RevenueSoon™ is now available!

June 15th, 2015 by Nick

If you want to predict how much revenue each particular user will spend on subscriptions, micro-transactions and purchases, RevenueSoon™ is the product for you. As an integral part of the Predictive Player Segments Platform, RevenueSoon™ allows you to optimally allocate the appropriate user-acquisition budget and customer service resources.

How does it work?

The Sonamine Predictive Player Segment platform automatically analyzes historical information to generate daily predictions of how much each user will spend in the future.   Within 10 business days of receiving historical information, RevenueSoon™ will be sent back to you on a daily basis.

What can you use RevenueSoon™ for?

You can segment the existing users based on their predicted revenue.  These different user segments can be treated in different ways to improve the user experience.  Additionally you can use these user segments to allocate your acquisition budget.

Sony Online Entertainment leverages Sonamine Predictive Player Scores

January 2nd, 2013 by Nick

Happy new year everyone!

There is a lot of industry interest in using data analytics in games.  Looking at the gamasutra or linkedin job board today, I see that Ubisoft, 2K games, MachineZone, Ngmoco, Microsoft, Z2live, Activision etc are all looking for data analysts.  Especially after it was revealed that the Democrats used a predictive scoring algorithm to allocate scare volunteer resources to get-out-the-vote, interest in using predictive analytics has never been higher, or more hyped.

But really, how do you actually use predictive scores in a day-to-day productionized manner to increase revenues and retention?  Well, one of Sonamine’s customer is Sony Online Entertainment, an industry leading MMO developer.  They have successfully integrated Sonamine predictive player scores into a full fledged player relationship management program that encompasses different player touch points, a communications calendar and different offers.  SOE presented their story at GDC Online in Austin.  (skip to link at bottom to get presentation).  Here are some of their lessons:

  • Develop a player relationship management program, with calendar of communications and offers.
  • Have a system that allows targeting to different sub-segments of players with appropriate messages.
  • Use Sonamine predictive scores to create different player segments.
  • Take the long view, it is a journey.
  • Do not underestimate the resources needed to pull this off.

Fill in a short form and download the Sony GDC presentation here.

Freemium games are not normal!

June 28th, 2012 by Nick

Read Nick’s blog post on Gamasutra.

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/NickLim/20120626/173051/Freemium_games_are_not_normal.php

Showing promotions to mobile game players

February 6th, 2012 by Nick

When a player is in your game and ready to purchase something with real money for the first time, how do you show a promotion to her?  After having spoken to dozens and dozens of developers, we are convinced that this capability must be baked into the game design, and also budgeted up front.  In this post, we cover some of the considerations.

Why

Why do you need a promotion system?  Economics.  In the free to play world, you need to use promotional messages to improve the conversion rate.  Email marketing might work, but the response rates are abysmal and most games do not collect emails.  This is not a cure all for badly designed games, but a complementary facet of the game business.

Who

The person using this could be a marketing promotions manager, a revenue optimization or monetization analyst.  In all cases, they want to improve monetization by pushing specific offers and content to specific users.  The key is to give these users a simple UI to manage the promotions and which users to target them to (see targeting below).

When

Promotions is a well understood tool in many direct-to-consumer industries like mobile phone service companies or financial services.  Even retail businesses are getting into promotions and offers.  A promotion calendar is usually drawn up at the beginning of each year / quarter.  There could be festival oriented promotions (eg. Valentines day) or just regular weekly conversion promotions.  The key is to avoid spamming your user base, and you do that by cleverly managing who you show promotions to (see Sonamine offerings) and when.

How

Mobile games, especially native OS games, face a particularly tough situation with promotions.  Not only must the game retrieve live dynamic promotions, but the click-through action must be to a section of the game that is appropriate for the promotion.  For example, if the promotion is to get 50% discount off a virtual item, the click through must be through to the buy page for that item, with discount applied.  Since every game is unique with different set up, it is not possible to use a generic mobile advertising system to insert “interstitial” ads into the game, especially since most interstitial ads are either video oriented or open up a browser, both terrible user experiences.

Target players for promotion

Another reason why you cannot easily use a mobile ad provider to insert “interstitial” or “banner” ads into the game and apply “house ads” is that these systems do not allow you to target individual users differently for different promotions.  In practice what you want is a way to link different player lists to specific promotions.  Again another reason why a better option may be to build this inhouse.  One simple option is to create a user_promotions data structure (hash_map, key value store or what ever suits you) with user_id and promo_id.  Then your game can access this and retrieve the promo as needed.

Click through action

Finally, in the mobile game architecture, it is best to ensure that promos can easily have a deep-link into separate parts of the games, passing along appropriate parameters associated with the promos.   For example, the product purchase page might take parameters to filter out the virtual item list.

Some example promos placements

Common places to show promos : splash screen, level up screens, the buy-pages of course.

Comments from the field…

Gender and age reports of game players using Google Analytics

October 24th, 2011 by Nick

This is a second post in a series covering how to use Google Analytics (GA) to track game play behavior.   One common request we hear is how would you track the demographic traits of the players in your game.  The way to do this can be accomplished using GA custom variables.  We will cover the basics here of how to track this in the game and how to set up a GA custom report to view demographic reports.

Adding gender and age to GA tracking

If you are familiar with GA, you know that you need to initialize the GA with something that looks like this (more at http://code.google.com/apis/analytics/docs/tracking/asyncTracking.html):

<script type="text/javascript">

  var _gaq = _gaq || [];
  _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-XXXXX-X']);
  _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);

  (function() {
    var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true;
    ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js';
    var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
  })();

</script>

After you have this set up, assuming that you have access the players gender, you then issue call like this

<script type="text/javascript">

  _gaq.push(['_setCustomVar',2,'Gender','male',1])

</script>

This call effectively uses the 2nd custom variable slot, names it “Gender”, and sets this particular visitor to being a “male”.  The last parameter “1″ sets this custom variable to be a player level variable, and will persist for 24 months as a cookie.

The same technique can be used to set the variable “age”, by putting it into the 3rd custom variable slot.

GA Reports using these gender and age variables

Under the standard reports, you can click on the demographic section on the left.

demo

Which should then give you this type of custom variable report, click on the “Custom Variable (Key 2)” in order to view the 2nd slot custom variable.

key

Now if you click on the Gender Link, you should get down into the specific breakdown of gender:

key2

Pretty cool and easy to do!

Custom gender and revenue report

Now what happens next is that you might be interested to see how much revenue or how many unique players you have from the different genders that you are tracking.  One way to do this is via the custom report function in GA.  Just click on Custom Report, +New Custom Report and make sure to select the Custom Variable (Value 02) as the dimension (see screenshot below)

custom

Voila, you get this revenue and unique player report by gender!

rev

Or if you want this report shown, click on this link and save this custom report into your own GA profile!   https://www.google.com/analytics/web/permalink?type=custom_report&uid=XM7tyla_RL2eBgjS1LY3vw

Enjoy!

<script type="text/javascript">

  var _gaq = _gaq || [];
  _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-XXXXX-X']);
  _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);

  (function() {
    var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true;
    ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js';
    var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
  })();

</script>