Benchmarking Paid Users and Retention Rates across different game genres. What does this fresh research tell us?

The results and effectiveness of mobile campaigns are difficult to assess on their own, but it’s also difficult to know exactly where an app stands compared to competitors. In general, some user churn is normal. But knowing when churn rates are particularly high compared to standard user behaviour helps to determine if any changes need to be made to avoid losing interested users and revival.


Knowing the benchmarks for each specific game genre is important in order to ensure that the app is reaching its full potential. How and where can we see these benchmarks?


The MyTracker study, from where we took data from early summer to the end of last year, provides a comprehensive answer to this question. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the leading genres of gaming apps in terms of retention rates and Paying User Rates in the immediate post-installation period, and to evaluate the standard metrics for each. 


The goal was also to find out whether Paying User Rates and Retention Rates increased or decreased in the week following installation for each genre of app. These metrics are important because they help developers get an idea of how many users stay after installation, and how many of them are converted. 



The paying users indicator (PU) was calculated by dividing the number of unique paying users per day N by the total number of users who installed the app N days ago, multiplied by 100.



The Retention Rate (RR) was calculated by dividing the number of users who were with the app on day N (or later) by the number of users who installed the app N days ago, multiplied by 100.


The lowest rate of paying users on day N among puzzle games like Word Games (PU on day N was 0.08%). The highest PU rates were observed in the following categories: 

Casual – 1.23%;

RPGs – 1.24%;

books – 1.28%. 


The data on PU for day 7 showed that the genres with the highest and lowest rates were the same, with one exception: strategy games (1.83%) outperformed casual games (1.64%).

Card games had the highest retention rate on day 7 at 50%, while social networking games showed the lowest at 6.51%. Arcade (which is a genre of computer games, intense and short in time) showed the sharpest drop in RR, it was 43% on day 7 in relation to day 1.  


As you can see above, there are significant differences in both user retention rates and paying users across game categories. Let’s look into why this is the case. 

Why are the data different?

Among social games, lower retention rates and fewer payments after the first day can be explained by the fact that the games are group-based, with PU changing little. Interactive stories have low marginal retention rates for a simple reason: they will either interest the user (more often, the user) immediately, or not. 


The opposite is true of casual games. They have PU and RR uniformly high, as these are the types of games that are enjoyable to play in order to relax. No extra skill is required for the user, they have a great time, and therefore almost always get involved in the game and continue to use it for quite a long time. 


The card games came out on top in terms of RR on day 1 and day 7. They always have the highest retention rates and the longest session duration from a smartphone. 

These games (as well as sports games, for that matter) are set by players. Those who are used to earning and, importantly, spending money in the game. Accordingly, it is not a problem for them to donate to the game. 


Strategies are good in the sense that the user rarely deletes them immediately. It is important for fans of this genre of mobile games to immerse themselves in the process, to try it out. They spend time (from an average of half an hour per session) and money willingly, but you have to wait quite a long time to reach conversion. 


Adventures shows excellent RR on the first day, but then there is a steep decline, with PU increasing significantly. This is because users can go through more than one level before they come across a paywall. And whether they pay or not already depends on the quality of the game and the ability to interest the player. 


The puzzle genre has the most average of all. They are developed quickly and are inexpensive. Users love them, and can pay for the extra features if the game interests them. 


Racing is a fairly popular genre of game. But the conversion to paying users here is quite low. We can assume this is due to the fact that people like to play racing games on consoles rather than smartphones. 


RPGs are the most profitable games in WW. They account for the highest number of paying players who make almost all the revenue for the producing companies. But there’s a catch: it takes quite a long time for this category of users to move on to purchases. Research data confirms this: PU RPGs on day 7 are the highest of all genres.


Final results

Application performance can vary considerably depending on the game genre, and it’s always a good idea to know what the standard performance should be for the niche you’re planning to work in. 


Casual games, RPGs, books and strategies had the highest rates of paying users, although the latter had to wait until the last day for conversion. Card games gave the highest retention rate on the seventh day, and book games gave the lowest. 


Once again, this proves to us that both metrics play an important role in evaluating performance. It’s important to know where you can “slip up” in order to determine the best strategy for promoting a game or choosing which genres to start working with.  For example, if you have high retention rates but low conversion rates, monetising through ad networks may be a better option than relying solely on in-app purchases. 


Ultimately, it comes down to knowing what offers to give to individual users and when, and tools are best for that. It is up to you to choose the most suitable ones for you from the large number on the market. In our article, we referred to a study based on just one tool. You are free to choose the one that suits you best.  


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