Three tips for increasing engagement and ARPDAU in live events

Louise Lu shares her key lessons from managing live events in the hit game, Warhammer: Chaos & Conquest

Tilting Point
Nov 17, 2020 · 5 min read

Getting a player’s attention is one thing; keeping it is another thing altogether.

With so many options available to mobile gamers, it’s critical once a game grows its audience for it to find ways to keep players engaged over time. And one of the most powerful ways to keep players playing is with live events.

One of the major updates that has kept engagement high in our game Warhammer: Chaos & Conquest was the introduction of what we call Infernal Events. These limited-time events let players from different servers compete and show off their power, while earning valuable in-game rewards. Since we’ve started Infernal Events, the response has been incredible, and we’ve grown the program from five unique event types to ten.

In this blog, I’m going to break down three things that we’ve learned in managing Infernal Events that developers of all shapes and sizes can use to design their own live events.

Various types of Infernal Events, and potential rewards

Tip #1: Keep it short

One of the things that has been instrumental to the success of our Infernal Events was experimenting with the event length. Events currently only run for two hours, which is enough time for players to jump in and compete, but creates a sense of urgency around participating, since it is a relatively short time window.

We’ve tested out running events that were six, 12, and even 48 hours long, and found the shorter the event, the more urgency players felt around joining. When players have all day to participate, it is easy to procrastinate instead of jumping in, which can lead to them not joining at all.

In fact, we’ve seen that events that run two hours tend to have higher engagement than those that run 48. For example, we ran a two hour version of our “Infernal Gain Power Event” where players battle to gain power, and then ran a 48 hour version of the same event. We found that the two hour version had a 19 percent higher engagement rate than the 48 hour version of the same event.

Tip #2: Find the right frequency

Just as the event length can affect engagement, the frequency of events can also have a major impact on the game’s ARPDAU. In order to maximize revenue we tested different event cadences, adding new events every week for three weeks.

When we first introduced weekend events, our ARPDAU increased 15 percent versus the month prior — this was our baseline for the test. As we began running more events throughout the week, we also decided to run Infernal Events twice per day, to account for our players in different time zones who would otherwise be unable to participate at all.

Here’s what we found:

  • Week 1: We added one event on Thursday and saw a five percent increase in weekday ARPDAU
  • Week 2: We added two events, one on Tuesday and one on Thursday and saw a 20 percent increase in weekday ARPDAU
  • Week 3: We added four weekend events and saw a 46 percent increase in weekend ARPDAU
Weekend ARPDAU notably increased after introducing Infernal Events, as did weekday ARPDAU in April

We were able to strike the right balance between ensuring the events maintained their urgency, while offering players even more chances to engage, which dramatically improved overall player spend.

Tip #3: Tempt the most engaged players with the most meaningful rewards

One of the initial draws of Infernal Events for our players was the prizes. We used the events to give out popular items with the best value as rewards, and that drove considerable traffic in the first weeks. But players began to lose interest after a couple of months.

To restore that interest, we ran two special double reward events, where players received twice the amount of reward versus our regular events. The response from players was incredible. We also timed an in-game sale for speed ups that helped players get even more from the event.

And the impact on our ARPDAU was impressive. The events increased our weekend ARPDAU by 143 percent versus the month prior.

Creating events that attract your top players with epic rewards can also have a material impact on your ARPDAU, even if it doesn’t increase engagement. For example, we ran two different events, one directed towards all players (Infernal Damage and Defeat Foe), and another that focused on the top players (Infernal Damage Khorne Foe).

While both events had nearly identical levels of engagement, the Infernal Damage Khorne Foe Event which focused on the highest level players and offered the best rewards (including the coveted Legendary Khorne Warlord) delivered 39 percent more ARPDAU than the event targeting all users.

This article was originally published on the Tilting Point website

As Associate Product Manager at Tilting Point, Louise is responsible for continuously improving Warhammer and Operation: New Earth on the product side and helping the games reach their monetization potential. Prior to Tilting Point, Louise studied Integrated Marketing and Business Analytics at New York University. In daily life, Louise is keen on collecting Lego and doing puzzles. She’s also a big fan of SLG and RPG mobile games.

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