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User Acquisition

Five Ways Data Can Support Your Game’s Growth

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In mobile games, data isn’t only there to track the success of your games. When utilized correctly, data is the ultimate MVP when it comes to the growth of your game.

The second part of our Core Talks: Data After Dark event focused on the role of data in game growth. Lightheart Entertainment’s Co-founder Miikka Ahonen, Supercell’s Game Data Analyst Yasin Hatiboğlu and our Product & Growth Lead Dish Eldisnawy discussed various ways data can shape your game’s growth. Read on for expert advice on making data work for your game’s growth!

Finding the features that are worth the effort

Game teams are constantly balancing between executing big features – the ones that need a lot of time and effort but could draw in new players – and small features that can be published quickly, but might only result in short-term growth. This is what our panelists call “the feature prioritization problem.” Their solution? Try to estimate the impact versus effort of each feature with the help of existing data.

However, even data can only bring you so far – there’s a lot you won’t know until a feature is live and measurable. In such cases, you need to rely on your own conviction on top of the available data, and learn from the end results.

Guiding the rest of the game team to the right paths

When you have access to more data than you know what to do with, it can be difficult to figure out what data might be useful for the rest of the game team and how much data should be shared. The easy mistake is to only highlight which components aren’t gaining traction, when in fact it’s equally important to understand which parts of the game performed highly and helped retain players.

By having more visibility into this, the rest of the team can then allocate more resources to those areas. Likewise, when identifying aspects that players aren’t interacting with, the team can avoid developing similar ones in the future. Don’t keep this information just within the game team – all of these learnings should be shared with the rest of the studio, so that other teams can also learn from your data.

A/B testing only when there’s a business case

While the panelists highly recommend A/B testing, they also caution against doing it just to see what sticks. There should always be a business case behind every part of an A/B test – and if you can’t find one, it probably means you’re not testing the right things (or are just, well, testing for the sake of testing). Data can be the starting point for creating your case, or a hypothesis. However, past experiences can also be the basis of a hypothesis. Here, you can analyze data to see if it supports your initial gut feeling.

Influencing the wider roadmap

No matter what function of the game team you’re working in, everyone should have visibility into the larger roadmap: the goals for the game, related upcoming releases and so on. However, there should also be room to change the roadmap based on recent data and player activity.

Having regular meetings with the game team where the roadmap is reviewed is a good practice. While the actions on it might have made sense two months ago, critically evaluate whether there are any new developments in data that show that they’re not valid anymore, or if there are new learnings from another game that make a hypothesis worth re-examining.

Analyzing your competitors’ data

There is no shortage of mobile games with numerous different mechanics, genres and strategies – and there’s no shame in learning from your competitor’s data. If you have an idea for a good feature, it makes sense to see if another mobile game has done something similar and whether it worked well or not.

While it might feel tempting to only look at the current chart-toppers and see if there’s something you could adapt to your own game, our panelists caution against this. You won’t be able to recreate another game’s success by copying features one to one: instead, you should attempt to understand the intrinsic motivation of what worked for your competition and learn from that. It’s also worth looking at the graveyard – seeing what premises, mechanics and features didn’t work so you won’t repeat the mistakes of others. Gamerefinery and Playliner are a few great tools for inspiration and insights.

Five ways data can help your game’s growth

While there are multiple ways that data can be leveraged for the growth of your game, our experts highlighted the following five:

  1. Use data to tackle the feature prioritization problem and know which features should be prioritized, and which left in the pipeline.
  2. Share data with the rest of the game team – both successes and areas not working.
  3. Everyone likes a good A/B test, but be careful testing just for the sake of it. Use data to form a business case for all parts of an A/B test.
  4. Have room for flexibility in your roadmap, so you can leverage timely data.
  5. Analyze the data available from other games – especially when it comes to aspects that didn’t work.

Is data your core skill?

If you are fluent in data, take a look at our open positions in Data & Analytics both in Helsinki and Berlin.

Apply now

Keep an eye out for our future Core Talks events as well and join us when the next one comes along!

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