5 Analytics Tips for Games Apps - Whiteboard Wednesday

Localytics Senior Solutions Consultant, Richard Cipolla, dives into a best practices series about kickstarting app analytics to get the deepest insights. Finally: Games Apps.



Hello, and welcome to Whiteboard Wednesday. My name is Richard Cipolla, Senior Solutions Consultant here at Localytics. Today we're going to talk about how to tag a gaming app with Localytics. Gaming apps come in a variety of shapes and sizes; there are word games and action games, multiplayer games and single-player games, but we'll keep this wide enough with enough breadth to meet all characteristics.


Tagging Events

First, let's talk about some of the events you should tag in your app. Localytics SDK automatically collects things like device name and OS version, if the use is a first visit or tenth visit, so events are a great place to start tagging, because they describe the real action in the app. This includes attributes and describes the details of those actions when they take place.

The first event you're going to want to start is a 'game started' event, which will include attributes to describe the mode of the game. For example, is it a single player or multiplayer game, or is it on the easy level or hard level or even some other kind of level denomination? Next, you'll want to make sure to have an event every time a turn or a round ends in the game, depending on your unit of measurement, to describe the actions that took place in that specific moment. Did users buy anything? Did the game "kill" the user? Did users earn some points, spend some points? That way you can see, on specific rounds, how the user is doing on round three, six or seven.

In the game play events, you'll want a game-ended event to describe the number of rounds or levels. These events will give a good picture of how users are actually playing the game. You'll also want a set of events for the purchase-related action of the app. Did they enter the item store? Did they view any specific items, or did they buy any items? You can actually use these and funnels to see how users are buying items.


Choosing Custom Dimensions

Now, let's talk about some of the custom dimensions you'll want to tag in your app. Custom dimensions are a really good way to describe big groups of users based on specific traits from within the app. The first custom dimension you'll want to define is the player status or level. For example, your game may have ranks or lifetime high score and you can classify them as beginning, moderate or veteran level players to see how users progress through the app. See if your users are getting to the points you want them to get to and if users will replay games after completion.

Also, if you have an in-app purchasing mechanism or modernization method, you'll definitely want a custom dimension if the device is jailbroken or rooted or if they've exhibited some weird behavior. You can put them through a technical check to see if the device is pirated or if it's share broken. If the user bought 10 things with a hundred dollars within five minutes, you can filter them out of the average for exhibiting strange behaviors so they don't ruin the analysis or affect app updates.


Defining Funnels

Let's move to some of the dashboard elements and reporting. Let's look at how users are progressing to certain key conversion items and events within your funnels. The first funnel you're going to want to implement is the game play funnel: starting games, playing turns, and finishing games in the app. This funnel will give you an idea of the difficulty and replay-ability that's important to keep the game engaging.

Next, any funnels related to the purchasing events that we talked about earlier are important; are users entering the store or even seeing it? Are they looking at items while they're in the store and are they checking out once they see an item they like? Between these two funnels, you can see if a user is getting through the two major conversion events you want in your app: repeatedly playing the game and buying items.


Establishing Segments

Moving on to segments, which show, based on user actions, how users behave in the app and, eventually, how to encourage them to take certain actions. You want segments based on the features users may be missing. For example, are users not starting multiplayer games or are limiting themselves to only certain types of games? Are they not interacting with their friends in the game? Are they not sharing their success or losses in the game on Twitter or Facebook? Are they not inviting friends to play the game, despite having the opportunity to invite them?


Refining The Messaging

Let's discuss events and the messaging you want to share with users to make them take desired actions. One potential message will be based on users who aren't enjoying their app experience. For example, a user may have lost many times in a row, skipped a tutorial, or for some reason aren't very good. We don't want to lose these users, so give them an incentive. An example of a good incentive might be free coins or gems to keep them playing the game.

Next, you may want to leverage some segments based on the features they have or have not played. Encourage them to try something new. If a user has only played single-player games, then the message might say, "Hey, why don't you play with some friends?" Get these users to interact with your app on a new level. If they've never shared the app with their friends or other people on Facebook and Twitter about their successes, encourage them and send a message like, "Share your success on Facebook to receive 100 coins." This way, again, you're getting the word out there and some free advertising.



These are just some basic events, custom dimensions, and segments to get you started with your Localytics tagging. Hopefully, these suggestions will help you gain more insights and a good start with your Localytics Analytics. Once again, I'm Richard Cipolla, Senior Solutions Consultant here at Localytics, and I hope to see you again next week.

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