Jogonaut is a social gaming company. Its debut title, OJO AGENT, is aimed at mid-core gamers who are predominantly male ages 21 to 39. In OJO AGENT, players act as sports agents who must pitch and sign real athletes as clients. The game is built using HTML5 and serves as both an interactive platform for players to enjoy a social sports game and a marketing platform for some of the world’s biggest brands.
We spoke with Jogonaut Founder and CEO Barry Carpe on the importance of data-driven design, and how he’s using analytics to continually provide the best user experience to his players. He also shared some great game marketing and development tips.
Why are analytics important?
Analytics provide insight into what is working well and what is under-performing in any product. Using the data Kontagent provides us, we’re able to quickly identify new retention and monetization opportunities, as well as track game-play trends to improve the overall experience for our users.
What are your primary business objectives as a game studio?
At Jogonaut, our primary business objective has been to curate and refine our content based on player funnels and develop a game that not only drives retention and monetization, but also adapts based on user trends to deliver a more satisfying, entertaining experience.
Kontagent has been instrumental in helping us achieve this goal—the depth of their statistical tracking has allowed us to double our revenue and attract noteworthy brands to our viability as a marketing platform.
What specific insights are you looking to gain—now and in the future?
We use Kontagent kSuite to gain insight on our player activation funnels. For example, we look at how many people take the first desired steps to get them engaged with the game, cost per install (CPI), retention rates, daily active users (DAU), monthly active users (MAU), average revenue per paying user (ARPPU) and session times.
(Read more on The Top 7 Metrics of Highly Successful Social Companies)
Having insight to all of these metrics means we’re constantly able to improve game play and entertainment value for our users, as well as tighten monetization efforts.
Furthermore, we are able to easily track and optimize user acquisition spend based on source, demographic and geography; therefore, we’re also able to build spending curves for each of our campaign segments to gauge the approximate lifetime value of a user. This helps us to determine who the best players are, and then we can focus our marketing dollars toward them.
How are you ensuring the right players find your game?
Our current marketing plan includes social engagement with players, email promotions, a player loyalty club and paid advertisements. Additionally, we’re in talks with several national brands discussing unique co-marketing opportunities.
Engaging our players on Facebook is a no-brainer. One of the first things we did was set up a business page where we could communicate with players and gather feedback about the game. The Facebook page also allows us to send players promotions that help our retention rates.
Research shows that email marketing is still the most effective way to reach an online audience, so we have built up a healthy list of players who opt-in to receive promotions and strategy tips. In addition to email and social marketing, we also have a loyalty program in place where top players in our game (based on spend and achievements) can receive special loyalty items and personal thank-you letters from our staff members.
Any lessons learned so far in acquiring these users?
One note to other gaming companies: When deciding on promotions it’s important to make them impactful. You’ll want to give away bonuses and discounted items that really help a player in the game. This will ensure your click or email-open rates remain high. (Read more on email marketing tips.)
Like most social gaming companies, we run paid ads to help reach new players. Most of the ads we run are Facebook ads though we’re experimenting with a variety of different acquisition channels to target the best, most engaged players.
We’re A/B testing these promotions now, and Kontagent is crucial in helping us determine which campaigns are performing the best, and bringing in the most high-value players. (We’ll be sharing the results in a later post.)
Specifically, what kind of ad campaigns, in-app ads, cross-promotions are you using?
Our main focus—no surprise—is running Facebook ads. That being said, we are diversifying a bit by including banner ads on highly targeted gaming sites and blogs.
Facebook ads are such a perfect fit for any company with a Facebook game though. Your audience is just one click away from playing your game when they see the ad. Another advantage is Facebook allows you to get hyper-specific when targeting users. A recent report suggests social gaming companies are receiving lower cost-per-click rates than brands because we are able to target so well—our own data shows this to be true, thanks to the data Kontagent provides us!
So you’re getting users to click on ads—great. What’s next? What about retention metrics? Are you making changes to your game based on those?
Definitely. In particular, our Agenda mission system is designed to set a steady pace for our users, and based on the metrics we’ve seen with the Agenda, we’ve been able to make subtle tweaks and adjustments to improve retention, monetization and ultimately, entertainment value.
Also, during our BETA phase we noticed that our Day-1 retention rate was quite high, but saw a significant drop-off on Day-7. To help improve these numbers for the official launch, we introduced the ability for players to interact with their friends. Not only are we seeing good signs that this social interaction is increasing retention, the feature is helping us build a great community.
Looking into the future, we see tremendous opportunities in increasing the avenues for social interaction and virality, competition and integration with real world events within OJO AGENT.
Without data, we might not have the insights into what appeals to players. With data, we firmly believe we have the insights to create core features that will drive long-term retention and revenue.
And, once you’ve tuned the game to increase retention rates, what are some other metrics you pay attention in order to iterate and fine-tune your game?
Retention is vitally important to us, but we’re also closely monitoring session time, daily spend, ARPPU and DAU. Now that we are using SpruceMedia in conjunction with Kontagent, from one dashboard we’re able to see our retention rates from user acquisition channels alongside these other important metrics.
Additionally, we’re always monitoring our activation funnels. All OJO AGENT players are guided through a brief tutorial (Level 1 in the image above) before they begin playing the game. We’re constantly checking to make sure there is minimal drop-off during this tutorial. And again, we’re also always checking to make sure the players who complete the tutorial are taking the first series of desired actions that lead to high Day-1 and Day-7 retention rates.
At Kontagent, we firmly believe that the ability to bubble up all the data into an easy-to-read dashboard that is accessible to the entire organization helps our customers all work in lock-step—same data, same goals. Tell us your experience with the kSuite dashboard.
That’s absolutely true. The data visualizations really help us to quickly recognize trends, and identify what’s working and what isn’t. This enables us to spend much less time digging for relevant data and insights, and allows us to instead use that time more efficiently to develop the creative aspects of our games.
It’s about opportunity costs—Kontagent definitely saves time and resources for everyone on our team, from marketing and user acquisition to game development.
Any tips/advice for other game developers?
Analytics are the cornerstone of our product development process and we couldn’t be happier with the results we’re seeing.
To say that Kontagent enables us to understand user behavior so we can optimally increase user acquisition, retention and monetization is an understatement.
We would highly suggest all game developers identify their KPIs and track performance over time using software such as Kontagent kSuite. They can group players by acquisition source, demographic and geo-location to identify the most attractive types of players. Then, most importantly, after they have that data, developers must optimize game play based on it. That’s the only way they’ll be able to survive in this free-to-play world.
About the author: Catherine Mylinh is a member of Kontagent’s storytelling team, where she is head of PR, brand and content marketing. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of kScope. In her former life, Catherine was a news anchor for CBS and NBC. She credits her journalism and computer science roots—she was once a programmer!—for her love of learning and writing about all things high tech. You can contact Catherine at @cat_mylinh.