Which KPIs are the Best Indicators of Success?

How do you know if your strategy is working?

Alex Scarborough, CEO & Co-Founder

Something that we get asked a lot at Teak is, “What KPIs should I be paying attention to when it comes to CRM? Does one matter more than the other?”

This is an important question, and we understand the desire for a simple answer. When it comes to push notifications and emails, you juggle so much - layer on the Player Lifecycle and things become even more complicated. Wouldn’t it be great if every week, one number just told you if things were on the right track?!

While there is no one magic number, there are a few KPIs that are helpful in gauging the success of your CRM efforts. Today, we’re going to break a few of them down and talk about what to look for and more importantly, how to look at them.

Screenshot of the game Metrico.

Lost in a metrics landscape in the game Metrico.

The first question you need to ask yourself is: what is my strategy trying to do? Are you trying to retain core players? Bring in new players? Bring back lapsed players? What we’re saying is: the KPI you most want to pay attention to will shift based on the campaign, as will the target numbers and needs for that KPI. Context is everything here.

And now let’s get to the KPIs!

Percentage of Daily Active Users from Notifications
The best measure of your overall messaging strategy will be the percentage of your players who come into the game through your notifications each day. We call this metric “Percentage of DAU from Notifications.” These are your most loyal players. Players who open the game from tapping on notifications are more likely to be your Core Players and are less likely to lapse. You can drastically reduce your churn rate by increasing the number of DAU coming in through notifications.

DAU from Notifications is also important because it can help determine if your messaging is working, even if something in the game is not 🫣. Essentially, if your percentage of DAU from Notifications is going up, but your overall DAU is going down, that means your messaging strategy is doing extremely well. But… your game needs some changes to keep people engaged once they tap in.

Overall, DAU from Notifications is a great raw metric to track, but context is always key here - it’s particularly good at measuring the effectiveness of your Core and Risk lifecycle strategies, but it is not quite suitable for Lapsed, Dormant, or Resurrected.

Click-Through Rate
Click-Through Rate is another great KPI to leverage for learnings, but once again, context is king. When looking at CTR as a KPI, you want to make sure you aren’t looking at two very different groups of players. Look at it this way: CTR is going to be different for a notification sent to Core players vs. Lapsed players. Lapsed players are less likely to engage with messaging than Core players. So, just because the CTR on that notification is lower doesn’t mean the notification is “worse.” CTR is heavily influenced by targeting. In that way, CTR is most useful for direct comparisons, such as in A/B testing.

For example, let’s say you want to try begging the player (against our advice ;) ) so you decide to A/B test it against copy where you tell a player about a new feature in your game. The CTR is meaningful, because if you’re doing a proper A/B test and those notifications are being sent to similar groups of Players, you’re getting an accurate comparison between the groups.

Return Value
We get asked about Return Value quite a bit, and for good reason – show me the money! But it’s a tricky one. We would almost classify it as a vanity metric more than a solid KPI. It’s a fun metric to watch, but be careful drawing any big conclusions from it.

Return Value is about the amount of money that was spent in sessions based on the notification that was tapped. As in, a player taps a notification then spends money in the game after. You might think - great! The notification did its work. However only a small portion of players will make a purchase in general. This means that little, seemingly at random changes (like a single player coming in and spending $100 instead of $10) can heavily skew Return Value. Because Return Value is easily skewed by these types of events, it is not a great KPI for understanding messaging effectiveness.

We wanted to touch on this number because it is one that is easily viewable on Dashboard view and often referred to, but we encourage you to focus on the KPIs above as more demonstrable examples of when a messaging cadence is working.

In the end, the best answer for, “what KPI should be the main indicator,” is… a little bit of all of the top ones, DAU and CTR especially. And filtering and comparing KPIs by Lifecycle is crucial as well.

Like we said at the start, there’s no single magic number we can point to that tells you what’s working. One extra rule of thumb we’ll leave you with is to normalize your numbers and use ratios where possible. For example, the raw number of clicks that you might get on a push notification isn’t very informative on its own. 5,000 clicks sounds great, but in comparison to what? If it’s 5,000 clicks after sending 25,000 notifications, that’s great! But 5,000 clicks sent to 3,000,000 people? Not as good. Avoid comparing raw counts, normalize them and compare the ratio.

To recap, Percentage of DAU is best for answering how the overall strategy is going, but it’s not effective in answering “Did A or B do better?” On the other hand, CTR isn’t ideal for analyzing your overall strategy, but is good for knowing what performed better in A/B testing or for comparing different messages sent to comparable audiences. So a mix of the two is ideal.

Questions? Let us know! We know that was a lot of information and we are here to help you.

Until next time!
Teak Team