Flurry retention rates: very important and very obscure

Original author: Wilhelm Taht
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Flurry has already become a masthead for those mobile developers who understand the importance of user behavior analysis. However, in those Flurry metrics that relate to user retention, it’s not so easy to navigate: here, and return rate, and rolling retention, and static retention ... in general, according to popular wisdom, you can’t figure it out without a hundred grams. Correct - do not understand without this article, which we found in Alconost and translated specifically for Habr. And to understand what's what in terms of user retention is vital: otherwise you risk losing both users and the money to attract them, and the bright prospects for the development of your application or game.

Devil in detail

In holding members (retention) - the most important indicator, which is based on all the other elements of a well-functioning business model freemium.

Do not believe me? Check with the excellent The minimum performance of Eric Zoyferta to sort out the issue.

As Eric explains, user retention allows the other three pillars of the freemium model — engagement, virality, and monetization — to work in principle, at least theoretically. Therefore, without proper retention rates, the entire structure breaks up.

User retention is a critical indicator for developers and publishers when launching a freemium game or application. It is studied in great detail with a "soft start" of the game in a particular country.

The user retention metric is carefully studied by the leadership of freemium game developers and publishers, as well as venture investors and product managers. This is a very important indicator for a shareware product.

In simple words, the user retention rate, which the industry is so interested in, is defined as “the percentage of users who return to your game on the N-th day after the first use of the application” and is also known as the “N-th day retention”.

When analyzing indicators, they usually take values ​​for 1, 7, and 30 days as the basis for calculating the duration of using the application and the total income from the user, if monetization is added to the equation.

In the world of freemium games for mobile phones and tablets, minimum user retention rates are expected at these levels:
  • Day 1: at least 30% (preferably 40%) of users who downloaded the game on day 0 return to the game.
  • Day 7: at least 15% (preferably 20%) of users who downloaded the game on day 0 return to the game.
  • Day 30: At least 8% (preferably 10%) of users who downloaded the game on day 0 return to the game.

However, most of the industry is not aware that Flurry does not display user retention in this sense. Instead Flurry shows something called "sliding deduction» (rolling retention) .

Flurry defines “rolling hold” as the percentage of users who returned to your application on the nth or any day after the nth day after the first use of the application.

At first glance, the difference is not obvious and insignificant, but if you dig a little deeper - and it turns out that it is critical.

Simply put, “sliding hold” has nothing to do with our previous definition of hold. In fact, the rolling retention metric shows the reciprocal of the outflow rate (one hundred percent rolling retention = your churn).

The essence of the problem

Churn is defined as the number of users who leave your game forever.

Usually, though not always, developers and publishers of mobile games call Flurry's “sliding hold” indicators “N-day hold”, which they are not. And then these indicators become especially problematic for them for several reasons:
  • These indicators will always be higher for the game (or the corresponding application), which has been on the market for a long time.
  • The longer the application is installed on the user device, the more likely it is that the user will launch it again. When this happens, such a user is taken into account among the deductions for the entire period of time - I have seen not so old applications for which the “sliding hold” Flurry displays 90% of the deduction for 30 days. Ah, if ...
  • These indicators provide very limited information about the true nature of the quality or user base of the game or application.
  • Indie developers do not understand the true meaning of “rolling retention” indicators and make incompetent decisions based on them. Or they spend additional time in the development cycles on the implementation of other analytical tools, because in the end they realize that Flurry does not show them what they need.
  • Venture investors and product managers do not understand the true meaning of “moving hold” indicators and make incompetent decisions about investing money based on them. (Gentlemen, investors, please pay attention!)
  • From time to time, publishers show excellent retention rates for applications and games presented by developers, which are absolutely useless for making competent decisions.

In short, the “rolling hold” of Flurry does not provide the observer with any valuable information. However, this indicator can really come in handy when attracting investments - for demonstration to informed venture investors in a number of secondary indicators like the “total number of downloads,” for example.

How do you work with user retention?

About the translator

Translation of the article was done in Alconost.

Alconost localizes applications, games and sites in 60 languages. Native-language translators, linguistic testing, cloud platform with API, continuous localization, project managers 24/7, any format of string resources.

We also make promotional and educational videos.- for sites selling, image-building, advertising, training, teasers, expliners, trailers for Google Play and the App Store.

Read more: https://alconost.com

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