Apparently, the best things in life aren’t free. According to a new study from Swrve, a company that helps developers monetize their apps, 66.1 percent of new players (meaning people who downloaded a certain app for the first time) stop playing freemium smartphone and tablet games within 24 hours of their first session. The rate of engagement is similarly low in terms of how many times a user plays a game. More than 19 percent of new players opened their game apps only once. Over a 90-day period, only 54.5 percent of new players actually had five or more sessions with the new game.
“… these numbers relating to retention (and number of sessions played) suggest that acquisition as a metric is in many cases close to worthless,” the research read.
The study, which we should stress is by a company that makes its money from helping developers build pricing into apps, was spotted by Recode. It also tracked the spending habits of new gamers. The results were similarly discouraging. Only 2.2 percent of new players made in-app purchases within their first 90 days with the game. This means that developers of freemium games actually have to rely on advertising to make a profit. Paying customers average 3.3 purchases and shell out a total of $20.62. This comes to grand total of $0.45 per install.
“This suggests that – as we have previously noted – the early days of life are absolutely vital when it comes to ‘converting’ freemium players on mobile. It is imperative to make every effort to put the right experiences and offers in front of players from the very moment they begin play in order to maximize the revenue generated in what can be a very short window.”
Freemium games were the most profitable section of online app stores last year. Most of the apps that occupied the iOS App Store and Google Play Store charts were free games, the most popular of which were Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans.