How player support can improve KPIs and increase game revenue
The games industry has always been highly competitive. In a market where hundreds of titles are released each day, companies cannot rely solely on a games’ design and quality to attract and retain players. This is increasingly so with more and more games making their profit from post-launch expansion sets and downloadable content.
Luckily, there are ways to track performance in such a competitive environment. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) measure specific objectives, with certain KPIs serving as a sign of long-term financial success. Examples include the number of new players a game receives, an increase in spending per player and the length of time a player is active in a particular game.
In this article we shed some light on three basic KPIs that are specifically affected by player support and community management. Both of which are essential for player satisfaction, retention, and ultimately, for a company’s bottom line.
The retention rate is defined as the number of users who have played your game in a given period and continue to play in the next comparable timeframe. This can be measured by day, week, month or year. The longer a game keeps its players on board the more likely it is to be profitable given the increased probability of a player making in-game purchases. And by generating increased revenue you can cover your marketing expenses, overhead and research.
One way to achieve a higher retention rate is by developing an emotional connection with your players by matching gamers with like-minded staff who understand how the game is played, or better yet, are players themselves. Community management is a make-it-or-break-it factor for many players. It's well known that people try a game because of the gameplay, the graphics, or a good marketing campaign. But they keep playing because of the level of service and the people they play with. If your community management brings players what they need in terms of entertainment, gaming experience, socialization and accomplishment, they will be more likely to remain loyal to the game.
Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)
ARPU is the overall spend across your entire player base, including those who don’t spend at all. When players like the game and are engaged, they are more likely to pay for in-game extras because they find value in it. However, if your ARPU is on the decline, there are ways to improve this KPI.
One of which is to boost player loyalty by offering your players personalized solutions. For example, you can offer your higher-paying players premium support solutions including VIP and loyalty programs. All players appreciate being treated like valued customers. Proactive call backs and special perks such as free gift cards, exclusive in-game items, branded swag, and opportunities for beta testing, can help to drive engagement with players.
Despite our best wishes, there is still no secret formula for going viral. One of the reasons why some games are so successful is simply because of happy customers. If you offer a great service and keep your customers engaged, it’s likely that they will become your brand ambassadors. Word-of-mouth is among the most effective advertising tactics as people generally place more trust in recommendations from peers than advertisers. While there is no simple equation for achieving virality, a happy community is certainly an important factor as satisfied players are active online, loyal and encourage participation amongst their friends.
As the industry becomes increasingly fragmented and competitive, a good player support strategy with strong KPIs can be a game changer. By fostering a caring culture, studios and publishers can improve the overall player experience resulting in increased player loyalty, retention, recommendations and player base.
Curious to know more? Download our white paper to find out how a well-structured player support strategy can directly impact your bottom line.