6 Proven Ways to Improve Player Retention in Mobile Games

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In an era where mobile gaming is increasing dramatically, creating a successful game requires more impressive graphics. It demands a strategic approach to capturing and, most importantly, retaining players for the long term. A high retention rate is a testament to a game’s appeal and sustainability, making it a critical factor in its success and profitability.

Why Is Retention So Critical in Mobile Games?

Retention refers to a game’s ability to keep players returning over a specific time period. Higher retention rates are necessary because when users return to the game often, they are more likely to purchase in-app collections, watch ads, and invite their friends and others to join the game.

But there is another aspect: attracting new players is more expensive than keeping existing ones. To create a cost-effective retention strategy, developers should always prioritize retention rates. Thus, focusing on a plan to improve retention is a win-win scenario, driving both satisfaction and game profitability.

The challenge, however, lies in implementing the right tactics to guarantee high retention rates. Let’s explore six proven strategies to improve mobile game retention.

Improve Player Retention in Mobile Games

Create a Rewarding System

Reward-based techniques are a powerful way to maximize retention. Rewards tap into players’ achievement desires. They give players motivation to continue playing and engaging in games.

A rewards system gives players rewards when they reach a certain level, complete specific actions, or sometimes as random surprises. Those rewards could be power-ups, updated characters, exclusive items, or in-game currency.

What Are the Level-Up Mechanisms?

Level-up mechanisms are popular reward-based techniques. When users keep playing the game and progress, they gain upgraded levels and access to updated content. As a result, players engage.

In some cases, leveling up can also include aesthetic upgrades, such as improved character appearance or equipment.

It’s critical to balance challenge and reward in level-up mechanisms to ensure the game remains challenging but not difficult.

Different Reward Types:

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There are various types of player rewards you can use to motivate and engage your players.

  • Achievement Rewards: Players can earn rewards when they achieve something in the game. This could be reaching a milestone or finishing a task. These rewards are in-game currency, game items, or even upgraded characters and levels.
  • Daily Login Rewards: When players log in to the game daily, they can earn those types of rewards. This may seem simple, but it is an effective way to promote regular play of the game.
  • Seasonal or Event-based Rewards: These rewards are associated with limited-time events or specific seasons. Offering special rewards during holiday seasons or special events can add excitement and urgency, prompting players to return to the game.
  • Community Contribution Rewards: These rewards recognize and reward players for their contributions to the gaming community, such as helping other players, contributing to forums, or participating in community events.

A Smooth User Experience

When creating and designing any digital product, providing a smooth user experience is crucial, and games are no exception.

What is the User Experience in Mobile Game Apps?

User experience, or UX, means creating enjoyable, easy, and interactive gameplay for players. It can be viewed under the following headings:

  1. Usability: When players land, they should learn and start playing as soon as possible. If there is any time-consuming content, they can delete it immediately. Also, when focusing on usability, there is one other thing to consider: creating a design that is responsive for different device types and well-placed for touchscreen use.
  2. Graphics: High-quality graphics and sound are a huge contribution to UX. Games should have an appealing visual design. The design has to be matched with the theme and genre of the game. Colors and fonts should be carefully considered and should not be eye-straining.
  3. Accessibility: This means the game has to be easily accessible to many different audiences and ages. This can be done by supporting multiple languages, providing different levels to different players, and considering the player who has disabilities (such as color-blind mode, subtitles, etc.).
  4. Performance: The game should run smoothly without draining too much battery or overheating the device. The most important aspect is load time; it can be frustrating, and many players abandon games due to this. With the help of delivery networks (CDNs), image optimization, and efficient memory management, developers can speed up loading times.

Creating Efficient Onboarding

Mobile games need efficient onboarding if they want higher retention rates. Onboarding could include a tutorial on how the game works or a description of the basic mechanics, controls, and environment of the game. An effective onboarding process helps players learn more about the game before diving in.

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Source: UXArchive

Is Onboarding Necessary for Mobile Games?

The short answer is yes! Let’s look at why this is so important.

First, they play a huge role in player retention. Because when players first land in the game, they don’t know the interface or the mechanics.

The onboarding process helps them learn what is waiting for them. And with that, players feel cared for, and the feeling of addiction to the game increases even more, as a result of which the retention rate is more inclined to increase.

In addition, onboarding is the first contact with the player. It is an excellent opportunity for the game to showcase its unique features and gameplay and create excitement about the adventure.

Creating an Onboarding

6 Phases of Player Lifespan

Here’s how to make an onboarding flow for a mobile game step by step:

  1. Identify Your Target Audience: If you know your target audience in advance, you can determine how you should be creating your onboarding process. Which includes the complexity and length of the process.
  2. Define Key Aspects of Gameplay: After knowing your audience, it is time to define the core mechanics of the game that will be shown during onboarding. There are no restrictions here; it could be any mechanism in the game, such as characters, casting spells, purchasing items, or any other action that players frequently take.
  3. Establish a User Flow: Outline the steps that new players must follow to begin the game. The introduction could include details about the game’s story, a tutorial on how to play, a walkthrough of its menus, etc.
  4. Create the Tutorial: If your game has complex mechanics, you might need to include a tutorial. It should gradually introduce the player to the game mechanics, beginning with the most basic and progressing to more complex actions.
  5. Simplify Navigation: The interface should be as simple as possible so that players can easily navigate through the game, even if it is their first time playing. So be sure that every element is well-designed and clearly visible.
  6. Test: After creating the flow, test it on different devices and try to identify bugs and areas of confusion. Collect feedback and use it to improve the onboarding process.

