Retention — How to increase your returning users!

In order of importance “Acquisition — Retention — Monetization”; I am discussing Retention 1st as it includes some development phase process, I will discuss acquisition in next article.

Game Development is a field which is generating Billions of revenues annually so attracting more and more developers. App Store and Google play providing very easy to reach platforms and almost equal opportunity to developers across the globe to try their luck. A guy who knows coding with a friend who knows Photoshop, making a team and dreaming of a game which will earn them a million dollars. Yes this can happen with someone but not everybody. Game development is a field where intense hard work is required in every department to make your game a success. Starting from market research and idea of the game, UI and UX, Game Design, flow of the game play, marketing and retention strategies, all it comes under the umbrella of game development and a little bit mistake in any department can call for a failure of the game.

In this very article I am going to discuss the flow of game play which is an important point to consider the retention strategy for your game. Apart from all other factors they should be considered while development, Retention strategy is very important to plan. After acquisition, retention is 2nd most important factor for an app’s or game’s success.

Here are some factors while everybody should consider.

  • Smooth shift of game play difficulty.
  • Challenge users reflexes.
  • User Experience Design
  • Global and regional Leader boards and achievements.
  • Friends challenges and Weekly or monthly events.
  • Daily Rewards for returning users.
  • Appreciating User on achievements.
  • Push notifications.
  • Social Media Engagement.
  • Challenge user’s power of decision

I believe in one single formula — “If You are bore making it, Players will be bore playing it”!

For me game development is not a conventional job that you can start and get a success, May be you will but for shorter duration. Its a field of passionate developers, gamer who love to play games and are enthusiastic to develop games that are loved by them first and then they present it to the market. From starting screen to end of the game, everything should be designed like how the gamer think, want to act and behave and how to progress in the game. They should know why they are playing it on another good day.

I will discuss the above 10 points after my articles on Acquisition and Monetization. Till that work smart on your game design. Note one thing, Smart work is better than Hard Work.

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UX is not just Design, It’s Experience.

What is UX? is it something related to designing, and you need to be a graphics designer to be a UX designer? Normally UI designers write UI/UX designers in their CVs.

Well there are a few concepts I want to share with you guys based on some studies, experiences and sessions with experts.

There are 2 very important fields in UX, one is UX researcher and one is UX designer.

Being a UX researcher we normally learn it from scratch, but 2 field from academia helps in a lot to be a UX researcher, one is Data Science and other is Human factor psychology, in which the later is the base for getting quality data and former is used to analyse the factors and its impact.

Being a UX designer, you normally use the research of UX researchers and design an experience based on that data. Although it’s coming with experience but suggested field for study to be a UX designer is Experimental psychology.

UX revolves around users, human beings and the behaviour of human beings and how they respond to each and every action. Sometimes concepts of psychology and real users data is in conflict and everyone has different approach to it, to adopt which which one? Human psychology changes with time and can only be predicted by Data, so I will suggest go with the data.

Last but not the least, a single person may be a UI and UX designer, can be expert in CX and BX too, based on his expertise. But better we keep every experience separate, and not merge it with other if we work in just 1 one the mentioned fields.

Thank You

Lets discuss User Acquisition!

Remind “Acquisition — Retention — Monetization”! Now lets discuss Acquisition.

Acquisition strategy is the 1st step after development of a game. One should plan acquisition strategy according to market trends and users psychology. Targeting right audience,optimize your screenshots and graphics, target markets, and publishing the game at the right time and other aspects comes under user acquisition strategy. (Para from article, ASO is Magic?)

The 1st step is how to acquire users, users going to stores, search, choose and Install. During this whole process users are making some decisions which we should notice thoroughly if we want UA (User Acquisition). Lets check it step by step how users are making decisions that ends in the install of an app.

Ranking in Search Keywords:

You must have heard a very famous quote “The best place to hide a dead body is second page of google”. Now lets discuss about user acquisition through search in app store.

