Mobile game metrics that developers shouldn’t forget

Oct 11, 2021

  1. Installs

The number of installs is a fundamental mobile game metric because it ultimately showcases the success or failure of your mobile games. If you don’t acquire a large number of users, you won’t be able to earn a significant amount of ad revenue or money from in-app purchases or subscriptions. 

Also, you’ll use the number of installs in pretty much every formula for secondary metrics, such as retention, ARPU, etc.

  1. DAU – Daily Active Users

DAU (daily active users) defines unique users who used the app within a single day (24-hour period).

Have in mind that some companies will calculate DAU in different ways since they’re tracking different user actions. This metric provides valuable information on how sticky your game is. 

  1. MAU – Monthly Active Users

MAU (monthly active users) defines unique users who used the app at least once in the last month (30-day period).

To qualify as an MAU, a user just has to log in – he doesn’t need to engage with the product. With that being said, having a high MAU doesn’t mean you’re going to have high user engagement.

The ratio of two interconnected metrics, DAU and MAU, shows you how well your game retains users.

  1. Stickiness Rate

By dividing DAU over MAU, you’re able to see your stickiness rate. This gives you an insight into a really important question – how many monthly users are daily users.

  1. Retention Rate

Retention rate is one of the most important metrics to track in mobile games because it directly impacts your revenue numbers.

The retention rate gives insight into game performance and general user experience. Mostly, we keep track of day 1, day 7, and day 30 retention rate mobile game metrics so we can know if our games are built to last. 

Day 1 Retention – It’s all about first impressions. You have to make sure users want to come back for more. They need to get to know the product and understand its value and advantages. This is called onboarding. If not done properly, the odds of churning will drastically increase. Day 1 retention of 30% or more is considered good. On the other hand, if a game’s day 1 retention is very low, it means a game is not good enough. If that’s the case, it’s back to the drawing board. Some publishers even decide to scrap the game and move on to the next project. 

Day 7 Retention – This is usually a turning point for the average user. It tells you how much users like the game, interface, and overall experience. It determines whether they’ll continue playing your game.

Day 30 Retention – This is when your customer base has shrunk and the remaining users are the ones who play it on a weekly or even daily basis. Expect that day 30 retention will be much lower than day 1 or day 7 user retention. The players that remain after a month are your loyal users. They like the game. They play it regularly. They’re in it for the long run. They’re much more likely to make an in-app purchase or watch ads to advance in the game.

  1. CR – Churn Rate

The churn rate is the exact opposite of the retention rate. You keep track of lost users (the ones who uninstalled your app). In other words, the churn rate measures the percentage of users that stop playing the game over a period of time.

  1. ARPU – Average Revenue Per User

ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) is a metric that will help you understand whether your business model/monetization strategy works or not.

When you’re acquiring users via different marketing channels, you’ll see that the ARPU can vary from channel to channel.

Keeping a track of ARPU per channel/source can help you understand what channel is making you money. Calculating ARPU is easy. Divide the revenue with the number of users in a specific period of time (i.e. day – ARPDAU, week – ARPWAU, month – ARPMAU).

  1. LTV – Lifetime Value

LTV or “Lifetime Value” is one of the most important financial mobile game metrics. It is designed to show you the total revenue that you generated (per user) from the start until the end of their lifetime with your game.

How to calculate LTV?

To calculate LTV, there are 3 variables you need to have in mind: monetization, retention, and virality. Here’s one of the models that you can use for calculating LTV:

Why is LTV important?

Why is LTV the most important financial metric out of all mobile game metrics?

Because it defines your marketing strategy and profit margins. How much can you spend to acquire a user (CPI)? Definitely not more than you’re going to earn. This insight is very important when it comes to deciding on marketing channels you’re going to use.

Of course, you can’t know what CPI to expect on a specific channel without testing it first. But you can know what’s your goal CPI, which allows you to properly benchmark results against it.

  1. ATV – Average Transaction Value

ATV (Average Transaction Value) is a metric that defines the average value of an in-app purchase or transaction.

Driving higher-value purchases will also bring higher value users while you’re able to establish a one on one connection with them.

Calculating ATV is done by dividing your ad spend by the number of orders you’ve taken.

  1. CPI – Cost Per Install

CPI (Cost Per Install) is mainly connected to campaigns that publishers place via digital ads to gain downloads. Advertisers are only charged if users install the app through the ad they clicked on.

The model for calculating CPI is quite simple, you just divide your ad spend by the number of installs.

The average CPI varies depending on: The country, Platform (Android vs. iOS), Ad format

  1. Session Length

Session length measures the amount of time a user spends actively playing a mobile game. The session starts when the app is opened and lasts until it’s closed or the user becomes inactive. 

THE FORMULA: the time when the user became inactive – the time the app was opened

This metric is an important indicator of user experience and user engagement. It is based on the following assumption →  the longer the session is, the user is more satisfied with the gameplay experience and is performing the desired in-app actions. a good session length is different for every mobile game genre.

Source: Udonis.