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Game Analytics: Basic Definitions – Part 2

By October 29, 2014 No Comments

ga-2Recently we talked about the importance of video game analytics and how to prepare for an analytics platform, covering event logging, SDK installation and data storage options in part 1 of this series.

Today we’ll be going over the basic definitions that you should know when using a game analytics platform. The language can be overwhelming and confusing at first due to the use of acronyms, but they’re very easy to understand and self-explanatory. Each of the basic definitions represent what we call KPI’s – Key Performance Indicators – measuring different aspects of how well or bad your video game is doing.

The first five top-level definitions you’ll want to add to your game analytics vocabulary are DAU, MAU, DAU/MAU, ARPU and ARPPU. If you’ve used an analytics platform before, you may know what they mean. Here are some basic definitions, applied to gaming:

  • DAU stands for Daily Active Users, the number of users who engage with your game on a daily basis, usually measured by logging in to your game.
  • MAU stands for Monthly Active Users, similar to DAU but measured on a monthly time frame. MAUis more useful for tasks like monthly reporting and finances.
  • DAU/MAU is the Daily Active Users divided by Monthly Active Users. This metric is useful for proportioning and comparison of data over time.
  • ARPU means Average Revenue Per User, which is the average spending across your total player base, including paying and non-paying customers. This metric can differ, depending on your business model – F2P games generally have a low ARPU while premium games have a higher one. ARPU can be measured on various time frames, but monthly ARPU is the most common.
  • ARPPU is the Average Revenue Per Paying User. This KPI measures the average spending across your total player base, only including paying customers.

There are a few other definitions you should know as well when using a game analytics platform, often shared with general marketing and analytics language:

  • Retention is the measurement of how many people come back to play your game, based on a specific time frame (1-day, 2-day or even 30-day), often shown as a percentage.
  • Concurrency is how many players are online at any given time. It’s similar to measuring traffic, and is useful for both the marketing department and IT department who may need to adjust server loads.

Our CEO Dmitri Williams wrote a blog post on Gamasutra, touching on a few more game analytics definitions you should know. Take a look at it here and stay tuned for part III – “Understanding Social in Games” – coming next month.