Engagement Metrics for Facebook and iOS Games: Q2 2013

In addition to our on-going analysis and consulting performed in the virtual world / MMO markets, KZero also offers a full suite of consulting and analytics services for  developers of Facebook and iOS games. This post is the first in a series examining key metrics for popular SocNet games on Facebook along with popular iOS games.By popular, we mean over 100k MAUs in June 2013 for Facebook games and over 100k downloads for iOS games.

To start with, we’re looking at the Engagement Metrics, commonly known as DAU/MAU, or, Daily Active Users as a % of Monthly Active Users. This metric is extremely useful for assessing how often players return to a game during a monthly period.

We’ve gathered this data since Q1 2011 from the following sources:

  • Client Audits: We perform KPI and metric benchmarking for our clients with games in these categories.
  • Game-Supplied: If you don’t ask you don’t get. We receive data on request on an on-going basis from game developers.
  • Market Data: In addition to the two direct data sources above, we gather data from a variety of publically available sources.

To add a further level of insight, we segment the game data into genres, as follows:

  • Casual Games: These are typically 2D games that are very easy to learn how to play but typically have a never-ending game mechanic. Examples would be Tetris, Angry Birds, BeJeweled (at the top end) and sub-genres such as arcade, running and racing type games in the mid-range. These games appeal to users of all ages with a bias towards males.

  • Word/Quiz Games: These are typically text-based (with supporting graphics) that are quiz, general knowledge, logic or solution based. Examples would be Words With Friends, Scrabble and the Puzzler series. These games appeal most to adult gamers, with a slight bias towards males. Age-wise the prime segment is 25 years and older.

  • Nurturing: These are typically graphics-led games involving virtual pets, character/avatar customisation and other games with nurturing mechanics(such as cooking). Examples would be Talking Tom, Tap Tap Hotel, Ovi Pets, Stardoll and other virtual pet games. These games appeal to kids, tweens and early teens with a strong bias towards girls/females.

  • Resource Management: These are typically games whereby users have to gather, harvest and manage assets within a gaming environment which often resembe a 2 or 2.5D virtual world. Importantly though, these games are typically not avatar driven. These games on SocNets heavily leverage the social graph and examples include FarmVille (and ‘X’-Ville variants), Hay Day, Cafe World, Airport City, GalaStories and Sim City. These games appeal most to adult gamers and in particular women aged 30+.

  • Light Virtual World: These are typically games based around the principles of virtual worlds and are usually avatar-driven with elements such as room customisation and socialisation. Examples would be YoVille, Social Life, KingsRoad, Avataria, Habbo Hotel, Happy Life, sMeet, Sanalike and HeroZero. These games appeal most to young and middle-aged adults with a bias towards women.

First off, here’s the Engagement chart for Facebook games, showing quarterly data from Q1 2011 to Q2 2013.

dau mau facebook games

Focussing on DAU/MAU, games with Nurturing mechanics have the highest engagement. This isn’t too surprising due to the underlying game activities related to Nurturing, such as caring for and interacting with virtual pets and avatar customization. It’s a concept well-used over in the virtual world sector for encouraging users to log-in as much as possible. Also, users (and in particular younger ones) can often feel a strong bond and sense of ‘ownership’ to games with the Nurturing mechanic.

The game genre with the second highest engagement (as at Q2 2013) is Quiz games. Quite often these games leverage the social graph meaning ‘friend play requests’ is a key driver for encouraging repeat usage. The use of daily/weekly leaderboards is also a great way of getting users to re-engage with games on a more frequent basis.

The game genre with the lowest engagement metric is Casual Games. These games are often used for ‘quick game fixes’, meaning that they don’t typically have over-arching narratives or reasons to play on a frequent basis – the games can be played in a short user session without the need to continually return to the game in order to advance or level-up.

Here’s the same chart for iOS games.

dau mau ios games

On a like-for-like basis, iOS games generally have a lower Engagement metric than Facebook games.

Nurturing, the top game genre for Facebook games is also the top genre for iOS for Engagement. Quiz games, which is second highest for Facebook games is in third place for iOS games, with Light VWs taking second place. Casual games has the lowest engagement for both Facebook and iOS games.

Next up, we’ll be looking at the Paying User Conversion rate (Paying Users as a % of Active Users).

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