Analytics Teardown for Mobile Gaming App (Case Study + Mobile App KPIs)

Note from Ruben: We have come to the last piece of our industry-specific analytics tracking plan series and want to end off on a whimsical note. So far, we’ve covered (1) Wistia, a SaaS analytics tracking plan with SaaS KPIs, (2) Meetup, a popular Marketplace app tracking plan and (3) Indochino, a valuable eCommerce tracking plan with KPIs.

For the whimsical approach, Wiehan will guide you through an example analytics tracking plan for Bejeweled, a classic mobile game app. He will reveal a set of mobile app game KPIs that could be tracked to measure the true success of a mobile app game.

After all, who doesn’t like playing mobile games?


1. What we will cover:

Our tracking plan template is one of the top requested resources and we’ve gone ahead and made it 10x better.

We included all the events that we would track if we were in charge of their analytics strategy. You can take it as inspiration to build out your own mobile game app analytics tracking plan.

 

2. Why I should read it and what will I get out of it?

Benefits for both Marketing & Analytics Teams

Mobile app games have taken the world by storm and for good reason. There are thousands’ of mobile game apps available on both the App store and Google stores and you have a limited window to bestow a good impression on first-time users.

If you have broken tracking or no tracking at all, you are already a couple of steps behind other mobile game apps.

Here are some of the problems and challenges you are currently facing:

  • Determine how many app installations you’ve generated in the last week or month
  • Calculate the avg. cost per app installation
  • Identify what % of user open your application after they’ve installed it
  • Attribute app installations to the correct marketing channels and sources
  • See what % of visitors are completing your onboarding process
  • Spot SERIOUS leakages in your onboarding process
  • Calculate retention rate % and spot user’s “aha-moment” within your mobile game
  • % of users who complete one or more game levels
  • Critical actions your power users are taking and at which frequency
  • Track the total revenue generated from game store purchases
  • Determine which game store products purchased are biggest contributor to your revenue

 

We are presenting you with a tracking plan that will propel you into the right direction.

Let’s tuck in:

 

3. Overview of Bejeweled

I am addicted to the increasingly popular puzzle game (and I am 31 years old).

Once installed on your device, you can discover your perfect match with 6 breathtaking modes in this classic gem-matching game. From the fast-paced, time-based and full houses of poker mode.

Collect flashy Bejeweled badges and achievements, and soar to dazzling heights in the Game Center leaderboards.

You’ll find cascades of fun as you test your gem-swapping ability!

The thing to take note of is that the app offers in-app purchases – an ideal opportunity to track and measure mobile app game revenue.

Install it on Android:

Install it on iOS:

 

4. Mobile game apps tracking plan detailed teardown

Our go-to approach is to break the tracking plan down into different lifecycle stages:
(1) Other/General, (2) Acquisition, (3) Activation and (4) Retention.

To get full access to the Bejeweled example tracking plan (Google Sheet / Excel), click on the below button to get your copy.

 

Time to tuck into the practical application of our case study.

Event Lifecycle Stage: Other / General

During this lifecycle stage, we will track the amount of application installations on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. For an even better picture of traction, we would need to look at what percentage of users who installed the application go ahead and open the app.

A lot of Mobile game owners and product managers get obsessed with app installs and opens as success metrics. We want to highlight that there are even more important metrics further down the user lifecycle. For example; retention and what makes your power users return to your app on a regular basis.

Event and trigger conditions breakdown

Event name Trigger when
Application Installed Fired when user first opens your mobile application
Application Opened Each time the user loads the app
Screen Viewed Fired for each screen

 

Event Lifecycle Stage: Acquisition

To get funnel analytics nailed down, it is crucial to get your acquisition tracking set up correctly. One of the biggest challenges and missed opportunities we see is that Marketing Managers and Product Owners don’t take enough care when picking a mobile attribution software solution.

Some of our favorite platforms in this area is Branch and Appsflyer. True leaders in the field of mobile app installation attribution. The platforms will give you the ability to measure CPA metrics for all the different sources and campaigns.

ex. track mobile app game installations back to your paid advertising campaigns or summer promo email marketing campaign in a seamless way.

