8 Ways To Improve Game Retention

May 13, 2024
April 29, 2024

Mobile gaming is a tough industry. New players often quit playing a game on the same day they install it, and more than 700,000 competitors wait to take your game's place when they do. These eight ways to improve your game retention will help your game thrive in this competitive environment.

Key Takeaways:

  • Game developers must overcome high churn rates and stiff competition to succeed in mobile gaming. Improving retention numbers is a critical component of this success.
  • Because most players churn on the first day, it is vital to immediately grab players' attention and provide a frictionless experience that delivers on the promise of your game.
  • To improve long-term retention, you must understand what players want from your game and ensure it delivers.
  • To keep players coming back, offer them real value for the time and money they invest in your game. Use notifications and other communications to remind them to keep playing.
  • Continuously add new content, implement monetization options thoughtfully, encourage community building, and provide a frictionless user interface to boost retention.

1. Improve Game Retention by Optimizing the Player Onboarding Process

Almost 75% of mobile app users churn on the first day. Because the onboarding process is your players' first experience with your game, making it as engaging and frictionless as possible is important.

You need to grab your players' attention immediately and deliver on the promise that led them to download your game. Avoid long tutorials or sign-in processes. Give players the option to play as guests and to skip tutorials.

Get players into the gameplay quickly and point them toward something interesting. Use notifications or in-game messages to provide helpful tips, but don't ask players to opt-in to notifications too quickly.

Graph showing the day-one retention rates for various genres of games

2. Understand Your Players

To improve game retention, you must understand what players want from your game. You can learn this by soliciting player feedback, conducting market research, and analyzing how players interact with your game.

Study the players who have played your game for the longest. What traits do they share? How can you attract more players who share those traits? Make changes to your game and player acquisition strategy that reflect what you learned.

3. Reward Investment

The more time and money players spend on your game, the more likely they will keep playing it. Reward players for their investment.

Ensure a clear sense of progression in the game. Players need to see what the time and money they have put into your game has accomplished.

To improve game retention, provide players with real value for in-app purchases. If players don't feel they are getting their money's worth when they buy something, they will either stop buying or quit playing.

Offer players rewards for accomplishments that match the level of investment required to obtain those rewards. Putting in a lot of effort to achieve something only to receive a disappointing reward can sour a player on your game.

By contrast, if rewards come too easily, players may not be motivated to accomplish more difficult things. Drive engagement by incorporating personalization and customization options that give players a sense of ownership over their characters.

4. Remind Users To Play Your Game

Americans spend more than 4.5 hours daily using their phones for activities other than talking. However, social media, streaming platforms, and other games compete for users' attention.

Use push notifications, alerts, and emails to improve game retention by reminding users to log in to your game. Make the notifications useful. Tell players when a new event is starting, a sale or promotion, new content, it is their turn to play, or someone has beaten their high score.

Personalize notifications rather than using the same generic messages for everyone. Use notifications sparingly. Players may learn to ignore them, turn them off, or even uninstall your game. Offer rewards for responding to notifications.

Screenshot of a notification from the game "Pokémon Go"

5. Provide a Frictionless User Experience

Players should be able to enjoy your game without fighting with the user interface. Ensure your game is easy to understand, bug-free, and loads quickly. Incorporate high-quality sound and a visually appealing design that matches the theme of your game.

Avoid using fonts and colors that cause eye strain or are difficult to read. Make your game more accessible by supporting multiple languages, offering different difficulty settings, and accommodating players with disabilities.

6. Continuously Add New Content

Keeping players interested is one of the most challenging and important parts of improving game retention. Add a steady stream of new content, such as new levels, characters, achievements, events, quests, and in-game items.

Optimize your app store listings to reflect the latest content updates. Ask players what new content they want to see and what they liked and didn't like about previous updates. Use A/B testing to determine how changes will perform before you release them to the game.

7. Encourage Social Engagement

Socially engaged players play longer and spend more money in-game. Encourage community building by creating ways for players to communicate with you and each other, such as forums, in-game chats, and social media channels.

Use social sharing features in your games to allow players to easily show off their latest accomplishments and invite friends and social media contacts to play the game. Include competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes in your game.

8. Ensure Monetization Strategies Work for You

Your monetization strategies can improve or harm game retention. In-app purchases that provide real value and enhance the game experience can improve retention while creating the perception of a pay-to-win scenario that can drive players away.

Rewarded and playable ads boost engagement and provide players with value in exchange for their time. Intrusive and irrelevant ads frustrate players and lead to churn.

Subscription offers can be a good way to build loyalty and encourage commitment to your game. However, they can backfire if players don't feel they are receiving appropriate value for their investment.

Improve Your Game Retention Metrics With Sonamine

Sonamine's engagement, retention, and monetization services will help you reach your goals by improving game retention. We have the expertise you need to stand out from your competition. Contact us today to get started.

Join our newsletter and receive a FREE
Player Retention
Best Practices GUIDE
Get the e-book now
Receive a FREE
Player Retention
Get the
e-book now
Money Back Guarantee For Braze Customers

For a limited time until June 2024, Sonamine is offering a 60 day money back guarantee to Braze customers. Come experience the ease and simplicity of the First Time Spender Nudge package and watch your conversions soar.

Get started
Money Back Guarantee For Braze Customers

For a limited time until June 2024, Sonamine is offering a 60 day money back guarantee to Braze customers. Come experience the ease and simplicity of the First Time Spender Nudge package and watch your conversions soar.

Get started
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.