Posts Tagged 'Social Games'

February 24, 2012

Kontagent: Tech Partner Spotlight

This is a guest blog featuring Kontagent, one of this month's addition to the SoftLayer Technology Partners Marketplace. Kontagent's kSuite Analytics Platform is a leading enterprise analytics solution for social and mobile application developers. Its powerful dashboard and data science expertise provide organization-wide insights into how customers interact within applications and how to act on that data. Below the video, you'll see an excerpt from a very interesting interview they facilitated with Gaia Online's CEO with fantastic insight into mobile app metrics.

Important Mobile App Metrics to Track

At Kontagent, we've helped hundreds of social customers win by helping them gain better insights into their users' behaviors. We're always improving our already-powerful, best-in-class analytics platform, and we've been leveraging our knowledge and experience to help many of our social customers make a successful transition into the mobile space, too.

Whether you're in the early stages of developing a mobile application, or you've already launched it and have a substantial user base, looking to social app developers for a history lesson on how to do it right can give you a huge head-start, and greater chance at success.

Gaia Online has "done it right" with Monster Galaxy — a hit on both Facebook and iOS. In the first installment of our Kontagent Konnect Executive Interview Series, we spoke with CEO Mike Sego on how the company is applying many of the lessons it learned in moving social-to-mobile, including:

  • The metrics that are most important to succeeding on mobile
  • How to monetize on the F2P model
  • How to successfully split-test on iOS (yes, it is possible!)
  • Other tactics used to keep players engaged and coming back for more

Q: What are the overarching fundamentals for developers who want to make the social to mobile transition? Do these fundamentals also apply to mobile developers in general?
A: Applying the knowledge you gained on Facebook to developing for mobile is the most effective way we've found to succeed in the mobile space.

When it comes to content, the mechanics are almost identical for what motivates user engagement, retention, and monetization between mobile and social. Appointment mechanics, energy mechanics, leaving players wanting more, designing specific goals that are just out of reach until multiple play sessions, etc.—the user experience is consistent.

When it comes to social and mobile game apps, we have found that free-to-play models are the most successful at attracting users. Beyond that, you should focus on a very tight conversion funnel; once a new user has installed your application, analyze every action she takes through the levels or stages of your app. When you start looking at cohorts of users, if there is a spike in drop-offs, you should start asking yourself, 'What is it about this particular stage that could be turning off users? Did I make the level too difficult? Was it not difficult enough? What are some other incentives I can bake into this particular point of the app to get them to keep going?'

But, as you continue to develop your application, keep in mind that you should develop and release quickly, and test often. The trick is to test, fine-tune and iterate with user data. These insights will help you to improve conversion. Spending a disproportionate amount of time instrumenting and scrutinizing the new user experience will pay dividends down the line. This is true for both social and mobile games.

Q: What are the metrics you pay most attention to?
Just as it was in social, the two biggest levers in mobile are still minimizing customer acquisition costs (CAC), and maximizing lifetime value (LTV). The question boils down to this: How can we acquire as many users as possible, for as little money as possible? And, how can we generate as much revenue as possible from those users? Everything else is an input into those two major metrics because those two metrics are what will ultimately determine if you have a scalable hit or a game that just won't pay for itself.

User retention over a longer period of time
Specifically, look at how many users stick around, and how long they stick around, i.e., Day 1, Day 7 retention. (Day 1 retention alone is too broad for you to fully understand what needs to be improved. That's the reason for testing the new user experience.)

Cost to acquire customers
We look at the organic ratio—the number of users who come to us without us having paid for them. This is different from the way we track virality in social since our data for user source isn't as detailed… continued

The full interview goes on a bit longer, and it has profound responses topics we alluded to earlier in the post. We don't want to over-stay our generous welcome here on the SoftLayer blog, so if social and mobile application development are of interest to you, register here (for free) to learn more from the complete interview.

-Catherine Mylinh, Kontagent

This guest blog series highlights companies in SoftLayer's Technology Partners Marketplace.
These Partners have built their businesses on the SoftLayer Platform, and we're excited for them to tell their stories. New Partners will be added to the Marketplace each month, so stay tuned for many more come.
January 8, 2010

Social Reality? Really?

As I sat in front of my computer Sunday evening, after the Cowboys flat out destroyed the Eagles in reality, just about to go play a few of my favorite Facebook games, I noticed a link to an article that I knew I had to read. I will give the writer his due at the end of the blog so you can read it for yourself and form your own opinion; but, I must say it was quite humorous.

Its title alone can be answered in one word I believe, and; the tag line under the picture in the article is simply amazing.

The title is “What does Farmville Mean for Farmers?” Wait for it… Wait for my one word answer… Nothing! The lone picture in the article is of some crop squares looking freshly plowed with no crops growing and a small avatar frowning instead of smiling with a single tear rolling down his cheek. The line under the picture states, “Stop caring about your virtual farm and start caring about real ones.” To quote the younger generation all I have to say is, “Really? Really?”

At first, I am thinking that farmers worldwide are neglecting their crops and prices are going up on wheat, corn, fruit, etc. I decided to read further. “The Sun Always Shines. Pink cows produce strawberry milk. Soybeans take two days to grow and ripen. Something is not right. It’s too clean. Nothing smells. Coffee beans grows next to squash.” Ok. At this point, I am having a hard time trying to correlate this to “actual” farming. By the way, it hasn’t gotten any clearer.

The author then goes on to discuss how virtual farming can be relaxing and give you a virtual country calm . It can transport you “somewhere else for a minute or an hour.” I can’t decide if the author thinks this is a good thing or not. I personally do. Sometimes it’s nice to just sit and click and not think about everything else going on in the world. Carpel tunnel or no carpel tunnel, it is just harmless mindless, clicking; oh and, you might make a new friend in a new state at the same time. I have a few myself. I have never met them in person, but they are nice folks and we have fun playing the games.

Then it takes a turn for the worse; the author suddenly switches from a social game to reality. He describes the trials of a person and her homesteading experience. After trying to live off the land, her marriage crumbed and she was forced to move back to the city. I am not making lite of the hardship of farmers with this blog—as I know this is a very hard lifestyle. In my neck of the woods, I see rows of corn never produce because of a lack of rain and end up baled for hay. I see winter wheat turn to dust. As it will this week when we have 3 days of freezing temperatures; and, the plants just aren’t big enough to make it through it yet. There are forces of nature that farmers just have to deal with and hope for the best; but, let’s not blame a Facebook application for their trials.

The final sentence in the article states, “It’s time to support actual small farmers and stop playing around.” I can agree with that statement. Maybe the makers of Farmville could start a fund for small farmers that are deserving of help, maybe. But the folks that actually play the game have no business driving the modern equipment used by farmers. So, please don’t ask them to show up at local farms and ask to help. That would be a huge social reality mess!

Normally this is the place where I would try to somehow tie this into SoftLayer, but in this one I am just drawing a blank.

For your reading and commenting pleasure http://www.good.is/post/What-Does-Farmville-Mean-for-Farmers/?GT1=48001.

Subscribe to social-games