Why focusing on tomorrow brings back players in the long run

Post 2 of 3: How to analyze your mobile game’s retention data

Adam Carpenter
Feb 7, 2018 · 6 min read
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Average stickiness for games on Google Play

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The significance of daily retention

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DAU return % — Next day
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Can DAU return also be a proxy for churn?

The DAU Return % can also be leveraged as a proxy for player churn. In addition to looking at the percentage of a day’s DAU’s who return the following day, you can also look at how many return 7, 14, and 28 days later. In the case of the 28th day, the median game sees 57% of players returning, while the best performing titles see 70% or more of their players active on those DAU Return dates.

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DAU Return % for the 28th day
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Improving your daily return percent

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  1. Leverage the social systems in your game. The tighter the bonds you create between your players, the more likely they’ll return. Effectively, with a strong guild or clan system, or features like meaningful chat groups and substantial friends benefits, your players do the work for you. Strengthen your existing social system or build new features, then leverage them to bring players back every day.
  2. Think about push notifications and how you can truly personalize them. Let me throw out an idea I’ve been kicking around since I worked as a developer: what if you were to build a time history for each player, and identify what time they normally played each day? If a player usually starts playing at 6 PM, could you send them a customized push notification at 6:30 PM if they haven’t logged in yet? This is extremely powerful as it’s highly relevant to that person as they are receiving notifications tailored to their specific habits.

Focus on tomorrow to improve retention

Ultimately, the most important thing you can do if you are trying to grow the number of players for your game, is to focus on tomorrow. The strong correlation between daily, weekly and monthly stickiness ratios suggests a strong focus on daily retention will pay dividends for long term retention. In the last post of this series, I’ll dive into payer frequency data and look at ways improve the monetization of your game. If you are interested in improving game revenue check out ‘Five tips to improve your games-as-a-service monetization’, and also get insights into who your players are in ‘Who plays mobile games?’


What do you think?

Do you have thoughts on measuring and improving game retention? Let us know in the comments below or tweet using #AskPlayDev and we’ll reply from @GooglePlayDev, where we regularly share news and tips on how to be successful on Google Play.

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