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Most successful appreneurs realize early in their game development efforts that smart decisions to increase user retention can’t just be based on gut feelings.

Facts and analytics are more important, but it’s surprising how many indie game developers ignore this.

The following case study is based on the lessons we learned when Gamifyd, our in-house gaming studio incubated by Click Labs, revamped Burt Destruction, which was already a reasonably successful platform. Hopefully with the information, we can show fellow indie game developers why to focus on facts instead of feelings.

The Back Story

We took over the publishing and marketing rights of Burt Destruction from RunWilder Entertainment two months ago. The game received an amazing response in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store with 0.5 million combined downloads, but monetization was a problem because even with so many downloads, the game still wasn’t making any money.

We knew that because there are around million apps in both stores, lots of apps (no matter how great they are) never get discovered. And even if people discover them, you need a large, loyal user base to have successful monetization with the Freemium model.

Time for a Change

We already had a great starting platform with hundreds of user reviews, critical reviews and analytics data to completely revamp the game. All the reviews had an underlying theme: Burt Destruction can be frustratingly tough, even in the early stages. This meant frustrated users and therefore unsatisfactory returns.

We knew we had to make some changes, but we wanted to do it right. We wanted to base everything on user feedback and expert data to make Burt Destruction the best.

Importance of facts and analytics in game developmentEnter: Flurry

There are a handful of of quality, thriving app review sites that have become prominent names in the world of mobile app development, including Swerve, Apsalar, Playtomic, Distimo and Localytics. But Flurry has slowly established itself as a global leader in mobile analytics solutions. Flurry makes it easy to associate every event happening on your app with easy-to-understand pie charts and graphs.

Also the fact that it’s free and gives an easily integrable SDK is a huge tipping point for choosing their services over the others.

How We Used Flurry

Flurry helped us plan our revamp of Burt Destruction in 4 key ways:

1. Events

Events give all kinds of insight into user paths and how users interact with your games and apps in general. How well you define these events directly affects how much useful information you can squeeze out of the analytics Flurry gives.

For mobile games, we divided the events into four categories: Gameplay, Navigation, Monetization and Social. Flurry Support gives useful pointers to create events associated with these categories.

For the revamp of Burt Destruction, we followed their pointers from end to end, but were particularly interested in level clear events. We associated them with every single level, along with the related parameters of how many re-tries it took a user to clear these levels in relation to shields used and coins earned. In only one month, we had the information we needed to redesign the game with smoother difficulty transitions and optimized gameplay.

Once the events are defined, the next steps can be taken directly from the Flurry Console. User paths based on the sequence in which these events take place provide a clear picture of discrepancies between your intended user paths and the actual ones. For example, we discovered the social sharing buttons were not available at all the right locations. Users did use the social sharing buttons where they were present, but the percentage of users reaching that point was quite small.

Another important feature related to events in Flurry are the user conversion funnels.They allow you to ask questions about your existing data. The beauty of defining these funnels is that they act on the entire range of data you have. In our case, using these funnels led to an important observation that the prices for items in the store were too high. Users were visiting the store in need of upgrades, coins and powers, but were not making the actual purchase because of the high cost of IAPs.

2. Usage

A game designer’s ultimate goal is to create games that keep users hooked. Session length, session frequency, daily active users, and user retention percentage are useful indicators of overall player engagement.

Think of any popular game: Angry Birds, Temple Run, Subway Surfers, Candy Crush, etc… they all have one thing in common. They keep players engaged for a long time, session after session. One thing is clear: improving session length and frequency should be seen as a target for every major update of the game.

Flurry also goes a step ahead and gives you the ability to compare your data with existing benchmarks for related game categories. Geographical data of the median session length also helps you gauge which country’s users like your game the most. In turn, your user acquisition and localisation efforts can be directed towards those particular nations.

3. User Segmentation

Flurry’s data helps you divide large user groups into smaller ones based on criteria like date range, location, usage, gender, age, language and custom events. This segmentation is particularly useful to know what percentage of user base are the frequent users and what their demographic biases are.

4. Know Thy Audience

Flurry gives you the persona of your user group by categorizing usage behavior into defined app collections. For instance, this metric for Burt Destruction told us that 91% of the 0.3 million iOS users fit the description of a casual gamer. The initial game was designed keeping hard core gamers in mind, but since the casual gamers were the key demographic, this disconnect had to be corrected asap.

We got similar data from the ‘Interest: By Category’ metric. As against 35% average for the related category Burt’s user base was playing games more heavily by 5 percentage points. And the similar comparison for social networking category showed that only 11% of the applications used by Burt’s user base fell in this category versus Flurry’s benchmark average of 21%. This signalled the need to concentrate on gamplay even more rather than flooding the app with social features.

The revamped Burt Destruction is now available on the App Store  and Google Play Store for free. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that our user base will be pleasantly surprised this time around.

With Click Labs Mobile Game Development, you can create your own game app like Burt Destruction and make it go viral. Get In Touch with our game developers for a free consultation session.


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