Justin Carroll

Justin runs Monastery where he helps video games reduce the cost of attracting players. He's had the pleasure of helping out on projects for game brands such as Call of Duty, Mortal Kombat, Guitar Hero, Skylanders and Tony Hawk. Follow Justin on Twitter where you can ask him anything.

Did you know game analytics metrics can be used for more than just improving your games? They can also be used for selling more of those games.

You’re probably already familiar with the five game analytics metrics I’m about to reference. But what I’m hoping you’re not already familiar with is how those well-known metrics can be used to influence your video game marketing efforts and grow your revenue.

Let’s start with the seemingly most simple of all metrics, but also one that’s the cornerstone for all marketing everywhere.

 

1. Demographics

Demographics are quantifiable player characteristics such as age, gender, race, income level and all sorts of other personal attributes.

Your audience, or target market, isn’t simply the number of people who play your games, but rather the persona of the people who play your games.

The first step in any game marketing effort is to know your audience. And that’s what makes demographics the cornerstone for all marketing efforts.

 

The #1 step in any game marketing effort is to know your audience! Click To Tweet

 

Demographics shouldn’t merely influence your marketing decisions, demographics should be the root of all game marketing decisions.

Use demographics data to target your advertising with programs and platforms that allow you to get as detailed as possible.

The onset of big data reach, the ability to know far more information about players, has pushed marketing a long way in the last decade.

Some of the programs and platforms most known for their propensity towards granular targeting are Facebook, Google AdWords and InMobi. However, this is an ever-growing list as hyper-targeting quickly becomes standard.

Can you imagine the amount of money you could lose marketing your game to people that, by and large, aren’t interested?

 

Demographics should be the root of all game marketing decisions! #gamedev Click To Tweet

 

2. Monthly Active Users (MAU)

Monthly active users (MAU) is constantly used for calculating revenue metrics, but it can also be a very powerful factor in messaging.

 

Never underestimate the power of great copy in your game.

Use your MAU in your copy. It’s called a trustmark. Trustmarks are signifiers in marketing that invoke emotions of trust towards a product.

Join over 100,000 monthly players in the best 3D platformer in decades!

The thinking here is that if 100,000 people a month are playing a game then it must be good. Or in other words, 100,000 people can’t be wrong.

And furthermore, that people who aren’t part of the 100,000 are somehow missing out on something truly great.

The truth is 100,000 players aren’t wrong, they genuinely love your game. And that’s something to shout from the rooftops!

Never underestimate the power of great copy in your game Click To Tweet

3. Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)

ARPU is the average amount of money you can expect from any given player of your games, say for the month.

Let me break down exactly how this metric can be important to marketing. We’re about to do some math.

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the amount of money it takes to acquire a new player. CAC is the sum of all your marketing in a certain period divided by the number of new players acquired from that marketing in that same period.

 

Comparing your CAC to metrics such as ARPU will give you a clue to how profitable players are Click To Tweet

 

But beware. It’s not the only clue. Don’t mistake ARPU for customer lifetime value (CLV) which is the ultimate metric in understanding the value of your players.

Let’s say you’re running an advertising campaign on Facebook. Each month you can compare your ARPU to your CAC, watching for trends and adjusting your budget accordingly.

If you’re seeing a sharp incline, for whatever reason, you could invest more money while it’s hot. Or conversely, reduce budget while you reassess the situation.

Countless marketing dollars will be lost this year by game developers and publishers who’ve no idea how their marketing is performing month to month.

 

OS device usage scenario
OS device usage scenario

4. Usage By Device

Usage by device is the metric that tells you what devices and platforms your games are most popular on.

It’s short and sweet, but don’t let that deceive you. This data is extremely important for wise marketing decisions.

Let’s say your games were released on both iOS and Android. And let’s say you’ve far more players on iOS, but Android players are far more profitable.

When spending money on marketing who are you more likely to see a return on investment (ROI) from, your iOS or Android players?

 

Not accounting for usage by device can be a costly mistake. 

And this doesn’t have to be about leaving a platform behind. It can also be about planning to increase your profits from efforts in releasing a game on certain platforms.

 

5. Entry Event Distribution (EED)

Ahh, this is my personal favorite, entry event distribution (EED). It’s basically the first thing players do, or events they trigger, when they enter your game.

We’re deep in game analytics now.

Do players first check the leaderboards? Do they review their character’s stats? Do they farm before questing?

 

That’s what we want to know.

The reason EED is my personal favorite is because this metric often sparks really great marketing ideas, ideas that invoke the game experience to entertain existing and potential players.

Let’s say the first thing players do in your game is alter the way their characters look in some way. You could then use that information to create a piece of digital marketing where users customize a character on your website which they in-turn share on social media.

Now, that’s the stuff of magic when it comes to marketing! Those are powerful ideas that promote your games by combining entertainment value and community.

 

Conclusion

It’s clear, game analytics metrics aren’t just for improving your games.

Marketing tools like websites and social media are more accessible and low cost than ever been before, if not free. However, this has expedited innovation. Techniques that were fresh and effective two years ago no longer have the same impact.

 

Your marketing spend must be intelligent and unique to your company, games and goals.

Most every metric in your game can be used to influence your marketing efforts, optimizing them to attract quality players and significantly increasing your ability to grow revenue.

Which game analytics metrics have most influenced the way you market your games?

Justin Carroll

Justin runs Monastery where he helps video games reduce the cost of attracting players. He's had the pleasure of helping out on projects for game brands such as Call of Duty, Mortal Kombat, Guitar Hero, Skylanders and Tony Hawk. Follow Justin on Twitter where you can ask him anything.

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