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Increase player re-engagement to improve mobile game performance

To better understand how game developers can increase re-engagement rates, we conducted research about mobile game usage and motivations.

Leo Giel, Blogger

October 24, 2023

4 Min Read

Mobile game developers are challenged to increase player re-engagement rates to grow revenue.

This is due to the fact that mobile games typically retain about 30% of the users who downloaded the game after the first day, according to data from Liftoff. This data point highlights the challenge of mobile game re-engagement.

If game developers can boost day-one re-engagement metrics, they’ll significantly increase revenue and Life-Time Value (LTV) per user. This is particularly important given the privacy-driven challenges mobile game developers are facing lately.

To better understand how game developers can increase re-engagement rates, we conducted research about mobile game usage and motivations.

When and why are mobile gamers playing

In our research survey, we asked users when they played mobile games. The top answers were during ‘idle moments of the day’ (64.8%), followed by ‘before sleep’ (45.2%), ‘morning bathroom time’ (31.2%), ‘morning coffee’ (29.5%), and ‘while commuting’ (24.3%).

When players were asked what motivation brings them back to the mobile game, the top answer was ‘to collect daily rewards’ (45.3%), followed by ‘to fill idle moments’ (43.1%), ‘it’s automatic behavior – I don’t think about it, I just open the game’ (38.9%), and ‘I have to go back in order to keep progressing’ (29.5%).

From these two questions, we can see some very clear mobile game re-engagement opportunities around dayparts (mornings, and nighttime), as well as classic motivation techniques like getting ahead and achieving your goals.

A critical factor that can impact game re-engagement is whether a user enables mobile notifications. Our research found that 53.7% of surveyed users enable mobile notifications. This data point highlights the importance of encouraging players to accept notifications in the installation process by incorporating gamification to increase the mobile notification percentage.

But even for players who do not enable notifications, another way for game developers to engage with their users is via a dedicated mobile keyboard.

By gamifying keyboard usage, users can earn coins or points for tasks that encourage continued gameplay. With research showing that mobile keyboards are opened 80 times per day on average, this functionality provides an opportunity for game developers as well as their users to derive real value from the experience.

And that data point isn’t surprising. The keyboard also increases engagement metrics for other on-phone activities.

The dedicated mobile keyboard for a major global sports team generated more opens per day than that same sports team’s app, while simultaneously beating the app’s Daily Average Users (DAUs).

The use of the keyboard in game playing and as part of the player’s experience with the game and gaming community will also provide game developers with a new stream of data which can enable improving the in-game experience.

The addition of a keyboard as part of the in-game experience can also facilitate easier communication between players. What easier way to enable team members to communicate with each other via an in-game chat interface? The keyboard also simplifies communication with others in the game’s community and can serve as a social hub. From this social hub, game developers can highlight their social feeds while also providing game-specific stickers and GIFs that players can share with other players or friends and family outside of the game.

Supporting retention

A benefit that game developers gain from a dedicated mobile keyboard is a driver for retention. As noted above, 45.3% of game players surveyed said that what brings them back to their game is ‘to collect daily rewards’.  And among respondents of the same research survey who had turned off notifications, 62.7% said they opted out of notifications when downloading the mobile game. What these two answers show is that game players want to come back to the game but that notifications can be intrusive and off-putting. Beyond notifications, a keyboard enables a game developer to nudge users back into the game with branded messaging that doesn’t interrupt the users’ on-phone experience.

New revenue opportunities

In the same way that Google generates the lion’s share of its revenue from search, a dedicated mobile keyboard provides game developers with a new revenue stream made possible by search functionality. For search marketers actively seeking gamers – now, most of the planet – this search function enables generating revenue without bothering players in the middle of their game-playing experience.

Beyond search, other potential monetization opportunities for game developers include buttons, banners, and quest-based actions.

With 46.3% of the 1185 mobile gamers surveyed turning off notifications, it’s time for game developers to look for new and engaging tactics that will support gameplay re-engagement to increase mobile game revenue.

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