Regular Content Updates

Keeping mobile games fresh and interesting challenges for developers. But for success, it is a must! But why do mobile games need new content?

In the highly competitive mobile gaming market, new content plays a critical role in sustaining and increasing engagement. By providing engaging experiences, challenges, and goals, developers constantly ignite players’ curiosity and motivation, keeping gameplay dynamic and attractive.

Consistent updates allow a game to stand out in a crowded market and draw in both new and returning players. This constant improvement in the gaming experience demonstrates the developer’s commitment to nurturing loyalty and promoting sustained engagement.

Additionally, content that encourages player interaction, such as multiplayer modes or co-op challenges, serves as a catalyst to establish and solidify the game’s community. Regular content updates guarantee game freshness and relevance, increasing retention.

Encourage Player Interaction

In mobile games, player interaction refers to how users engage and connect with other users while playing. It can be displayed differently in different games.

Why are Social Features Necessary in Mobile Games?

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Before learning why social elements are necessary for mobile, we should first break down what social elements are:

Multiplayer modes, social media integration, leaderboards, in-game chat systems, guilds or clans, events, and tournaments—all social elements

But why are they so necessary? We know that those features make games more engaging and interactive for players. In return for this, players return more often to the games, and the developer can increase in-game revenue.

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Shared Experience: For example, in some games, players can play with each other as a team or against each other, and this can bring enjoyment and a competitive spirit and make the game even more exciting.

Social Bonds: With the help of ‌in-game chat or clans/teams players can make a special bond with other players. These connections often drive players to return to games to play and hang out with their friends.

Player Motivation: Those elements can motivate the player to make progress and keep playing the game. For example, leaderboards add competition to games. When players see their game on that chart, they feel compelled to go higher.

How You Can Build a Strong and Growing Community?

We must say that building a strong and growing community is challenging!

But it is not impossible. Let’s say it involves more than adding social features. It is all about creating an environment where players can communicate, feel welcome, and build relationships with each other.

First, select the community space. Create social media content and forms on different websites. Mobile games are most popular on Facebook, Reddit, and Discord, but you can also use your own website. You can even create an in-game chat that allows players to interact within the game itself.

After selecting a community space, you need to listen and engage with your community. Encourage players to attend groups and share their thoughts and suggestions. And respond to their questions.

Host in-game events and tournaments to keep the community fresh and active. Regularly update the community with FAQs, challenges, and content. If you are using Discord, you can also add different bots to keep your audience engaged, like Pokétwo bot, TriviaBot, and Guided.

Another way to create a healthy community: set clear rules. Those rules will tell players what is acceptable and what is not when using those channels. It is important to take this step since it can affect the participation of other players.

Let me explain why. When players see fights or inappropriate language, they might not feel safe or welcome. Remember, the first thing we want to emphasize is that players should always feel safe and welcome.

Having rules keeps the community safe and friendly. This encourages them to take part more and helps the community grow.

Use Different Software

There are really effective tools developers can use to increase retention.

For In-game Event Tracking:

  • Firebase – Most popular and widely used platform. They offer analysis, database, messaging, and crash reporting services.
  • Flurry – Analytics tools that provide information about the app’s or game’s performance, user behavior, and marketing activity.
  • CleverTap – is A customer engagement and retention platform that provides real-time player behavior and insights.

For Push Notifications:

  • OneSignal – is a high-volume and dependable push notification tool for websites and mobile apps.
  • Bloomreach – A push notification tool integrated into its digital experience platform, provides personalized customer engagement.
  • Iterable – is A multi-channel growth marketing and user engagement tool that also has a push notification feature.

For User Segmentation:

  • Google Analytics – is a web and mobile app analytics service that tracks and reports traffic. User behavior can also be used for user segmentation.
  • Mixpanel – is an advanced analytics platform that tracks user interaction and allows for deep user segmentation.
  • Optimizely – is A leading experimentation and feature management tool that offers user segmentation and A/B testing to optimize the user experience.

For Competition and LiveOps:

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The One and Only Ratic: Ratic is a plug-and-play LiveOps tool for mobile games, boosting revenue and engagement through leaderboards, tournaments, and rewards for independent studios and publishers. With the help of Ratic, developers can build those features in just 3 days.

Isn’t that exciting? If you want to continue these development processes, spend 2-3 months, and lose both time and money, you can skip to the FREE TRIAL! But now that you’ve said enough, you can move on to the next page.


In the ever-evolving landscape of mobile gaming, player retention is a paramount metric that can influence your game’s success.

Implementing reward-based techniques, providing a smooth user experience, creating efficient onboarding, updating content, encouraging player interaction, and attracting returning players with rewards are proven strategies to boost player retention.

Each strategy has its own benefits, and when combined, it can create an engaging, enjoyable, and rewarding gaming experience. This keeps players returning. By adopting these strategies, you can ensure your game stands out in the competitive mobile gaming market.