First the user type a phrase or single word in app store search bar, he gets results for that search term that also includes search ads or Adwords sponsored apps. After that users scroll down and looking for apps, the next decision is based on two things, ICON and RATINGS. (We will discuss ICON and ratings in coming articles InshaAllah). After clicking on an icon, there are a lot of things that users notice before installing an app and that are screenshots, description (starting lines), top reviews, short description and feature graphic in Google Play store.

This was about organic downloads. Now lets discuss other factors briefly.


Localization has a great impact on user acquisition, you should translate your meta data/store listings for targeted users. People love to see it in their native/own language.

Game Center:

In Apple’s app store gamers challenge each other for challenges in the game and also search for games which includes Game Center, so one should see it an opportunity where users come often, and can be a great source of acquisition.

Cross Promotion:

Promote you new app in your existing apps, thats what cross promotion means. You cn use chartboost, heyzap, admob or any other network to specify the percentage of ads you want to serve for your own apps. The quality of your ad graphic ensures a CTR percentage.

In Game Ads:

This is a free source of advertisement, no cost and also effective. You can ask users to play your next game through a graphic pop up or a banner. You can also ask him on game transition points or on exit menu.

Social Media Advertisements:

This is one of the best and long lasting source for your acquisition but a very tough one too. Making your fans known to eachother so they can discuss features of the game or app and give you a feedback. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Quora etc are some great source of user acquisition, if you develop your social media first.

Paid advertisement:

Last one that I suggest is going for paid advertisements, paying for installs. Its rates varies from country to country. You should strongly check your ROI before going for paid advertisement or you will face some very bad results.

For more follow me on twitter @HILALKHAAN

ASO is Magic?

If you ask me this question about app store optimization, my answer will be a straight “NO”.

Quality, controls, game play interactivity, addictive factors and graphics are all the factors that developers are focusing on while developing games for mobile devices. With immensely increasing revenues from mobile games which is predicted to reach $100 billion in next few years, many leading companies in IT Market focusing on mobile apps and games. Stories of a lot of indie game developers are there to motivate young entrepreneurs and developers to step into the market, but its not only the technical skills of the developer that can guarantee the success of games or apps in the market. You can recall some hits like flappy bird as a great success but luck is there to help some but not all.

“Luck often helps those who don’t believe in it.”

Today I am going to discuss a few factors in brief, based on my experience and study in this field which supports strong ASO to become a success in game development. In this article I am going to discuss the most important triangle in apps business.“Acquisition — Retention — Monetization”


Acquisition strategy is the 1st step after development of a game. One should plan acquisition strategy according to market trends and users psychology. Targeting right audience,optimize your screenshots and graphics, target markets, and publishing the game at the right time and other aspects comes under user acquisition strategy. I will soon write about user acquisition strategies for games and apps.


After acquisition here comes retention which is the second most important thing after acquisition. In ASO we think we should care about keywords and title optimization only but to strengthen our ASO we need to focus on all factors that is necessary to get ranked on App Store. User Experience and compelling user to return to an app again and again is what matters to sustain your app in top charts. Push notifications, timely challenges, quests, and user experience are some factors that matters when you are planning for user retention strategy.


“Acquisition — Retention — Monetization” — The Most important triangle in the field of Games or apps development. I personally noticed a lot of developers who have acquired users and also maintained a good retention rate but they dump their apps with ads which is very irritating and compelling users to looks for an alternative. In-App Purchases in those apps are also unplanned, not displaying ads on proper transition points which results in losing active users of apps. Monetization is very important for sustaining apps business but too many ads cant help a developer to earn more. It needs proper planning to earn from apps for longer duration.

After planning the above 3 important strategies, next comes a few more factors that are market trends, Idea and its validation, User Experience, User Interface, Graphics. In short I will say app store optimization is no magic, you have to work hard on a lot of areas to get success. I will write about this in coming article. Till that be happy, keep learning and earning 🙂