Player Lifecycle: Managing Core and Risk Players

Recommended push and email cadences for your most active players.

Alex Scarborough, CEO & Co-Founder

Last week we introduced the concept of the Player Lifecycle and walked you through all the stages. 

Today, we’ll be focusing on some of our best advice to keep your Core and Risk players happy and playing. Look for more on lapsed, dormant and resurrected players in the future!

As we noted last time, Core and Risk are critical because these players are the ones most likely to interact with your messaging. Giving active players a nudge is much easier than trying to get players to return later down the road when they’ve already lapsed, or worse, uninstalled. 💀

The first goal is to keep the Core players happy so they are less likely to lapse in the first place.

Retaining Core Players 😍

At Teak, we define Core players as players who are active 5 or more days a week. Typically, 85% of revenue comes from these players. With the proper messaging strategy, 95% will come back the following week.

For Core, our recommendation is to send two push notifications and one email, with rewards attached, every day. Hitting that daily cadence is important, especially when it comes to email. This way, you meet them at every opportunity you can. 

We know some of our customers find the daily cadence to be a bit much, but we want to reiterate how important it is to do it. Consistently, we’ve seen daily emails and at least two daily pushes work across the board for player retention. The player needs to not only become used to seeing an email from your game everyday, but also know they can rely on a daily reward with that email. This builds a habit with the player.

Don’t forget that these are your Core Players, the majority of your revenue - look at possibly pushing the rewards as high as you feel comfortable. Think of your messaging as a second daily bonus for your players. Let them know you appreciate their loyalty and, more importantly, show that appreciation before they become Lapsed Players. Reward them while you have them (and don’t forget to tell them).

Turning Risk Players into Core Players

The second group we’ll be tackling today, Risk Players, requires a little bit more finessing than the Core Players. When it comes to the Player Lifecycle, each phase of the lifecycle is designated by the frequency a player is playing.

For Risk, we’re looking at players who are playing 1-4 days a week. We’re trying to get them to play 5-7 days a week. We’ll be subdividing Risk Players into categories to better approach them and offer unique advice based on the subcategories:

  • Low Risk 😐
    Someone who is playing three or four days a week is low risk. They could still lapse, but it’s a lower chance than if they were playing only one or two days a week. At this stage we recommend increasing your messaging cadence to 3 push notifications and 1 email per day. Low Risk Players should be receiving the same messages as Core, just with the additional push notification layered on top. This is a good time to use an automated recurring daily push.
  • Medium Risk 😬
    These players played for 2 out of the last 7 days. We still recommend the same 3 push notifications you’re sending to Low Risk a day, but we’d bump emails up to 2 a day. Look especially at times of day and where you can meet them at unique out of the box moments. To hit this additional cadence, consider using an automated campaign that’s running an A/B Test. This will allow you to try different captions, images, rewards and titles to see what works best for getting Medium Risk Players to play more.
  • High Risk 🥱
    In this category, these players played on only 1 day out of the last 7. At this phase, we suggest reducing the cadence. Because they are less active, we don’t want to overwhelm them or make them feel as though they are being spammed. However, while you are reducing the amount of content you send them, we’d recommend increasing the rewards. We might even say you should double rewards. Whatever it is, offer them more for coming back, but ask them less times. Mix it up between 1 email and 1 push, 1 email, and 1 push. Each time, you can use one of the messages already going out to Core, but simply increase the reward.

You might be wondering where paying & VIP players factor into this Lifecycle. Rather than thinking about them as separate phases in the cycle, think of them as layers you can add on top of Core & Risk Players. The simplest approach is to use Teak’s Audience Controlled Rewards so you can send a single message that provides bigger rewards so your payers and VIPs get the rewards they deserve. And yes, paying & VIP players should be getting higher rewards. Keeping them happy is important, but you know that. :) 

Now that we have talked over the key Core and Risk Players, the next phases to consider are Lapsed and Dormant players. We’ll cover them in part three of this article series!

Let us know if there is anything in particular you’d love to hear more about - what questions do you have and what would be most helpful?

Until next time,
Teak Team