The Tenets of Community Management Series: Part 2 of 3

Individual User Metrics--Happy players make healthy communities, but how do you make your players want to stick around? This article will cover individual user targeting programs.

Individual User Metrics


Happy players make healthy communities, but how do you make your players want to stick around? This article will cover individual user targeting programs. It will discuss the users who game developers should target (hint: the most influential, not the biggest spenders), and examples of targeting programs. Examples include individual engagement to reduce churn, increase time spent in game and upselling from F2P.


Users, players, customers: No matter what you choose to call them they all determine the lifespan of a game. Their behaviors control the revenue stream and popularity of a game, determining whether the game will go viral or crash and burn. Happy players make healthy communities, so how do we make them stick around?


To better understand the players, user analytics are becoming increasingly important. Users can download games, install them, speak with fellow gamers, post about the game on social media sites, spend virtual (or real) currency, stream, etc. The list of actions a user has with a game are endless, all of which can be tracked and archived. By capturing such information, along with personal data of the user, we can begin to understand the core customer base of the game.


But the user itself has also changed over the years. The image of a teenager, holed up in his bedroom playing video games until 4 a.m. is no longer the norm for users. “People of all ages play video games,” explains Jason Allaire , associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State University and co-director of the Gains Through Gaming Lab. “There is no longer a ‘stereotype game player,’ but instead a game player could be your grandparent, your boss, or even your professor.”


So how do we find the users that matter? Which users are influential in the game’s success and which ones are merely a statistic?  


To find this data, we need to focus less on the demographics of the user and more on the user’s specific actions and behaviors with the game. That is, how long is the user playing the game? The more time spent gaming, the happier the user is with the product.


These ‘repeat users’ are the prime target for game developers and therefore must adopt targeting programs to differentiate their customers.



KPIs, or key performance indicators, are used to measure how popular games are. For example, some indicators that are often looked at include: daily vs. weekly active users, daily vs. weekly retained users, and session duration. By adopting a program that can easily track and house all of this data for you, it’s easy to see which customers are sticking around and which are clicking off. KPIs allow you to view these differences, but understanding them is the next step.


Customer Engagement

The first program is customer engagement. This is all about tracking customer activity before they cancel a subscription. It’s about finding the customer that is at risk of leaving so you begin to engage with them, and hopefully change their mind.


During tracking, focus on how often the customer visits the site, for how long, and what actions they take. Are they utilizing key features or simply clicking around without a purpose?

Once tracking is in place, create a scoring system, with a low score indicating little time spent on the game and alerting your customer success team to reach out to this user. By identifying what type of customer each user is at an early stage, you’re able to better work towards customer retention.


Upselling from F2P

Every game’s hope is to upsell from F2P, or free to play, encouraging the user to begin making payments to the game. But this transition away from being free isn’t so easy. The upsell has to be handled gently and correctly.

Think about when solicitor’s come knocking on your door or consistently call your phone. There is nothing more annoying than a continued message being shoved in front of your face about a product you already know about and/or currently have. Though solicitation through the screen is a much different platform, it presents the same problem: when is your upsell too hard?

Games have to offer the digital upsell in a way that is not too invasive or pushy; let the message be heard, but don’t offer it every 20 seconds. For example, at the end of every level, track the user’s success and offer ways in which to improve - all of which will require an upsell.

Mastering the art of upselling adds value for your players and the game itself. You’ll see an increase in engagement, retention, and monetization.


By paying close attention to KPIs and properly tracking and addressing them, you can take advantage of individual user metrics to transform your game to the next level. By creating a product that users love, pushing for better customer engagement, and incorporating upselling, you’re sure to see an increase in player retention and happiness. Happy players make healthy communities, so what are you waiting for?


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