Facebook’s Gamer Status API Lets Developers Track High Monetizing Users

Around the time of the deadline for mandatory migration to Facebook Credits, Facebook quietly added a new “Gamer Status” API that allows developers to identify which of their users monetize the best. Facebook automatically offers these users a 20% discount on Credits purchases, but developers who’ve been whitelisted can use the Gamer Status API to track those users internally or, potentially, offer them targeted experiences.

Prior to the mandatory migration of all Facebook Games to Facebook Credits as their sole payment method, several incentives were offered to encourage developers to switch early and use Credits as their premium in-game currency. These incentives can be accessed by developers whitelisted though Facebook’s Credits Special Incentives program.

Those with access can call $ret = $facebook->api_client->users_getStandardInfo($user_id, array('gamer_status')); to determine a user’s Gamer Status. Those tagged with a Gamer Status > 1 are users that monetize above average, including lucrative whales. The API respects user privacy by not sharing any details about their actual purchase history, just the fact that the make many purchases.

However, Facebook forbids developers from using the Gamer Status API to increase prices above their normal level for high monetizing users. Facebook also explicitly says, “You may not use gamer_status for any purpose other than internal and administrative purposes related to the operation of your game. For example, you may not use this information for marketing purposes.”

Developers could potentially target these high monetizing users with optimized offers or discounts on virtual goods. Because these users also receive discounts on buying Facebook Credits, they’re more likely to have a balance to spend. Developers can test to see whether offering discounts to these users leads to enough sales to offset the reduced prices. If so, Gamer Status can be used to increase revenues.

Gamer Status could also be used to drive retention. If paired with reengagement messages such as emails, developers may be able to lure previous users to start playing their game again with a signficant discount. Once these gamers have begun investing time in a game again, developers can return prices for them to normal. However, it’s currently unclear whether Facebook would allow these types of tactics given their policy statements above.