Data-Backed Productivity Tips for the Gaming Industry

Written by Indicative Team

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The gaming industry is known to attract some of the most passionate, intelligent professionals in the world. That’s why workdays never seem long enough. According to a 2020 survey from the Game Developers Conference (GDC), 62 percent of respondents said that they spend more than 46 hours per week on the job. 

This work ethic comes from a love for the craft, according to the GDC. In fact, 40% of the survey’s respondents said that they don’t consider the time that they work to be excessive. But with so many companies building remote cultures, employees may be at risk for overworking.

Burnout is a high risk for people in the tech industry. Game developers are especially prone to mental fatigue due to being in front of a screen all day

The industry needs to find ways to be more productive and make better business decisions– to focus creative attention towards solving specific problems.

Tips to get more done in less time

Productivity illustration

Here are some workflow tips to help you operate more productively.

Minimize context switching

It takes four parts of the brain to switch from one task to another. If someone gets distracted or needs to switch between activities, they may lose momentum, experience friction, or take longer to get their work done. Analytics, especially, is a sharp contrast to creative, so it’s often challenging to find alignment around a quantitative picture. Help your team stay focused on one goal at a time.

Establish core assumptions in your business

From psychologists to designers, engineers, writers, storyboarders, animators, and more, every game has a team of brilliant people behind the scenes. One of the challenges that can slow down progress is a lack of cooperation and coordination. 

Yes, disagreement is healthy for preventing groupthink, and yes, it’s important to bring contradictory perspectives to life. But if people communicate with a different set of core assumptions, camaraderie is likely to suffer. Does everyone share a source of truth for a common language and irrefutable evidence? Is everyone making decisions based on the data? If not, people are likely to waste time getting frustrated.

Free up time

If we spend less time on busywork, we free up our minds to be creative. Research has found that a slower pace of thinking is what allows us to “generate ideas that reach higher in novelty, appeal, and individuality,” according to Dr. Wilma Koustaal, a psychology professor at the University of Minnesota. Slowing down not only protects brains against burnout — but it also frees up creativity and improves performance.

How customer analytics can help

Customer journey illustration

Using data, you can work towards initiatives more thoughtfully, collaboratively, and strategically. Here’s how:

Team up around goals.

One way to improve efficiency —and waste less time at work—is to develop alignment towards common objectives. That means translating high-level business goals into tactical actions. Data can help. 

For instance, product teams may be thinking about ways that they can improve user experience. But how does this objective translate into everyday actions that development teams can take? 

To start, it may make sense to look at points of friction, engagement, and differences in customer journeys. This perspective can help teammates brainstorm ideas from different perspectives—to improve cross-functional collaboration around making games more engaging.

Conversions, in the gaming industry, are all about getting people from point A to B to C, to D with respect to a company’s unique monetization model

As an example, take a look at this customer journey flow from a hypothetical gaming dataset. Users click an email, visit the website, create a profile, and then engage in a monetization event. For the purpose of this analysis, let’s assume that this user flow is the primary acquisition path.

Indicative customer journey building tool

Most likely, your team has a goal around increasing acquisition rates and volume. 

So how do you optimize your subscription rates? One step would be to look at dropoff rates as audiences move through your funnel. According to this chart, for instance, 27.96% of users drop off between creating a free profile and subscribing to the game. With this perspective, your team can tackle this issue as a coordinated effort.

Center conversations around your customers.

When you make your conversations about your users, you’ll have an easier time keeping the big picture of your work in focus—ensuring that players have a fun time with your game. 

Which of your customer segments is playing with friends? Are they using text or social media channels? Are players celebrating their wins? Do new features make a difference to these happy moments? 

Indicative can provide the perspective that your team needs. Take a look at the example below. In this screenshot, you’re looking at gamers making user profiles from their Android phones. 

With a simple cohort report, you can track how campaigns trend over time, selecting a time window of your choosing. When users create profiles, that’s a win for them because it means that they’re enjoying your game. When they create profiles, it’s a win for your company, too. It means that what you’re doing is working.

Indicative Cohort Report for Gaming Industry

Run automated daily reports.

Every day, start your day with a story. You can customize reporting and visualizations to help shed perspective into where your team should be focusing and how you can collaborate. Ideally, your reporting should tell a story about your company in three levels:

  • (1) the individual contributor level
  • (2) the team level
  • (3) the company level.

Here’s what we mean:

  • Individual-level: Track metrics that are meaningful to your role and career, to help you make better decisions on a daily basis.
    • For instance, if you launched a campaign, wrote copy, or contributed to a feature release, you’ll benefit from data that tells you how your work makes an impact.
  • Team-level: Collect metrics that contribute to conversion metrics around the features you support (return on advertising spend, web to mobile conversions, trial to paid conversion).
    • This perspective will help you stay aligned with larger team initiatives within your organization.
  • Company-level: Share milestones that will anchor everyone at your company to a set of common goals. These perspectives include lifetime value metrics, usage, in-app purchase, and product adoption.

One way to bring these analyses together is through a comprehensive dashboard like the one below. Figure out the story you want to tell. Create a mashup.

Indicative Dashboard for Gaming Industry
Final Thoughts

Anyone in the gaming industry is lucky to be in it. Everyone deserves to stay in the industry long-term and feel empowered to make their best decisions — all the time. Your Customer Analytics strategy needs to free up mental energy, so everyone can do their best work. 

Check out Indicative for yourself. Sign up for an interactive demo, in a few simple steps, here. You can work with our data or connect your own. 

Art via Absurd Design

Contributors Statement

This work was a collaboration between the Indicative team. Marc Liebmann, Esmeralda Martinez, and Tara McQuaide contributed to the narrative. Ritika Puri was the writer.

Disclosure

The opinions expressed are those of the authors. This material has been prepared for educational purposes only.