Player Lifecycle: Reaching Lapsed & Dormant Players

How to nudge inactive players without going overboard.

Alex Scarborough, CEO & Co-Founder

The other week, we started getting into the major components and learnings of the Player Lifecycle, starting with Core and Risk players. Specifically, we wanted to give you all the tools you need to gauge cadence of notifications and emails based on where players are in the Lifecycle.

This week, it’s time to talk about Lapsed and Dormant players.

Bringing back Lapsed and Dormant players can seem like a nearly impossible task. But with the right notification schedule, you can almost double the number of lapsed players who return to your game instead of becoming dormant.

Lapsed Players: How Much Should You Notify Them?

At Teak, we recommend considering a player to have lapsed when they’ve gone between seven and 30 days without playing. For the vast majority of games, this is going to be your third largest group.

Lapsed Players are an important group because they are your last chance at getting a player back before they become fully Dormant. At Teak, we consistently see that you are 50% more likely to reengage a lapsed player than a dormant player. Not only that, pushes go further with this group as well: you’re two times more likely to be able to reach a lapsed player by push than a dormant player.

Once a player is Lapsed, you want to take quite a significant cutback on your messaging cadence. Scaring the player off is a very real concern. Try only sending one push notification every other day, and an email once a week. Instead of thinking about the volume of notifications you should be sending, focus instead on front loading bigger rewards. For example, increase the bonus you’ve been typically offering by 10x. 

Also just as important is making sure you’re telling them about new features or new events that are currently happening. Give them reasons to come back and actually play and have fun in the game - more on that in our article on reengagement content.

We’d also recommend using Teak’s A/B Testing feature to test different copy, headlines and rewards against each other. When you’re sending less notifications, like you will be for Lapsed Players, you want to know which ones are working. 

Dormant Players: Email is King

A Dormant Player has gone at least 30 days without playing. So between 7 and 30 days, they are considered Lapsed, but after the 30 day mark, they become Dormant.

Once a player has been gone for more than a month, we’re no longer talking about reengagement. Instead, this becomes about reacquisition. 

The messaging cadence should drop significantly when a player becomes Dormant. A Dormant player is much more likely to disable notifications, mark your emails as spam, unsubscribe and even flat out uninstall the game. You don’t want them to do this as a result of bugging them too much in notifications.

We would recommend no more than one message a week for this phase of the Lifecycle. And when you do send that weekly push or email, the reward on it should be substantial. Additionally, the same principles from Lapsed players apply here as well: focus on new features and content, not on begging them to return. Give them an exciting reason to come back.

Email is going to be much more effective at reengaging Dormant Players - our data shows that email is 2.5x more effective than push notifications here. Email is where you’ll really want to reemphasize the fun, and what they’re missing by not being in the game.

The Tipping Point

If someone has gone for more than six months without playing your game, they are not Lapsed, nor are they Dormant - they should be considered as truly gone. At six months, it’s difficult to justify sending an email or push. You absolutely can, but if you do, just be prepared for high spam report rates.

That isn’t to say you should give up entirely - but new tactics are needed! Push notifications will have almost no value here, so don’t spend too much time on them. Instead, concentrate on sending rare emails with huge rewards, talking exclusively about new content, and only to your most valuable players. 

Questions? Thoughts? Anything you need more info on? Let us know!
Teak Team