Increasing mobile game user retention is often overlooked by user acquisition strategies, but games that keep their users coming back will monetize far more effectively than those that can acquire but quickly lose new users.
Sharon Magen, CRO of mobile marketing platform Appoxee, recommends increasing mobile game user retention because of a surprising industry statistic – 80% of a game’s players will leave after one month. After four months, 95% of users have abandoned their game.
While game developers have ramped up user acquisition strategies, they should surely ramp up retention efforts, to maximize LTV of existing users.
Why Mobile Game User Retention is So Low
The reasons people abandon games they’ve played are numerous, says Magen, but they include:
- Forgot about it among other apps
- Limited lifecycle to app
- Your app is unstable, slow
- Too many ads
- Didn’t like your game
- Too easy/too hard
- Hit paywall too soon
Using Notifications to Increase Mobile Game User Retention
Magen recommends using intelligent notifications, sent to the user at specific periods after playing the game, to bring users back. Notifications are an important contact point with the gamer, and if personalized and targeted correctly, can provide an important call-to-action that will spark interest from a previous player.
For notifications to work, they must be targeted and customized based on player segments. Completionist gamers will want to know about more content to unlock, while big prior spenders may appreciate complimentary currency or discounts.
|Why did they stop playing?||Used game once, but couldn’t get past Level 3. Never made in-app purchase||Used game many times. Bought many coins, but stopped using for another exciting game||Finished game. No more screens left to unlock|
|Relevant, targeted message:||“Sally, we’ve unlocked Level 3!”||“David, we miss you! Come back and get 50 free coins today only.”||“Matt, check out the new version of CastleQuest with 20 completely new levels!”|
Intelligent notifications work. The data below is from a real retention initiative built with Appoxee. The orange circles indicate when notifications were sent out. Note the increased activity that follows.
Using Analytics to Increase Mobile Game Retention
Like any behavioral solution for your game, analytics should be used to optimize the best notification solution for each player type.
Key metrics to analyze may include:
- Push messages opened
- Number of screens
- In-app purchases
Prior efforts by Magen have identified that some messages drive the most return to a game, while others drive the most revenue. Messages that only give something away for free tend to attract gamers less willing to spend money, while messages offering discount often offer the best ROI. Still, with user segmentation, there’s no reason to offer both messages to each distinct group of users.
Performance of messages can be optimized based on:
- Message content/message type
- Time of day sent
- Day of the week
- Refined user segmentation
The timing of notifications can also be automated, with increasing attractiveness of offers rolled out with each successive message.
Improving retention should be just as strong a goal as acquiring new users for established mobile games.
The full presentation provided by Magen, from Casual Connect USA, can be viewed below:
Follow this link to download a free mobile game retention guide, provided by Appoxee.
For detailed step-by-step articles on mobile game development, make sure to read our mobile game development channel.