F2P studios emphasize user acquisition and marketing when asked about their business plans. However, when operating a F2P game, you will soon realize that acquiring new users alone will not ensure a sustainable game.
Companies that focus on acquiring users while neglecting user experience will eventually see a drop in ROI. The average mobile app loses 77% of its DAUs within the first three days. Within 30 days, it will lose 90% of its DAUs. Many companies accept this churn rate as a given. One point to note is that the figure is average. Some games have 4% remaining, but there are others with more than 60% after 30 days. Studios should view this feature of F2P games as an opportunity to improve retention. Increasing retention by just 5% can increase profits by 25%.
1. Attrition and user experience
Churn, or user attrition, is an indicator that your game has not fulfilled user needs and expectations. User defection can be experienced by any studio, regardless of scale. To ensure sustainable growth, you must understand the cause of attrition and make consistent efforts to improve user experience.
- Causes of user attrition
- Failure to deliver value
- Ineffective FTUE
- Confusing UI
- Confusing navigation
- Lack of stickiness
- Lack of content
These six reasons negatively affect user experience and cause a decrease in retention rate and ROI. A low retention rate means that your investment in user acquisition has resulted in poor returns, that is, a low ROI. You should use game analytics funnels to determine when users drop off, and review complaints reported to customer management. The combination of game analytics and behavioral analysis will give you valuable insights that you might overlook when looking at each one individually.
2. User acquisition
User acquisition is necessary to have retention. You must consider acquisition when reviewing your retention rate. The most common mistakes in user acquisition are as follows.
- Six causes of failure in user acquisition
- Ignoring ASO
- Not understanding your users
- Lack of strategy and planning
- Investing in quantity over quality
- Absence of appropriate data analysis
- Preference for low CPI over high LTV
The heavy investment in user acquisition means that mistakes can escalate into a significant loss. How can the above mistakes be prevented?
3. Five methods to improve acquisition and retention
- Optimize ASO (App Store Optimization)
Over 60% of users discover new apps through the App Store search. Be careful in choosing the app’s name and keywords in the game’s description. Use the language of target users. Games with a keyword in their names are ranked 10% higher than those without. App ratings are also important for ASO. Negative ratings and reviews can have a negative influence on potential users’ decisions on whether or not to download your game.
- Know your users
One of the most important components of your game business is determining a target demographic. All efforts must be exerted to deliver a user experience that satisfies everyone belonging to the target demographic. The initial messaging and marketing should be focused on convincing users that your game lives up to their expectations. To do so, you must be aware of what users expect and what they hope to achieve through your game. User segmentation and behavioral analysis can help you to provide appropriate services to correct users at the right time, increasing your chance of success.
- Have a user acquisition plan
You can establish realistic goals and timelines by tracking and analyzing key performance indicators and metrics. Effective user acquisition strategies can be identified through performance analysis, which will lower user acquisition costs in the long run. Perform short A/B tests when making new attempts to reduce uncertainty and risks. Having a specific plan will help you to prepare better for the future and manage risks.
“Player segmentation and player behaviour analytics will enhance the likelihood of reaching the correct players at the right time.”
- Acquire quality users
Don’t think of the number of downloads as an indicator of success. You are not looking for users who simply download the game but never play it. You want users to fully immerse themselves in the game and continue playing for a long time. One million downloads is meaningless if no one returns on D3 or if your profit is 0. Low CPI installs are usually worthless. Users acquired with low CPI generally have a lower LTV, which means your time and money have been poorly spent.
- Analyze important metrics
Metrics, similar to a lighthouse, help to set you on the right path. Retention rates, conversion rates, ARPU, ARPPU, ARPDAU, LTV, session length, and download statistics allow you to make data-informed decisions that improve user acquisition and experience. There is no need to be discouraged by poor metrics. Think of them as an opportunity to improve user experience.