Exclusive: Apsalar analyzes the correlation between mobile game engagement and monetization by genre

Mobile analytics provider Apsalar drilled down into its iOS data to determine which mobile game genre developers should build their free-to-play games around in order to maximize revenue. The company, which offers a free mobile app SDK that provides in-app and campaign attribution analytics, discovered that certain game genres show a higher correlation between high engagement and high monetization through in-app purchases.

Apsalar pulled data from its Big Data Lab product, which has collected insights on about 430 million unique active iOS and Android devices, on millions of in-app purchases from iOS mobile games. The company used this data to analyze which game categories were the most effective at driving in-app purchases, and how engagement correlated to users converting to paid users.

The results showed that games in the strategy, trivia, adventure, family and RPG genres had the highest tendency for in-app purchases, with strategy games having a 18.5 times higher likelihood to generate money. The difference between the top five categories and the five categories that follow was significant, according to Apsalar. For example, the simulation category, the No. 6 ranking genre, generated approximately half as much money from in-app purchases compared to the No. 5 ranking genre, RPGs. Interestingly, action genre games ranked low in terms of in-app purchases.

The San Francisco-based company also looked into app engagement by app category, digging into its data on the average daily session length per user in each category. The company found that the ideal session lasted around two minutes. One notable genre was the arcade category, which had a high average daily session length of 1.58 minutes per user, but generate a low number of in-app purchases.

When looking at the correlation between monetization and engagement, Apsalar found a high correlation between high engagement and high monetization for most of the genres, with only two genres that were the exception. The arcade genre had high app engagement but low monetization from in-app purchases. The other genre was trivia, which demonstrated low average daily session lengths per user with a higher ability to monetize.

Apsalar double checked their data by analyzing the correlation between engagement and monetization on a two-by-two matrix graph as well. This graph also showed a high correlation between monetization and engagement. The company found the arcade genre to be the one genre with high engagement, but low monetization.

Apsalar concluded that mobile game developers have “no chance” of generating high revenue from in-app purchases without high engagement. Basically, for any developer who decides to go down the freemium route should know that’s it’s important to focus on building a great, engaging game in one of the more lucrative game genres for in-app purchases, then make sure to implement in-app purchasing hooks.

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