Iteration Makes Perfect

This weekend I spent some time poking around the very useful mobile analytics site, App Annie, which I believe most mobile developers and marketers are already familiar with. App Annie provides great mobile performance analytics and market trend-watching tools. With the rise of mobile app and software ecosystems like iOS, Google Play, and Amazon, games have become one of the most popular app categories. Mobile is no longer the “wild west”, and with the increasing availability of data, there are now numerous opportunities to explore player behavior in mobile games, like how to build effective mobile game funnels and monetize on freemium models.

Casual puzzle games like Candy Crush Saga, summer movie tie-ins like Monsters University and Despicable Me: Minion Rush, and Plants vs Zombies 2 have cashed in on the successful freemium app model. Freemium games entice players with a “free-to-play” invitation, then monetize through a variety of well-designed game mechanics and in-app purchases. These game mechanics and in-app purchases are successful because insights from player performance data can help craft and iterate sticky game mechanics, good pressure-point monetization design, immersive tutorial design, and effective game funnels.

The beauty of working in a digital industry is that everything is trackable. Nobody expects to launch a perfect product, but once data from beta-testing pours in, the time to test and iterate your product begins. With the aid of good tools, A/B tests that gain insights about players and product, an open analytical mind to parse through the data, and the willingness to take prompt actions based on insights, the room for product improvement has been largely expanded. The mobile gaming field has now become an open playground, full of opportunities.

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