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[Learn the Basics: 5 Important Metrics for Free-to-Play Mobile Games]

important metrics free to play mobile games
Oct 2017

Learn the Basics: 5 Important Metrics for Free-to-Play Mobile Games

As a mobile game developer, especially for free-to-play (F2P) games, there several important metrics you need to know to build a successful game. Do you feel confused by so many numbers and metrics in the analytics? Jump into these five important metrics first!

Programmers, check. Artist, check. You’ve covered the programming and the art stuff. Your first game is released, and it’s a hit! It got thousands of downloads in its first week. But after that week, the players are gone, you don’t know what’s wrong with your game.

You can find the answers (most of the time) in the analytics.

But you are new in this numeric stuff. So many metrics to handle, so little time.

Say no more! In this article, we will discuss five key metrics for F2P mobile games. These are the most important metrics that you should monitor closely and focus your work on, especially if you are new.

So here are those key metrics for F2P mobile games, according to Yanuar Tanzil (founder of IPlayAllDay Studio), who has been around the gaming industry for more than 10 years.


Retention/Churn Rate

important metrics free to play mobile games

Undoubtedly, Subway Surfers has one of the highest retention rates in mobile games.

Retention/churn rate is the ratio of users who still play our game in a period of time.

If the retention rate is low, you must analyze when the user exited the game. From there, we usually can detect our game’s shortcomings. For example, the Day 1 retention rate is high (users love the game) but Day 7 is low. That means after a week, users start to abandon the game.

Users may think the game was too repetitive and boring, or you don’t have many contents to make them stay.


Conversion Rate

A conversion rate is how many or the ratio of users that turn into buyers.

If it is low, you can find out why by looking at other metrics. For instance, if retention rate is high but the conversion rate is low, that means users feel that buying IAP is not necessary to keep playing the game.


Lifetime Value (LTV)

Lifetime Value is the value of each user in the game.

This is a very important metric to define how much money to spend on user acquisition. If it is low, you need to see if it is because the conversion rate is low or if you really need to make other alternatives of monetization (e.g. ads).

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Onboard Rate

An onboard rate is the ratio of users who become players after the first impression.

The first impression is very important for a game, especially with the tight competition of F2P. If in the first minutes, many users leave the game and don’t come back, then there is something very wrong with the game.

Usually, the first minutes of a game comprise of tutorial and early levels, so those things have to be very interesting and understandable without making users bored.


Completion Rate

Completion rate is the ratio of players completing a level or task in the game. Depending on the gameplay or genre, there also other gameplay/usage metrics that can be used, but generally you can use completion rate.

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This metric usually explains the nature of your users, how they play your game. It usually used to support the analysis of metrics number 1 to 4. Depending on the genre or gameplay, we can choose what activity to measure. For example, level completion. If it is low, then that level may be too difficult for many users and need to be tweaked to become a little easier.

Edited by Devi

Arya Wibowo
Arya is a gamer dad, boardgame geek, and game industry enthusiast. He loves strategy games and soccer games.
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