October 3, 2023
Getting players interested enough in your game to download it takes a lot of work. Keeping them invested so they choose to come back is even more challenging. And with user acquisition costs in flux and mobile marketing budgets on the decline, retaining users is more critical than ever. According to Insider Intelligence, 30% of major advertisers report slashing their 2023 ad budgets1 – so every dollar counts.
Understanding average mobile game retention benchmarks is crucial in understanding where your game stands among the competition. The following stats will help you decide whether you need to adjust your marketing and retention strategies or whether you’re right on target.
Retention rates represent one of the most critical KPIs for mobile game marketers to track: how many players continue to return to a game over a set amount of time. It’s an important metric to track because if players return, they’re more likely to be loyal players and thus more likely to spend money and share their experiences with other people2. Low retention is an indication that something about your marketing, your game, or both need to be adjusted quickly.
Typically, marketers track several periods to gauge how long players stick around. For example:
These values guide marketers on how to approach retention strategies, such as improving onboarding, enhancing in-game messaging, or discovering other ways to reduce churn. Currently, Day 1, Day 7, and Day 30 retention rates are the most common retention metrics, though more publishers are focusing on long-term KPIs like Day 360 or even Day 720 to maximize lifetime value.
While mobile game retention benchmarks can help marketers compare their own game’s performance against the average performer, it’s important to remember that numerous factors can influence these KPIs. Mobile operating systems, game genres, and even the country players are located can impact retention rates. Additionally, privacy changes such as Apple allowing users to opt out of tracking have made gathering retention data more difficult. That said, recent reports can give mobile marketers targets to aim at.
Many mobile marketers ask, “What’s a good D1 retention for a mobile game?” Based on average statistics in several reports – including AppsFlyer’s 2022 app retention benchmarks report3 and Adjust’s Gaming apps mid-2023 trends report4– the average mobile game should try to achieve Day 1 retention of around 30%.
For AppsFlyer’s retention benchmarks report, it tracked 11 billion app installs across 11,000 apps in Q3 2022. In its research, AppsFlyer noted that mobile game Day 30 retention rates are in a 20% year-over-year decline overall. The following table represents average retention rates for mobile games based on AppsFlyer’s reporting:
Adjust reports similar rates for Q1 2023 based on its internal reporting and notes a similar YoY decline.
While paid media campaigns remain effective, AppsFlyer’s report shows that owned media remarketing including SMS, email, user invites, and cross-promotion are far more effective for improving retention. This is beneficial as mobile marketers look for ways to increase retention results with smaller budgets, especially as Apple and Google refine their user data privacy and security policies.
In addition to providing a glimpse at how the mobile games industry is faring, AppsFlyer dug into average retention mobile game performance for individual genres, including casino, hyper casual, RPGs, and more. According to its reporting, matching games, on average, perform better than all other genres across all retention metrics.
AppsFlyer also filtered its research by mobile operating system and found that iOS generally retains users better than Android devices.
⭐ Takeaway: While retaining players on iOS may be easier to do, don’t discount Android’s massive install base. Ensure that you’re taking additional time to analyze where Android players are dropping out and take extra time to optimize their journey through your game to either increase retention or maximize revenue.
While iOS may be more reliable at retaining users on average, Android users are far more likely to opt-in to push notifications, according to Airship’s Mobile App Push Notification Benchmarks for 2023 report5.Airship analyzed 665 billion push notifications to over 2.5 billion users and found that games that send push notifications within the first 90 days have three times the retention rate than those that don’t.
⭐ Takeaway: To maximize the effectiveness of your push notifications within this time frame, provide a clear description of the rewards players will gain when they return to the app, leverage personalization to speak directly to the player’s needs, and instill a sense of urgency for limited-time events and offers.
Airship’s same report also dug into the average number of notifications each game sent during the month and the percentage of players who opened the app through these notifications. iOS games tend to have higher open rates than Android games across a similar number of push notifications. Also, games that sent more transactional and promotional push notifications during an average month tended to have better open rates.
⭐ Takeaway: The key to optimizing open rates is in finding the proper balance. According to Udonis, sending the same number of notifications as the number of times the player opens your game each day is a good place to start6.
According to AppsFlyer’s benchmarks report, players in the United States and Canada are more likely, on average, to keep playing mobile games than players in other regions of the world.
The report also noted that, while the Asia-Pacific region tends to trend lower as a whole, Japan has some of the highest retention rates out of any country, with a Day 30 mobile game retention rate of 6.4%, compared to 3.72% in the United States and 5.61% for Canada.
⭐ Takeaway: If your game does not have a presence in Japan, consider increasing your focus there, as the increased retention rates can pay dividends in the long run.
As player habits and privacy standards evolve, retaining your current players is becoming more important than ever. Keep the following takeaways in mind when planning your retention strategy:
Retaining players in your mobile game’s ecosystem is only half the equation. Maximizing lifetime value means ensuring the players you do keep are a good fit. The players that generate the most revenue aren’t just coming back to play your game – they’re spending more, too.
Mistplay can help you find and retain these high-value players with its unique, AI-driven loyalty platform. Mistplay finds the players that are most likely to enjoy and spend money on your game and keeps them invested with tangible, real-world rewards. That way, you’re not only acquiring the best users – you’re keeping them for the long haul.
Contact us today to learn how Mistplay can help boost user retention and lifetime value for your mobile game.