profitable and pivot accordingly.

Tamatem zooms in on LTV

Leading mobile games publisher in the Arabic-speaking market, Tamatem, has been successful in localizing games and making them culturally relevant for Arab gamers. Since partnering with Adjust, the brand has monitored in-app events, campaigns, channel ROI, and LTV to ensure it invests in the right places, even A/B testing creatives. In doing so, Tamatem increased day 1 retention by 7% and LTV by 30%.

Gameberry Labs utilizes custom events

Within its Adjust dashboard, gaming studio, Gameberry Labs, created a custom event: first-time purchase, as its main KPI to monitor the success of its paid marketing campaigns. With accurate data to see which channels proved most lucrative, Gameberry Labs could make better decisions. Empowered to invest its budgets more accurately, the studio was able to increase ad spend by 60-70% month-on-month.

Why Adjust for gaming app analytics

Having a powerful analytics platform can transform your attribution strategy. We’ve listed below the top reasons our mobile gaming clients partner with Adjust to power their app growth.

1. Get all your data in one place

With our latest analytics solution, Datascape, you can filter through all of your marketing data in a single screen. Quickly drill down and zoom out, comparing across time and apps to get the answers to your business-specific questions for optimal optimization.

2. Automate campaign optimization

Adjust’s Automate solution will help you measure ad performance, discover high-value users, and optimize your campaigns. With our campaign optimization tools, you’ll be free to spend more time strategizing and developing creatives. P.S. Did we mention that Adjust is the only provider offering automated campaign optimization?

3. Make sense of SKAdNetwork (SKAN) attribution data

In light of Apple’s implementation of its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, many app marketers are facing challenges working with SKAN. Adjust has developed solutions that allow mobile marketers on iOS to build comprehensive reports for SKAN campaigns by leveraging conversion values and comparing side-by-side with device-level data. We help you determine what to measure and how to succeed within the limitations of SKAN.

With our iOS reporting options and predictive analytics, our mobile gaming clients can make smart decisions based on a unified view of their iOS campaigns. Learn more about our side-by-side device level and SKAN data as part of  Adjust’s Automate.

4. We let you choose where to store your data

Adjust is the only mobile analytics platform that allows clients to decide where their data will be stored and processed. Our explicit data residency provides flexibility for businesses as well as regional compliance, ensuring they abide by the laws in place in their preferred regions.

5. We support companies of all sizes

With gaming clients ranging from enterprises to start-ups, we empower app growth for companies of all sizes. Our responsive and award-winning global support team has experts in 17 languages to help guide you and resolve issues quickly.

If you’re interested in learning how Adjust can help your mobile gaming app scale, request a demo with one of our experts. To learn more about the state of gaming apps in 2022, you can download our Mobile app trends 2022 report.

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