Salespeople know that “whales” are the rare, big customers who spend the most money. In gaming, these legendary players are the tiny minority and it is always smart to know who they are. So, for starters, our Katana® Social Analytics Engine will show you all of them.

But Katana’s super-power takes this concept in a new direction. Thanks to our invention of Social Value®, Katana can detect a whole separate class of valuable customers: Social Whales. By understanding your players’ social networks and the spending habits within them, we are able to detect which players wield an outsized level of social influence.

These Social Whales drive spending among others. They are your super-influencers. When they play, others play more. When they buy, others buy. For any one of them, you get increased revenue created out of thin air thanks to their social connectedness and their personalities.

Social Whale Network Graph

Who are these people?

Unlike Twitter-based scoring systems, we’re not helping you find celebrities with oodles of followers. Katana shows you the everyday social influencers with 1, 2 or 200 friends who make an impact. Sometimes these are formal group leaders of clans and guilds, but most often they are simply regular players with charisma and a positive effect on others. Often your best whales are just the one friend of a group of 2-4 others who acts as a leader or driving force.

You may think that the players who spend a lot are also the Social Whales. They usually aren’t. We see some high-spending players have a lot of Social Value, but they are usually the exceptions. Some Social Whales spend little or no money at all. Because they don’t have a single profile, the only way to find - and quantify them - is with Katana’s social value analytics.

How many are there?

In an average online game, social value whales are around 10% of the total population. If the game is using a subscription model, these are the players who get others to play more. In a free-to-play model, these are the players whose presence causes more spending on all of your items.

True Social Value of a Social Whale<sup>®</sup>

True Social Value of a Social Whale

How much value are we talking about?

A McKinsey & Company report suggested that social influence accounts for 20-50% of all spending. Based on what we’ve seen across a number of titles, that’s a pretty good estimate. We find that in some games, the Social Value can be as low as 5-10%, while in others it may soar to nearly half of all spending. The more social the game is, the more likely that percentage is going to be higher.

If you’re thinking about the bottom line and are intuiting how much value this unlocks, you’re probably getting a sense of the power of this metric. Yes, Social Value can account for a significant portion of your revenue, and yes, this is unlocking it for the first time.

What can I do with these Social Whales?

There are three clear value propositions that come with tracking your Social Whales, and Katana has been built to help you take action on all of them. These involve acquisition, monetization and retention:

  1. Acquisition is normally about getting more whales, and now it can also be about getting more Social Whales. A smart use of Katana’s segmentation analytics is to see which acquisition sources truly pay off. That’s traditionally meant knowing the ARPU of those players, and spotting the whales. Now it can also mean knowing where the Social Whales are coming from.

  2. Monetizing Social Whales is an entirely new way to increase revenue, yet it’s as basic as human nature. Treat these social influencers well and watch their friends play and spend more. Katana’s tools let you test what works in your particular title, too.

  3. Retention has always been about keeping your most valuable players, but up until now you’ve never known the social ripple effect of a departure. When one player leaves, who else will go, or how much other revenue will disappear? Now you know who you should work hard to keep, and the value of their friends. Katana® lets you measure, strategize, and target these players with precision.
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