Top metrics & KPIs game developers should track:
Releasing a game into the wild isn’t enough to guarantee success. Launching marketing campaigns and promoting to influencers and media outlets is a good next step, but unless you track and interpret certain key metrics, you’re still operating with a blindfold on.
Game developers can cut through a lot of the guesswork surrounding releasing and promoting a title by monitoring a few key performance indicators (KPIs). These include analytics relating to game purchases, website visits, media mentions, customer habits, and more. Understanding these metrics will help define effective promotions that will boost a game’s visibility and increase sales.
Gross revenue is a KPI just about every team keeps an eye on. It’s a simple measure of how much money the business brings in before expenses, and it provides a good baseline understanding of how well a brand and its games are performing on the market.
Revenue trends should be used as a launching point for digging deeper into other data points, not as an endpoint unto themselves. Uncovering the “why” behind trends and spikes and sags can lead to higher and more stable revenue over time. It’s great that gross revenue is on the rise, but if you don’t understand why it’s happening, you can’t replicate or sustain the trend.
Conversions happen whenever a visitor completes a specific goal on your website. Your goal may be to funnel visitors from a landing page to a purchase page or to drive clicks to an online store. Either way, the more people who do this, the higher your conversion rate will be, and the more viable leads you’ll generate.
The simple way to find conversion rate is to divide target conversions by total visitors, then multiply by 100%. So, if 100,000 people visited your landing page and 2,500 completed a purchasing goal, your conversion rate is 2.5%.
There is no hard and fast rule for what makes a good conversion rate, it all comes down to the type of goals your team sets. Simpler goals such as joining a mailing list lend themselves to a higher conversion rate, as they’re easier for visitors to complete. More complex goals such as converting a visitor to a paying customer will be much lower.
Instead of worrying over actual conversion numbers, a better solution is to note which direction they are trending. If a campaign produces a 54% conversion rate one month but 48% the next, it’s time to take a closer look at other metrics to see what might be causing the decline.
Similar to conversion rates, cost per acquisition (CPA) is the price a business effectively pays to acquire new customers. Every campaign you run puts a dent in the operating budget. If those campaigns are successfully converting, though, new customers will come streaming in. By dividing total costs by the number of acquired customers, you can see how expensive it is to bring in new paying users.
Calculating CPA is a simple matter of adding all marketing costs together and dividing it by the number of customers acquired during the same time period. A lower CPA is better, of course, but the KPI isn’t as simple as looking at the number and thinking “wow, that’s high”. Factors such as the lifetime value of a customer change what a good CPA might be for each business. If customers make more purchases over the course of the year, it’s perfectly all right to have a higher CPA.
Supermarkets and retail chains pay close attention to cart fill, which is a measure of how many items each customer loads into their cart. Getting people through the doors is the hard part, so when they do decide to make a purchase, business owners want that purchase to be as large as possible.
Average order value (AOV) is the average amount spent each time a customer places an order. If a player buys two in-game items for a total of $5, then comes back and buys two more for a total of $3, the average order value is $4. It’s the same as cart fill but carried out on a massive, digital scale.
A golden rule of sales is that it’s easier to convince a current customer to make another purchase than it is to gain a new customer. Focusing on boosting AOV will usually produce better results than focusing purely on conversions or lead generation. Tracking and improving AOV is the most direct route business can take to improving revenue.
Customer retention as a KPI offers insight into overall user satisfaction. This is usually measured by the churn rate, a metric that shows the percentage of customers lost during a specific time period. A high churn rate means customers aren’t satisfied with your offerings and are either canceling their subscriptions or refusing to buy your new products.
Subscriptions are an effective method that game developers can use to increase customer loyalty. By providing a premium account status paired with discounts, exclusives, and other subscriber freebies, users are far more likely to stick around for months and years.
Every time a media outlet mentions one of your games, your reputation is affected. Good reviews, negative experiences, and everything in-between builds first impressions for new customers and can affect how current customers perceive your brand. Both of these will impact everything from conversions to sales.
Keeping tabs on big media outlets is a good starting point for this KPI, but most PR experts suggest daily monitoring of social media handles, game names, company names, and linkbacks to your website. Knowing the general buzz about each of your releases or announcements can help shape future marketing strategies for the better.
E-mail marketing efforts deliver an ROI of 122%, roughly four times higher than social media or paid searches. Mailing lists are a fast and low-overhead solution to starting a strong e-mail marketing campaign. Site visitors can join with just a few clicks, making them easy to convert into leads, and existing customers will join for special deals and exclusive announcements.
There are dozens of services that can help you create, improve, and promote mailing lists, as well as tracking subscriber trends. Xsolla offers a built-in solution that pairs well with other services such as Pay Station and Site Builder, allowing teams to launch and monitor e-mail campaigns quickly and easily.
Looking for an all-in-one solution for launching and selling your games? Xsolla has the tools you need, including ways to monitor the KPIs and metrics mentioned above.
Schedule a call today with an expert at firstname.lastname@example.org