Boosting KPIs: How to Improve your Games through AB Testing
Igor Zabukovec – Dec 14, 2022
Success doesn’t just happen by chance. To achieve outstanding results, a company has to refine its processes by encouraging innovation and creativity. The path to real success involves continuously striving to outdo past triumphs to attain ever higher levels of quality.
At TapNation, we are always working on ways in which we can improve our games and deliver outstanding results for our clients. We set ourselves ambitious goals and then focus the skills and talents of our team on meeting and exceeding these objectives.
One of our key performance indicators (KPIs) is enhancing the Lifetime Value (LTV) of a game. We do this via rigorous AB testing and a structured development process that incorporates a painstaking analysis of all results during every step of the journey.
Why we focus on Lifetime Value (LTV)
Lifetime Value (LTV) is one of the most important KPIs in the development of a hyper-casual game. This metric is used to calculate an estimate of how long a user may interact with a game and how much revenue they may generate during this time period. In simple terms, LTV is a key indicator of how profitable and successful a game might be.
LTV is forecasted by analyzing the past history of a typical game user. Data is collected on the amount of time that the user spent playing a certain game and the amount of money that they spent during this period. These figures are then compared to what it costs to acquire a user, known as the cost per install (CPI). The aim is to develop a game that has an LTV that is greater than its CPI.
What is AB testing and why is it so important?
AB testing is a marketing technique that is used to compare two versions of a web page or application to see which one performs better. At TapNation, we place a focus on AB testing because it is a highly successful method of maximizing a game’s LTV.
With our AB testing process, users are attributed randomly to one of our cohorts as soon as they have installed a game. TapNation can now support dozens of cohorts per game at the same time. This provides us with a massive pool of users from which we can draw data to boost the playability and the LTV of our games.
AB testing is an important step in the development process. When creating a hyper-casual game, a variety of theories and versions of the game must be thoroughly tested in order to achieve the best possible result.
The reality is that the results of AB testing can often be vastly different from our initial assumptions about a game. The surprises that the AB testing process can bring about are what make the hyper-casual games business so incredibly interesting!
The TapNation development process
It starts with our SDK
A Software Development Kit (SDK) is a package of programs, code libraries, and tools that developers can use to create a game or application more efficiently and effectively.
The TapNation SDK is one of the core pillars of our business. Our specialized SDK contains a range of tools designed to speed up the development process and enhance the LTV of a game. One of the main features of the TapNation SDK is a powerful AB test machine. This AB tester allows us to generate an infinite number of cohorts that can be used to vigorously test many different versions of a game.
Everything is vigorously AB tested
Every aspect of a game is put through an intensive AB testing process to make certain we arrive at the best possible version. We test everything from level difficulty to core gameplay differences to colors to advertising pressure and more.
Nothing is left to chance. Our game development process ensures all components of a game are measured and optimized.
All results are painstakingly analyzed
All the AB testing results are thoroughly analyzed using TapNation’s dedicated platform. We forecast the LTV of all cohorts involved in the AB testing process and then scrutinize the results to isolate which versions generate the most value for our players. The LTV data is split by all possible variables including the operating system, the handset the player uses, and the country they are based in.
How we achieve an optimum result
A driving principle behind TapNation’s development philosophy is that we believe in never overestimating an idea. All theories must be vigorously tested to arrive at the best possible result. This is why we place such a high value on AB testing.
Our AB testing process is what enables us to create high-value games. Our development team continuously collaborates with our LiveOps team to analyze unexpected AB test results and check for any specific increases in a game’s LTV.
To drive retention rates, the TapNation team focuses on five methods:
- In-game tutorials – Tutorials enhance first-time user experience (FTUE) and keep gamers coming back for more action
- Fast progression – We use an easy win template that releases late-game content level by level to keep users engaged
- Ad pressure – Our AB testing has enabled us to pinpoint a ‘sweet spot’ where we can introduce interstitials
- User experience – Reducing menu clicks and getting players back into the action as soon as they return boosts retention rates
- Goals – Whether it is a leaderboard or a series of daily or weekly objectives, giving users both long-term and short-term goals with rewards is a great way to enhance retention
What we keep in mind when developing a game
There are a few specific conditions that we maintain when developing a game. These stipulations include:
Our development team always ensures that we use a large enough cohort to get consistent results.
All data is gathered over a predetermined timeframe. We avoid specific days and weekends to avoid bias.
All changes made to a game are studiously tracked once they have been implemented.
We maintain detailed records of all AB testing. This provides our teams with a large database of testing information and results. This data can then be used to find fast, effective solutions to any issues that may arise. In some cases, these solutions can then be applied to new games.
TapNation’s mission is to keep creating high-quality hyper-casual games that deliver maximum value for both gamers and our clients. Our core KPIs and our strenuous AB testing process allow us to do just that, now and in the future.