Apart from having the most potential, mobile gaming is also the most challenging niche in the mobile application market. Here are the 10 relevant metrics that help game developers and analysts measure the effectiveness of their efforts and increase product value.
Number of app installs.
You won’t need a tracking system to measure the click and install rate as stores usually provide this data.
If you want to assess your paid traffic performance, use the Conversion Rate (CR) metric. If, for example, your CR is 10%, this means that out of 100 users who clicked on the ad, only 10 ended up downloading the app.
The Install rate differs depending on the game genre. To get a general picture, see how similar apps perform in the app store.
According to AppTweak, the average organic traffic CR in the Apple App Store in the US is 3.42%. The figure varies from 0.7% in the Game Board Category to 8.5% in the Finance Category.
If your app lacks organic installs, try launching ads or optimizing the app page on Google Play and in the App Store: screenshots, ranking, user reviews, etc.
Cost per install is a sum you pay for attracting a new user.
CPI = Total cost of an ad campaign ÷ Number of installs
This metric can help you measure the effectiveness of any particular advertising campaign or promotional activity. A surge in installs would mean that you have made a good marketing decision recently.
According to Fiksu, the average CPI for Android and iOS apps in the US is USD 1.9 and USD 1.6, respectively. In Russia and Europe, these numbers are two to three times lower, with Android being the cheaper platform.
You can reduce the cost of acquiring new users by precise targeting and using creative content. If you understand your core audience well, you can adjust the campaign to only show ads to similar users, thus making it more economical and effective.
Session means time spent by a user in an app. Average Session Duration (ASD) means the average duration of sessions over a certain period of time.
ASD = Total duration of all sessions during a specified time frame ÷ Total number of sessions during that same time frame.
ASD comparison shows that some user groups tend to launch your game for a couple of minutes every day, while others would have a three-hour session once a week. With the use of other metrics (say, ARPU/ARPPU), you can determine which group pays more, and which one should be targeted when preparing game updates.
The average session length for mobile games is 4–5 minutes. The following genres have the highest ASD:
ASD for the top 25% of mobile games is 7–8 minutes.
You can increase session frequency by introducing different game mechanics within certain time intervals. For example, giving game bonuses or restoring health once every half hour.
To boost session duration, set tasks that give users bonus points. Also сonsider launching an online mode to encourage users to interact with each other.
Average Transaction Value (ATV) means the average value of transactions made over a certain time period, or the average check.
ATV = Total value of all transactions ÷ Number of transactions
You can divide the audience into users with small, medium and large average check. Then analyze the activity in each segment and build your marketing strategy based on this data.
Expand the product range or offer additional products at check-out. Special offers and promos may also encourage users to buy more.
The number of unique users per day/month.
These metrics are calculated based on the total number of app launches. Unique users are most commonly tracked by their device ID or login data.
DAU helps identify the most profitable days and measure the number of active users per day. MAU shows the average number of active users within the past 30 days. One way to increase these metrics is to send push notifications.
Encourage activity by providing daily bonuses (a common practice in games). Send push notifications and emails, retarget in social media and organize campaigns. Remind users of your app and give them more reasons to come back.
App usage frequency within a month
Stickiness rate = DAU ÷ MAU.
If every user launches your app every day, DAU will equal MAU, resulting in a stickiness rate of 100%. This means that all users “got stuck” in your app. This is never the case though.
A good average monthly stickiness rate for all game genres is 10–18%.
Casino games are the most sticky (up to 26%). Even the simplest Casino games have a stickiness rate of some 15%. Other top performers:
Racing and Action games seem to be the least sticky among the genres, with a 10% stickiness rate being considered decent..
If your stickiness rate falls below 5%, try launching push notifications or updating the app to introduce new features. It’s also useful to encourage feedback, create in-game chats and promote the game community on social media.
The share of users who return to an app.
Retention rate is calculated as the ratio of the number of users who installed an app on a certain date to the number of users who returned to the app.
The most common days to track retention are the following:
Day 1. If many users don't open the app the next day after installing it, that means there is a bug, or interface problems, or users are not interested in the app.
Day 7. If users stop using the app one week in, you need to know at which point they quit and do something about it.
Day 28. If you have low retention after one month, it’s best to review your marketing and product strategy.
Three-month retention of 40% means your app is performing very well. 25–35% is good. A retention rate below 20% signifies a need for change.
Send push notifications and emails, re-engage users via social media and organize campaigns.
Attrition or customer churn.
This is the opposite of the retention rate: 100% − Retention = Churn rate.
Churn rate provides a view from another angle: instead of seeking a way to retain users, it helps you deal with the reasons why they quit. Looking at the churn rate, you can easily see that there’s an issue with the app.
According to the Mobile Benchmarks Report by GameAnalytics, less than 15% of mobile games have a Day 1 retention rate of 35%, while 94% of users quit within the first 28 days after install.
Check who uninstalls the app and why – whether it has to do with bugs, crashes, interface issues, or other reasons. Improve the product, release updates and apply user retention tactics.
For more details, see our article What is Churn and How App Developers Can Reduce It.
Average revenue per user / paying user.
ARPU = All-time revenue from a cohort ÷ Number of users in the cohort
ARPPU = App revenue ÷ Number of unique paying users.
ARPPU/ARPU metrics reflect paying users’ reaction to your pricing and to the quality of your paid content. For example, lower prices may lead to a drop in ARPPU, while causing ARPU to grow through attracting users who would previously not be interested because of the price.
Sell more at check-out and through campaigns, or adjust pricing. Experiment with app monetization models: in-app ad revenue, in-app purchases, subscriptions, pricing models. Review ad placement and try new ad formats: video or playable ads.
LTV reflects the total amount spent by a customer throughout their lifespan as a customer (their lifetime value).
LTV = Total revenue from new users over a certain period of time.
The metric takes into account users who installed the app within the set time period. Instead of the full customer lifespan, LTV can be calculated for a specified time frame (day, week, month, year) from the app install / first website visit.
It’s important to compare this metric to your CPI as you want your revenues from users to be higher than costs to acquire them.
To boost LTV you should maintain user engagement: monitor reviews, add new features and hold internal events. LTV for paid apps can be increased by switching to a paid subscription model. This would cover the app maintenance costs.
LTV also depends on how quickly a user gets to know the game and starts playing, number of difficulty levels, bonuses for watching ad videos and personalized push notifications.