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3 Tips for Mobile Gamer Retention

Retention is always a hot button topic for mobile app design companies. How can you get people engaged and using your app on a daily or weekly basis rather than a competitor’s offering? Today we wanted to share 3 tips for mobile gamer retention to help with that problem for those crafting apps within the mobile gaming niche.

The average retention rate for a mobile game in its first week is about 35% when looking at historical surveys over the past year. That number drops off each week typically by about 10% in the first week and then on average a drop of half of the prior week, every week, over the next few months.

Combating that decrease takes a strong focus on retention, which from a business perspective is a smart investment because it is still cheaper to retain existing customer than acquire new ones as replacements. Plus, a focus on retention from a user’s first download boosts the average retention rate from the beginning resulting in a slower loss of users.

3 Tips for Mobile Gamer Retention

  • Easy to Start – There is a classic quote, ‘a minute to learn but a lifetime to master’ that has been applied to everything from golf to chess to poker. That concept needs to be incorporated into every mobile game where it literally takes a minute to learn the game. Studies have shown that people who can reach level 5 or beyond within two moderately timed sessions have a greater retention rate than those who don’t. The reasoning is simple as the conditioning they receive from being successful in beating levels reinforces the enjoyment of the activity. So it makes a lot of sense to have the levels start off quickly and easily before increasing difficulty and skill requirements.
  • Daily Login Reward – This is something that has caught on more recently as the daily login reward creates incentive to check in on the app, especially if the login reward is progressive. For example, Zynga Poker has a free daily slot reward. Each successive day you log in the slot reward is multiplied by an increasing bonus amount until you reach 100% after a week. This regular reward that is progressive increases the commitment by a user to the game (and turns it into a habit) which then provides added reason to return each day. After all, it would be a shame to have to re-start that bonus at 10% when you had earned 100%.
  • Clear Goal – A lot of people who play games want to not only pass time but to also be challenged. Part of a challenge is having a goal and then achieving it. To that end, games need to have some sort of clear goal built into what users are doing. For some that is simply beating levels. Candy Crush then added to the enjoyment by allowing social sharing to provide friendly competition and ranking among friends. Other games have added daily or weekly tournaments to provide a competition goal where people are vying for a top place on the leader board. No matter what type of goal method is chosen, it is important that one is in place to increase people’s commitment to the challenge and meeting or exceeding the goal.

The bottom line is that retention has been shown to be a critical component of any successful app including mobile games. These 3 tips for mobile gamer retention when implemented properly can definitely help increase player commitment and thus your retention numbers which is cheaper than acquiring new customers. In the long term having proper strategies in place for both acquisition and retention from the start will make the overall venture much more profitable and profit is the reason most of us started making apps to begin with.

Be sure to check back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for great new Lounge Lizard blog articles.

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