3/19/2018 2:02:30 PM
For gaming companies data unification is critical
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App Developer Magazine
For gaming companies data unification is critical

Game Development

For gaming companies data unification is critical


Monday, March 19, 2018
13,849

Why proper behavioral game player analytics are necessary in order to grow your gaming company.

When it comes to understanding the entirety of player behavior, one thing that often gets in the way is data fragmentation. Gaming companies often have customer data stored across multiple systems, platforms, and software, resulting in a “siloed” model that fails to create a complete picture of the player journey.

The good news is that behavioral analytics technology is now helping gaming companies of all sizes expose the entire player journey, from conversion to churn. When data is fragmented across multiple platforms, getting the answers and insights that studios need to understand their players requires wrangling data manually. Not only that, but without behavioral analytics, it becomes virtually impossible to monetize those insights effectively.

From improving retention to optimizing marketing channels, here’s why data unification is critical for gaming companies to understand player and user behavior.

Visibility into the player journey


The problem with wrestling with fragmented data is that it’s not only time-consuming, but prevents your teams from getting a full picture of the player journey. Therefore, they’re unable to make data-driven decisions in real time. Behavioral analytics involves unifying data from multiple touchpoints in the customer lifecycle. Only when you’ve merged your advertising, activation, interaction, and usage data can you expose the entire player journey in a way that will allow you to develop meaningful customer segments and touchpoints.

Typically, the player journey is divided into six segments: Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Purchase, Retention, and Advocacy. Mapping out these steps in the user journey is vital to understanding exactly what’s keeping your users hooked, and the first step is unifying user data via a data warehouse. A data warehouse that’s optimized for behavioral and time-series analysis helps studios perform an ad-hoc analysis, so they can understand why some players engage with their games and why others don’t. You’ll then be able to tinker with behavior elements and different points in the player journey to achieve outcomes like increased in-game currency spending or boost its virality.

Enhances player retention


Running off data that’s stored in so many different locations - which a majority of online gaming companies are doing - decreases the necessary understanding it takes to combat player attrition. Conversely, companies that take a unified approach to data are able to enhance their player retention rates, creating a competitive advantage since very few gaming companies have a clear understanding of the player journey and corresponding insights into player retention. Just take one of the most popular and successful online games, Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes, which only has a 4.5% user retention rate after 30 days.

Consolidating data in a warehouse fashion has several positive effects in terms of player retention. First, you’ll be able to see what channels brings the most loyal of players to your game, and focus more of your marketing efforts on only the most effective media. And only with unified data can you then begin to implement behavioral analytics at a high level, uncovering the points in the game where players are having the most fun (and where they’re having the least). You can then tweak your game to make sure you build on the experiences that people love, and eliminate the ones they don’t.

Optimize lifetime customer value


Gaming companies should opt for software that guides customers towards the most effective marketing channels by leveraging unified data to provide a complete end-to-end view of the player journey. Studios can see which marketing channels are most effective, so they can then optimize marketing spend. Unified data also helps glean insights into what the best strategies to convert the potential future users they’re targeting. This feeds into optimizing - and increasing - the lifetime customer value (LTV) for each player. For example, you can easily see if users acquired through Facebook Ads have a higher LTV than those acquired via Google Adwords, and focus your future efforts accordingly.

They’ll also want to identify rough edges and problem areas in their games utilizing warehoused data to pinpoint where players are getting stuck. Companies can then address these issues in real-time to keep the gamers gaming, and increase the amount of revenue per player over time. These analytics are available to everyone within the organization, from the CEO and product managers all the way down to data teams and developers. This gives every department the same reliable analytics insights, so the entire company can row in the same direction when it comes to optimizing both the marketing mix and in-game experience to increase the LTV of each customer.

With all the tools, platforms, and software that gaming studios are using today, it’s tough wrangling all the data from multiple sources, much less gleaning actionable insights. We get it. But data unification is even more critical in today’s online gaming environment as it relates to understanding user behavior. By taking a warehousing approach in combination with behavioral analytics, you’ll be able to uncover the player journey, increase retention, and optimize the lifetime value of each and every gamer.
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