My Top 5 Metrics for Climbing the Ranks as a Data Scientist in Tier Mobile Game Companies

From Zero to Hero: the game data scientist logbook

4 min readJan 14, 2023

Top companies are known for their skills to create, experiment and measure their product, having a clear understanding about their users’ behavior. Having a clear overview about your company’s performance is critical when it comes to strategy and decision making.

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Working as a lead data scientist in one of the top 5 mobile game companies taught me a lot about what to do and what not to do when it comes to climbing the ranks and becoming a superstar in the industry. With that in mind, here are my top 5 metrics that I would track always for any mobile game.

Daily Active Users (DAU) 🎮

DAU is the number of unique players who play the game on a daily basis. This metric is important because it reflects in a good way the engagement of your players. A high DAU means that your game is popular and that it is used a lot everyday.

It is important to separate DAU from Sign-ups in order to understand correctly the metric as a user that sign-ups have not demonstrated (yet) to be an active engagement player, so in this case you need to wait 24h after the user’s account creation.

Last but not least, this metric can really useful if you oriented it to a weekly basis (WAU) or monthly basis (MAU) if the game’s approach is to come back on the long-run. This is a very typical case for

Retention Rate 📈

As I mentioned before, measuring engagement is key to tracking the success of your released game. Another metric that supports engagement analysis is the retention rate.

Usually retention rate is calculated as the % of players who continue to play the game after the sign-up. Having a triangle retention and tracking retention rate over time, such as daily, weekly, or monthly, can provide valuable insights into which cohort of users are behaving better compared to others.

First Time User Experience (FTUE) 💭

Many games today have some sort of tutorial or guidance for new users.. Tracking the drop off of each step of this tutorial will give us insights about how many users understand how to play the game. A high % of FTUE conversion will lead to a greater engagement as users will understand the game’s mechanics.

Also, it might be interesting to combine the drop off with the time to complete each FTUE step, as this can give further insights into where players are struggling or getting stuck. We called this metric TTR (Tutorial Time Ratio):

TTR = FTUE completion rate per step / Time per FTUE step

For example, if a large percentage of players are dropping off at a certain step and it’s taking them an unusually long time to complete it, it may indicate that the instructions or mechanics at that step are not clear enough.

Virality 🔥

We already tackled the engagement and the on-boarding, but what about the reproduction cycle of the game? Virality is a metric that measures how efficiently your game is spreading in your platform with social sharing (it is hard to measure word-of-mouth). Usually it is calculated as:

Virality = number of users invited / users that sent the invitation

A high virality score indicates that users are actively promoting the game to their friends and on social media, which is strongly correlated with the increase of user acquisition and organic growth.

Many mobile game platforms, such as Facebook Instant, place a lot of importance on this metric when evaluating the potential success of a game and promoting it. For example, Facebook’s algorithm takes into account a variety of factors, including virality, engagement, and retention. The more a game is shared and played, the more it will be recommended to other users.

Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) 💰

When it comes to monetization, one key metric is the ARPU witch measures the average amount of money that a player is providing you in game. This will give you an overview of how successful your monetization strategy is.

It’s important to note that games may have multiple revenue sources, such as in-app purchases and ad revenue. Therefore, it may be useful to measure the ARPU for each individual revenue source, and then to look for a high overall ARPU, which indicates that players are generating a significant amount of revenue for the company.

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Looking forward to connecting with you! 🤝




🎯 Senior Data Scientist at Bravo Studio | 🎮 Ex-FRVR Game Data Scientist | 🤖 MSc in AI & Computer Science