How to Integrate an Analytics System into your Game: Ready-Made Algorithm and devtodev Cases
If you are a growing company, then you have probably come across the question: will we develop our own analytics system or use an out-of-the-box solution? While in-house analytics appear to be more flexible, it can take years to develop. At the same time, a ready-made solution will save you a lot of time and money without sacrificing much flexibility.
Choosing an analytics system can be a daunting task for app or game developers. However, we have already covered this topic in our article, and now let’s imagine that you decide to integrate the devtodev analytics platform into your project.
On average, devtodev users can complete the integration in one week and enjoy a variety of helpful reports and dashboards right away. Moreover, they do not lose in flexibility, as the platform provides access to raw data and the SQL editor.
We asked our clients how long it took them to integrate devtodev into their projects and here’s what they said.
Michal Wiśniewski, BI Engineer at Remi Vision
Not that easy to say, as we were also doing some cleanup/reorganization in our analytics stack — I guess it took even longer than what I say below. On the other hand, we were recently adding D2D to our new production and there we made it in 50% of what I give below.
1. Creating an account and basic setup (~2–4 h)
2. Creating a document with the structure of events (~16 h)
3. Integrating events in the game (~12 h)
Liudas Ubarevičius, CEO at SneakyBox
It usually takes 1–2 days to implement the SDK itself depending on how advanced the project itself is. Around 4–5 days to implement the event structure you provided us with during the analytical consultations. But then again event structure really depends on the project itself, so it may really vary.
Volodymyr Pleskaniuk from Stepico
All in all, integrating devtodev into a project will take 8–16 hours. You can add a bit of time required for creating a document with an event structure (if you don’t have a ready one).
While it’s difficult to make an accurate time estimate — it depends heavily on the complexity of the game, the number of custom events needed, and your team’s experience with SDK integration in general — one thing is clear: you can save a lot of time if you integrate a ready-made solution like devtodev.
To simplify the integration process and structure passed events, devtodev recommends sticking to the standard algorithm.
Step 1. Collect Key Events
At this stage, you need to answer the question: what do you expect from your users?
Depending on the type of business, you will have different answers. This could be completing the tutorial, making a purchase, inviting friends, encountering a paywall, etc. You can choose any number of events you consider important and list them.
Step 2. Find out What’s Going on Around the Events
You have already identified the most important events that occur on the user’s journey. Now it’s time to answer additional questions: what does the user do right before and after the event?
By doing so, you are already planning the marketing funnels that you will create after the successful completion of the integration process. It also allows you, first, to create a better list of events for integration, and second, it saves yfou time that you may spend trying to answer the question “what to do with all this now?”.
Add any events that come to mind during the process to your event list, which can be an Excel file or just a piece of paper. You will be using this list shortly.
Step 3. Analyze the First Session
The first session needs to be analyzed and tuned to provide the most efficient user experience. Changing the first session does not require a lot of time and resources: you may need to change the location of tips, screen order or texts. These changes can affect a variety of retention metrics, from the day 1 retention to the long-term retention rate.
Don’t skimp on the first session. Skip as many events as possible because they will help you track the entire user journey on the first day and then use that data to build your marketing funnels.
devtodev, for example, has a ‘Tutorial Steps’ report. This is a simplified marketing funnel focused on the first session, where you can analyze the first hundred steps taken by users.
Step 4. Ask Yourself “The Most Important Question”
After you’ve finished listing the events you’d like to integrate, ask yourself the most important question — what are you going to do with the data when you see it in a report? Can you make a decision based on the information you receive? After that, you may decide to remove some events from the list without regret.
Step 5. Basic and Custom Events
Although analytics systems work differently, they all generally have basic and custom methods and events. The basic events are preset events that are processed by standard handlers. The custom events are absolutely any events passed by the client. They are limited only by the imagination of the client and the technical capabilities of the system.
You can take a look at all the basic events available in the devtodev platform. It is likely that they cover at least part of the events from your list.
In devtodev, in addition to the basic events (sessions and payments), there are some standard events made specifically for games. They give you access to more reports describing user behavior at different game levels and in different locations.
Step 6. Make Sense of Event Parameters
You can send both events and their parameters to the system: how long it took to complete the level, what was the battle score, how many attempts, steps, resources, etc. You can use parameters in any reports, including marketing funnels.
Take a moment to think about the parameters that accompany the event. Don’t confuse user parameters and event parameters. The user parameters include information about who completed the event and no information about the event itself.
Step 7. Testing
Save time and effort by testing event integration. Usually, analytics platforms allow you to test the integration from the very beginning: you simply create an event in the application and it appears in the system at the same time or with a delay of several minutes.
- Consider the limitations of your analytics system
Some systems build their pricing plan based on data points — the more events you pass, the more you pay. Other systems build it on the size of your monthly audience — in this case, you can use more events and pay for the number of users.
- Explore the capabilities of the selected analytics system
Once you have chosen an analytics system that will track the actions of your users, explore its capabilities, features and reports. This will give you a clear picture of how it represents the data.
Make sure you can solve all your problems and answer all your questions. For example: if you integrate events with parameters, you can manage them the way you plan.
- Don’t hesitate to integrate the analytics system right at the soft launch phase
This will allow you to collect all the data from the very beginning, monitor the metrics and their movement, and make the best decisions throughout the entire life cycle of the game.
- Store your data on more than one system
You can write your own analytics system or implement a ready-made solution (for profit or for free). It is always a good idea to compare data from several different sources in order to draw the right conclusions. Thus, you can use two analytics systems at once — the first one can be paid, and the second one can be free. The paid system will be your main source of information, and the free system will be used to verify the data.
Analytics is extremely important for any project, regardless of its size and profitability. It is an integral part of a game or application that will provide you with excellent information at all stages — from soft launch to live ops. It will reveal all the advantages and disadvantages of the project, help to find its strengths and weaknesses. Integrate analytics into your workflow!