Trends & Insights
10 essential metrics all game developers should look out for
February 29, 2024

Understanding mobile game analytics can be a bit daunting, but it's crucial for game developers looking to thrive in the competitive market. Analyzing these metrics gives you valuable insights into player behavior, game performance, and how to make your game more profitable.

When we talk about metrics, we're referring to all sorts of numbers and data points. Some of them are very straightforward, like downloads and sessions, while others, like user churn and average revenue per paying user (ARPPU), can be a bit trickier to wrap your head around. But each of these metrics is like a piece of a puzzle that, when put together, paints a picture of how players interact with your game.

To make things a bit clearer, we've put together a list of ten key metrics that you've probably already heard of but might not fully understand why they're important or how to use them effectively.

Daily active users (DAU)

Starting with the basics, DAU refers to the number of unique users who engage with a game or app within a single day. It's a key metric used to measure the daily popularity of a game. This metric provides insights into how frequently users interact with the game, helping developers assess user engagement levels, track trends over time, and identify patterns in player behavior.

When using this metric, remember to set it into perspective. Take a game that has 10,000 engaged users who play the game several times each day and actively monetize. Compare that to a news or messaging app with 1,000,000 DAUs but no monetization mechanics. While the other app attracts more players to engage with the game repeatedly, developers do not dispose with revenue, which can restrict developers from further development and improvements. This shows, that the DAU count is merely a snapshot in time, and the surrounding context can be just as important, if not more important, than a large user base.


Every time any user, not just a unique user, opens your app, that counts as a session. Similar to DAUs, the total number of sessions requires some context to be a helpful number. Specifically, focus on the average number of sessions per DAU, as this metric can tell you about how engaged users are with your game.

An app’s genre does indeed have an effect on the Sessions/DAU ratio, as some game styles lend themselves to more frequent sessions. If players return five to ten times each day, it’s safe to assume they enjoy the game.

You should also pay attention to session length. It measures the average duration of a single gaming session, indicating how long players typically play the game in one sitting. Longer session lengths suggest high player engagement and enjoyment, while shorter session lengths may indicate issues with pacing, content depth, or player frustration.

Engagement metrics

DAU/MAU ration

The ratio of daily- to monthly active users (MAU) shows how well an app retains users and is often referred to as the stickiness of a game. This metric shows you how frequently users log in to your app. This metric will be more straightforward to discuss with an example.

Let’s say an app has 100,000 MAU and averages 15,000 DAU. Then, the DAU/MAU ratio would be 15 percent. This means the average user logged in on roughly 15 percent of the days that month.

Since this is a ratio, the metric can only be a value between zero and one. Values closer to one mean users are opening the app on a higher percentage of days. Popular apps like Facebook have reported DAU/MAU ratios as high as 68 percent, while most successful gaming apps have ratios closer to 20 percent.


Retention is arguably the most important metric in a free-to-play game. Successful free-to-play games create long-term relationships with users. Users enjoying the experience are willing to pay for a competitive advantage. A game needs to have strong retention to have time to build this relationship.

We suggest, separating your users into cohorts based on the day they download your app to calculate your retention. The day that the download occurs is Day 0. Users who open your app the next day (Day 1) should be marked as retained. If they do not open the app, they are not retained. This calculation is performed for the user cohort each day after downloading the app. Standard days used for retention are 1, 3, 7, and 30.

You can also measure event-based retention or focus on how various triggers influence the retention rate.

Predictive lifetime value

Another crucial metric for game developers to monitor is predictive lifetime value (PLTV). This forward-looking metric estimates a player's potential revenue over their entire lifespan within a game. Predictive lifetime value utilizes advanced predictive analytics techniques to forecast a player's future spending behavior based on their past interactions and in-game activities.

By leveraging this metric, game developers can gain valuable insights into the long-term revenue potential of their player base, allowing them to tailor their monetization strategies and marketing efforts accordingly. By identifying high-value players early on and implementing targeted retention and engagement tactics, developers can maximize the lifetime value of their player base and drive sustainable revenue growth.

Predictive lifetime value also enables developers to optimize user acquisition campaigns by identifying the most valuable player segments and allocating resources toward acquiring similar high-value players. By focusing on acquiring players with the highest predicted lifetime value, developers can improve the overall return on investment of their user acquisition efforts and drive more profitable growth.

Explore further details on how Airbridge supports Predictive Lifetime Value (LTV) and Predictive LTV in our reports by following the link below.

👉Mastering predictive LTV for swift marketing decisions


Churn is essentially the opposite of retention. This metric portrays those players who stop engaging with the game over a specific period, indicating the number of players who churn or disengage. A high churn rate suggests issues with player retention and overall game satisfaction, while a low churn rate indicates strong player loyalty and satisfaction.

The churn metric makes the most sense in a subscription business model, while some nuances are involved when applying it to free-to-play games.

Monetization metrics

Moving right along to everyone’s favorite topic: money! The above metrics measure your relationship with your users, how often they return to your game, and their behavior patterns. But arguably, the most important metric for many indie developers is whether their game is making enough money.

Conversion rate

The conversion rate measures the percentage of unique users that purchased out of the total number of users during a specific period. You can also measure the conversion rate of ads served in a free-to-play game.

Getting a user to pay real money for a game they can play for free is challenging. But, as with many other industries, repeat purchasers generate most revenue in free-to-play games. You can encourage players to make that first conversion by offering them a virtual item of incredible value.

Average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU)

Average revenue per daily active user is a monetization metric that measures the average revenue generated by each unique user who engages with a game or app within a single day. It provides insights into the effectiveness of monetization strategies and the overall revenue potential of the user base. By dividing the total revenue generated daily by the number of daily active users, developers can calculate the average revenue generated per user per day. ARPDAU helps developers assess the performance of in-game monetization features, optimize pricing models, and track revenue trends over time. It's a crucial metric for maximizing revenue and driving sustainable mobile game and app growth.

This is a great metric to track before and during user acquisition campaigns. Before acquiring users, make sure you know the range of your ARPDAU and how it fluctuates normally. During a campaign, segment your new users by source and see which networks or games perform the best in your app.

Average revenue per paying user (ARPPU)

Average revenue per paying user measures only the subset of users who have completed a purchase in a game. This metric can vary dramatically based on the game genre. Hardcore games tend to have higher monetization metrics like ARPPU, but they also lack the mass appeal of more casual games.

The above metrics are standards that can help you get started in the world of analytics. The most important part of mobile game analytics is to get started and establish benchmarks for your own games. Once you understand how your users behave, you can measure things like the impact of a game update or changes to your user acquisition strategy.

If you want analytics explicitly tailored to the gaming industry, head over to GameAnalytics and explore their cost-effective analytics solutions. From an easy-to-use analytics pipeline to industry benchmarks, and raw data access, GameAnalytics allows you to optimize your games while keeping your data safe and sound.

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