Event and trigger conditions breakdown

Event name Trigger when
Install Attributed Fired every time Appsflyer is able to attribute an install and where it came from

 

Event Lifecycle Stage: Activation

Immediately after you’ve opened the mobile app, you’ll get presented with the first step of their onboarding process.

Here you want to capture the user traits alongside a set of events to determine if users completed all the onboarding steps or got stuck somewhere down the line.

During the activation stage, Bejeweled will be in a position to collect personal identifiable information from the user in the form of a ‘first name’. A user trait that you want to collect within your analytics platform to ensure that you can tie all future events to the unique user.

Another crucial piece for Bejeweled is to run an identify API call method to set a unique ID (e.g. database id) for each individual user since there will be a lot of duplicate users if you only capture them by their first name.

Event and trigger conditions breakdown

Event name Trigger when
Onboarding – Confirmed Age Fired when user successful confirmed their age
Onboarding – Entered Name Fired when user successfully entered their name and have selected a profile picture
Onboarding – Selected Profile Picture Fired when user successfully entered their name and have selected a profile picture

 

Event Lifecycle Stage: Retention (critical actions)

The retention lifecycle stage is a pivotal step for the Bejeweled team to get right as a high priority tracking item. As I’ve mentioned earlier; this is a much higher priority area as compared to the ‘application installed’ and ‘acquisition’ stages.

Here they will be able to track and determine:

  • Frequency of usage (new users vs power users) i.e. stickiness of the app
  • Critical actions user take to get value from the mobile app game
  • Type of critical actions users take to trigger an “aha-moment”
  • How long after installation it takes for users to get to the “aha-moment”

It is also where a lot of A/B split-testing can take place to further encourage usage of the app. The Bejeweled team has a golden ticket to slice and dice their analytics data according to a set of behavioral segments.

Event and trigger conditions breakdown

Event name Trigger when
Entered Game Area User clicked to enter one of the many game areas.
Game Level Completed User completed level within game.
Clicked Help Button User clicked on the help button within the individual game screen.
Updated Game Settings User successfully updated game settings.
Revealed Hint User clicked on magnifying glass to reveal hint.
Entered Game Store User clicked on game store and enter the Bejeweled store.
Game Store Purchase Cancelled User selected game store item to continue to the next step in the purchase process.
Profile – Stats Updated User completed game level and upgraded their profile stats. // it will be initiated by Bejeweled’s back-end and is not directly updated by the user’s input.
Profile – Badges Unlocked User completed game level and unlocked a badge achievement. // it will be initiated by Bejeweled’s back-end and is not directly updated by the user’s input.

 

5. Conclusion:

You want to be a smart Mobile App Game Marketer or Analyst who take their tracking and analytics serious.

It starts with a solid tracking plan to help you:
a) pick the right events to track;
b) set the correct trigger condition;
c) add the best event properties (attributes) and
d) push event properties to your analytics platform to learn more about your users.

You will be in a much better position to answer tough business questions, reduce your abandonment and grow in order to reach your targets.

 

6. Next steps you can take:

If you enjoyed this breakdown, you can get the full Bejeweled tracking plan template through our Web & Mobile App Analytics Bundle. It also includes 3 other industry type plans plus other resources around Segment.com and Mixpanel. It’s everything you need to get started in analytics.

One more thing before you go! Are you getting the data you need to grow your company?

I find most companies are stuck with high-level metrics and they aren't able to properly understand what actually drives user growth for their web and mobile products. To do that, you need the right data and the right tools.

If this sounds like your situation, then you should download our free tracking plan (and tutorial video). This is the document that you should create before you ever implement tools like Mixpanel, Amplitude, Segment, and Intercom. Click the image below to download your own free tracking plan (and tutorial video).

Wiehan Britz
Wiehan Britz
Husband, Father, Optimizer & Analyst. I help Marketers and Product Managers gain the right access to quantitative and qualitative insights to help drive their business forward. My life consist of a good balance between technical implementations, report generation and spending time with my lovely wife.

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