Nine ninja tricks for social apps

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<p>Making Friends with Big Data</p> <p>The Art of Social AppAnalytics</p> <p>Kinran@HAStark1NineNinja Tricks</p> <p>Kinran@HAStarkWhy Ninja? Its the approach you take when you dont want to hire an army you just want to get something done quickly without making a lot of noise, and without following the rules of war. Dressing in black is optional but I find it useful to get into the mood.21use DAU/MAU wisely Kinran@HAStarkPeople talk about DAU/MAU being a stickiness ratio, or an engagement metric. The ninja approach here is to use it wisely.3when you have no choiceKinran@HAStarkBy which I mean only use it when you have no choice. Its free - but you get what you pay for.4DAU/MAU=??how many users on Dayi have been users at some point during the past month</p> <p>how many users who have been active in the past month were active on Dayi Kinran@HAStarkPeople THINK they know what DAU/MAU is. They think its something to do with the relationship between daily use, and monthly use. Something to do with retention. Something to do with engagement.5Nohow many users on a particular day have been users at some point during the past month?</p> <p>how many users who have been active in the past month were active on that day?Kinran@HAStarkNo no no. 6DAU/MAU </p> <p>!=</p> <p>engagementretentionstickinessOn day 28DAU/MAU= 33%</p> <p>Kinran@HAStarkHeres the catch. DAU/MAU doesnt tell you anything for sure about whether an individual user ever comes back, ever. Thats something youd want in a measure of retention, for sure.</p> <p>Lets look at this example, just quickly. Lets say you have a game that kills off anyone who plays it. Weve all been there, yes? Player A comes, aaagh. Player B, eurgh. Player C, (come on, lets have a sound effect). This is not a sticky application, except if you mean blood sticky. But if you look at DAU/MAU on day 28 its got a 33% DAU/MAU. Hello? </p> <p>By all means look at it. But dont take it seriously. So, if youre looking at your own data, you can do better, for sure. If you want to know about retention, look at retention. If you want to know about frequency and duration of play, look at it. 72have spies everywhereKinran@HAStarkAnother piece of ninja advice. Have spies everywhere. Dont rely on any one of them. (You know what spies are like.)8</p> <p>session timingsdemographicssocial channelevent contextcohortsKinran@HAStarkNow if youre going into a project with a big budget and full stack data science skills in house, you probably want to have a standing army. OK. </p> <p>But if you are a ninja, you want irregular forces that you can co-opt at low cost, and use all of them to the limit of their ability, even if their ability is limited. </p> <p>I worked on a project where we duct-taped 3 types of info together. Google Analytics which does a handy session timing measure (excluding the last page, as you never know what the last page is until the universe ends), Facebook Insights, which is particularly powerful in combination with buying facebook ADS, and tells you stuff you cant get any other way, stuff that only Facebook knows for sure, and MixPanel.</p> <p>When Im saying we used duct tape for integration, thats overstating it. Manual integration, cut and paste. Still very useful. Appropriate technology. You could build a dashboard with an integrated realtime feed, and you probably should, probably, for projects with a long lifespan. But you can do a lot with gestures.</p> <p>MixPanel is cloud-based with a freemium pricing model, which makes it a very easy on-ramp, and easy to ditz around with. Ive also, personally, had really good experiences with their support. </p> <p>And the cool thing about it is its totally flexible data model. You throw it stuff, it catches it, and then it does its best to let you query it in a sensible way. Its up to you to log what you think is important, when you throw it an event. You can append whatever you like in the way of event properties, when you send it an event to log. So it you want to say that when victim dies, professor plum was in the library with a candlestick, then go ahead. Gofor it. Its happy for you to add OnVictimDie(timestamp, professorloc, weaponloc). You can capture as much context as you like, and interrogate it later. </p> <p>At some point you might find yourself telling it everything. Thats when you probably want to look at bringing it inhouse.</p> <p>Ill talk a bit later about HOW you can use information from multiple spies. 93use the right weaponsKinran@HAStarkHeres another Ninja trick.10the ones youve gotKinran@HAStarkAdmiral Lord Nelsons view on strategy was just go straight at em. This isnt stealthy, as it involves cannon, and large warships, but its ninja.</p> <p>Basically the right tools are the ones you can use right away. When you outgrow them, get new ones. 11</p> <p>image: http://www.cluedofan.com/Plum.gif</p> <p>Kinran@HAStarkDont worry about how you kill Professor Plum. Just do it.124use your sword a lotKinran@HAStarkIts very ninja to use your sword a lot, so do it.13</p> <p>Kinran@HAStarkThe basic sword technique is to never just have one slice. Go back for 2nds, and thirds.1415Look </p> <p>Ad 1Ad 2Cost per user1.002.00Kinran@HAStarkHeres a sanitised example. Youve got 2 types of ad campaigns. One costs double the other, per acquired user. If you dont know anything more, you would think the cheaper one is better. Sensible.1516Lookagain </p> <p>Ad 1Ad 2Cost per user1.002.001-weekretention5%</p> <p>20%Kinran@HAStarkBut the point is you dont need to stop here. Look at what happens to the different groups of users. The cheap ones dont stay, and the pricey ones do.