9 Basic Analytics Tips for Game Developers

In this article we will focus on the fundamentals of game analytics and which basic points you need to consider when setting up analytics for your games.

Analytics systems usually work based on events, or user actions in the game that were recorded by an analytics system. Most often analysts choose these events:

  • user registration
  • login
  • ​payment (virtual/real currency).

The events above are enough to calculate retention, user activity and monetization that answer 80% of questions.

The other 20% require some additional information about the events: click on the button, battles in the game, finishing tutorial, and so on. Such events are called custom events, and they are set separately for each game.

Setting custom events is a very important task, because if you set them right, it will be easier to analyze the game and demonstrate the challenges that the users are experiencing. Properly set event system will help you find the bottlenecks and points of growth in the game.

Find some of the tips below on how to set the data collection for your game.

Tip 1. Set the events right away

It often turns out that first we publish the game or app in the store, then look how it goes, and then add event tracking. That's not the best way to do it. Adding events is not a quick process, taking into account the update of the application in the store, and it is better to run it at the stage of development. Also, if after the launch your indicators are not great, you will not be able to make the right conclusions and make changes to the application on time.

During the development you already know in advance the key points your users will go through,  so why to delay setting of events for later then?

Tip 2. Use the parameters of the event

Along with the general information, you may also add a lot of parameters of this event to the analytics system: time of passing the level, the result of the fight, the number of attempts, the amount of virtual currency spent, etc. And then these parameters later may be used in other reports, including funnels.

Parameter setting helps reduce the number of the events sent. For example, instead of Battle_Win and Battle_Lost events, the event Battle_Finish can be sent and then Result parameter (0/1) - to send its result. This approach greatly simplifies further analysis of your game.

Tip 3. Use the global parameters

These parameters are called global because analysts recommend using them in all monitored events. In the event, you may set not only parameters of the events, but also user parameters.

For example:

  • Date of registration
  • Level
  • Traffic Source
  • Tag paying/not paying

Tip 4. Draw funnels in advance

At least on paper. If you know in advance which reports you'd like to create, it will be way easier to identify the key events. That’s how you can bring forward the most important in your game and analyze the previous events.

Tip 5. Analyze the first session in maximum detail

The first session is really important because this is the time when your user receives answers to the questions: What is this game? How is it different from the others? Why do I need it? How much does it cost?

In the first session, you set the ground for user retention and monetization. Even the smallest step during the first session  could be the point where users decide whether they want to keep playing your game. We'd recommend to keep track of the first session to eliminate all the bottlenecks in it. For example, here's how it looks in devtodev.

Tip 6. Track only confirmed purchases

A very common mistake when the user clicks on the Buy button, and then the game immediately sends to the system all the purchase information. But the user may cancel his payment after that for a number of reasons, and as a result, the data from the server will differ from the data from the system. An invalid data is even worse than no data at all.

Tip 7. Duplicate the information in two analytics systems

One of analytic systems could be paid (basic), and the other one — free. You just need to put in the key points of the game to check the accuracy of analytics.

Tip 8. Test, test, and test again

As I mentioned before, adding events into your game is not a fast process. Just be careful, as skipping one parameter will result in waiting for a month before it will be added. And one more month, until all users update the app.

It is better to do everything in advance. Record at least your own session and see if all the events are added correctly, if you haven't skipped any parameters, if there are no obvious errors.

Tip 9. Structure the events in your game

Events can be often literally on every control element on each form. As a result, there are hundreds of names of events in analytics, and only 5–10 of them will actually get into the reports. In addition, most of the analytics systems build their pricing on data points.

The other extreme is to set events only for a few key points in the project, and then find out that this amount of data is not enough to answer important questions about the behavior of users. Just keep in mind that you need to find the balance and keep track of the really important events.

Setting events   is a serious task in the game management, and it further allows you to locate problem areas and growth areas.

Check out devtodev Education Center for more info on game analytics. 

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