In the world of game analytics, the first question every game developer should ask themselves is if analytics are needed, and if so, will they be actionable. Many businesses get caught up in the idea of being “data driven,” but creating data only for data’s sake isn’t necessary. Once a developer finds an actionable focus, analytics can come into play.
Setting up analytics has four components: Instrumentation, Review of SDK method, Security, and “real time.” Instrumentation is the act of logging events that are going to power all the metrics - it sets up the “hook” that alerts the system to keep track of this data. SDK measurements can vary and a good SDK will let you capture custom events. Reviewing SDK ensures the business is aligned with the analytics company. Security is a major focus for all businesses, for data is precious and no one wants to lose data or have it wind up in the wrong hands. Make sure that security measures are in place. Lastly, determine whether or not you need your data to be measured in “real time.” Real time simply means that data is being tracked as we speak. For example, a player logging into a game can be measured in “real time,” but more complex actions cannot be. For many cases, real time data is not needed.
It’s easy to get lost in the endless stream of new terms and acronyms that gaming analytics use, so here are the top 5 you should know:
- ARPU: Average revenue per user - the total amount of spending, divided by the number of users.
- CaC: Cost of Customer Acquisition - it’s crucial to know how much your players cost to bring in.
- LTV: Lifetime Value - the amount of money that a person has spent to date, and how much we expect them to spend. CaC vs. LTV is the key equation in paid gaming; the tradeoff between the two determines if a profit is being made.
- Attribution: Measurement of where the players come from.
- Distribution: Stay away from averages, instead focus on standard deviation.