</p> <p>So if what you want are people who stick around, then the seemingly expensive campaign is much better value. Twice as good.1617Lookagainagain </p> <p>Ad 1Ad 2Cost per user1.002.001-weekretention5%20%80% males20% males1% for males40% for femalesKinran@HAStarkBut this isnt the end of the story. If you drag in the Facebook Insights perspective on things, you can see there are some very interesting interactions between the variables. The cheap ad converted lots of GUYS. The expensive ad converted lots of GALS.</p> <p>And guys hate the app.</p> <p>Well, I lied a bit. It doesnt tell you the reason. It doesnt tell you why guys like the first ad, but they dont like the game. But its something you can think about once you know whats going on.17There isonly onetechnique18ThinkLookKinran@HAStarkThis is not rocket science. You can use rocket science, but you can go a fair old way by using your eyes and your brain.185dont be boringKinran@HAStarkthis is a biggie1920Kinran@HAStark20Google split-tested 41 shades of blue to get the right one. Theres a great rant about it from Doug Bowman on Design at Google.</p> <p>When a company is filled with engineers, it turns to engineering tosolve problems. Reduce each decision to a simple logic problem.Remove all subjectivity and just look at the data. ...And that data eventually becomes a crutch for every decision,paralyzing the company and preventing it from making any daringdesign decisions.</p> <p>Top is Google. Bottom is Bing.</p> <p>That blue is worth at least $80 million to us, says Bing UX leader.</p> <p>Lifes too short. 6get exploringKinran@HAStarkAsk big questions. Experiment. A/B is best but doing something is better than nothing. </p> <p>Ninjas think tactically. Do users do better with a tutorial? When is bundled pricing better? What level of reward, for whom? Which reminders.</p> <p>Ninjas also need to think strategically. </p> <p>What INTERESTING things can you learn about how to improve your app, by changing it in a systematic way? Not just butt-physics.</p> <p>21this is your engine</p> <p>22ThinkLookChangeKinran@HAStark7encourage plotsKinran@HAStarkAs a good Ninja you should be into plots. The more dastardly the better, really.</p> <p>People usuallly think of plots as hiding secrets. Ninja plots are different. Plots can reveal secrets. </p> <p>231216vsKinran@HAStarkLets say youve got two design variations, people using one spends 12 with you, and the other 16.</p> <p>Thats pretty cool. 33% improvement, whey hey! Lets put everyone into Design B.247</p> <p>Kinran@HAStarkBut not so fast. If you look at the average, you miss a lot of really interesting info.</p> <p>Both these picture show two groups with and average spend of 12 and 16. What the plot shows, in addition to the average, is the range of values in each group, and how frequent values are within this range.</p> <p>For the first set of data you can be pretty confident that the groups were different. And for the second, you cant. </p> <p>There are ways of doing this with statistics, but your eyes are actually pretty good at it. And very ninja.</p> <p>And for social games, theres a lot of interesting info in the tail. Revenue tends to fat-tailed.258plunder the enemies tacticsKinran@HAStarkIf someone leaves something potentially valuable lying around in public, like on Slideshare, its ninja to run off with it into a darkened room. </p> <p>But once youve run off with your borrowed benchmark, or mechanic, or whatever, dont swallow it wholesale.</p> <p>People are impressed by stray facts, like so-and-sos app has a k-factor of 3, or .3, or a day 2 retention of 30%.</p> <p>The point is that if youve stolen this number from someone who really knows what they are doing, the number theyve picked out is one which is important for their app. And theyve found that out by looking. </p> <p>Is Day 2 retention the best predictor of long term loyalty, successful invitations, and good monetisation? Maybe. Or maybe not. </p> <p>If you intervene and try to boost Day 2 retention, will that be the same as Day 2 retention which is organic? Maybe. Maybe not.</p> <p>268</p> <p>use the seeds to</p> <p>grow your ownKinran@HAStark9believe in one thingKinran@HAStarkas a ninja you are violent and quick but dont necessarily have a huge brain. so dont clutter it up.28Acquisition costMedia costConversion rateVirality</p> <p>Re-engagement costService delivery costEngagementRetention</p> <p>Monetisation</p> <p>YieldDirectIndirectKinran@HAStarkLTCVKinran@HAStarkAll the other stuff you look at is only important because it relates to lifetime customer value. And although there are ways of gaming the result - I do believe that value for the provider and value for the customer are linked.30use DAU/MAU wiselyhave spies everywhereuse the right weaponsuse your sword a lotdont be boringget exploringencourage plotsplunder the enemies tacticsbelieve in one thing</p> <p>Kinran@HAStarkSo heres a wrapup. If you want to stay in touch, check me out on Twitter, @HAStark.31</p>