Get relevant information on mobile marketing delivered to your inbox.
Back to blog

The Art of Player Engagement: Mastering Game Retention Techniques

Apoorv Bhatnagar Apoorv, Sr. Digital Marketing Manager at CleverTap, drives digital marketing strategies. Expert in SEO, analytics, and channel marketing. Previous roles at Freshworks, excelling in organic SEO, lead generation, and CMS activities.
The Art of Player Engagement: Mastering Game Retention Techniques

Gaming is a fiercely competitive domain in the world of mobile apps and acquiring new players in a game is only half the battle. The real task is keeping the acquired users engaged so they keep returning for more. Engagement and  game  retention is the much needed lifeblood for the success of any gaming app. The art of understanding players, anticipating their needs and building a connection that keeps them invested in the game for the long haul is Game Retention. Without building a loyal player base, even the most innovative game concepts can fall into obscurity.

Understanding The Impact Of Player Churn

It is imperative to understand what is churn before diving into retention strategies. Churn refers to users lost within a specific period of time while game retention rate indicates the percentage of users that continue to engage with the app. Did you know that only 4% of the top 25% of games are retained beyond the first 28 days, a high rate of churn translates to loss of revenue, a decline in in-app purchases and ultimately a diminishing player base. It is pivotal to pin the causes behind churn in order to implement effective game retention strategies. 

Causes of Player Churn

  • Loss of interest due to dull or repetitive gameplay, lack of challenges or sluggish progression.
  • Unappealing rewards and loyalty programs.
  • Confusing or frustrating user experience due to poor onboarding.
  • Unbalanced in-app purchases or too many intrusive ads.
  • Technical glitches like bugs and crashes.  

To bridge the gap between acquiring players and converting them into paying users, game retention is the critical factor that determines any  game’s success. Fortunately, there are a number of strategies developers can utilize to mitigate churn and foster a thriving player base.

Mastering Game Retention Strategies

Personalized Engagement

Significantly boost engagement by providing gamers with an experience specifically tailored for their individual needs. User CleverTap capabilities like segmentation to group players by preferences, in-game behavior and demographics to enable targeted communication. CleverTap allows hyper-personalization with over 2,000 player attributes to craft offers that resonate deeply with each individual. This ensures that users receive relevant content, offers, deals, rewards and challenges that resonate. For eg: Sending a welcome message to new users or pushing exclusive rewards and challenges to engage ace gamers. 


Enhance user engagement by integrating game mechanics beyond core game play to foster a sense of achievement and motivate players to return for more. Developers can broaden the scope to experiment with CleverTap by A/B testing different reward systems, leaderboards, goals and achievements to determine what motivates the users. Implementing periodic quests with escalating levels of difficulty or a loyalty program that rewards returning users for consistent engagement can be considered.

Build Community

Strengthen loyalty and player engagement by fostering a strong sense of community. Features like social media sharing, chat rooms and guilds can facilitate interaction among players. In-game community events and quests can boost a sense of belonging among players encouraging players to return to interact  and compete with peers. 

LiveOps and Real-time Engagement

Monitor player behavior in real-time with LiveOps. LiveOps is the process of pushing updates and improvements to a current game without releasing a sequel or a different version of the game. CleverTap provides a comprehensive LiveOps suite that allows developers to identify trends and resolve issues promptly which is crucial for the long-term success of an app.  Trigger personalized campaigns, address churn risk and optimize the game experience for players in real-time with LiveOps

Smooth Onboarding and User Journey Optimization

Set the stage for long-term engagement with a seamless onboarding experience. User journey orchestration feature enables developers to design bespoke onboarding workflows that usher new players through the features of the game. The leaves the users with a positive first impression and decreases the probability of churn

Seamless Communication

Maintain clear and consistent communication with players. Utilize means like push notifications, in-game messages and email campaigns to keep gamers informed about updates, events, and exclusive offers to bring them back to the game. 

Rewards & Recognition

Engage gamers by rewarding them  for achieving milestones with-in the game, participating in events and meeting goals. CleverTap’s robust reward feature empowers developers to personalize rewards, create loyalty programs and gamify the user experience, keeping players motivated and engaged.

CleverTap is an all in one engagement platform that offers a suite of powerful features beyond the foundational elements. Here are some additional capabilities that empower developers to elevate retention strategies to the next level. 

  • RFM Analysis – Identifies valuable players at the risk of churn and allows targeted interventions to retain them.
  • Multi Channel Campaigns – Craft personalized engagement journeys across channels with a single, intuitive drag-and-drop interface that branches and adapts based on player behavior.
  • Push Notification – Remind players about upcoming events, limited time offers and provide personalized in-game experience with relevant and timely push-notifications.
  • In-app Campaigns – Create and run targeted in-app campaigns to promote new features, content updates and offers based on player segments.
  • Real-time Player Data – CleverTap’s TesseractDB shatters data silos, offering real-time access to every player action, right from the very first click to the latest conquest.

Developing an effective game retention strategy is always a work in progress that requires constant monitoring, adaptation and experimentation. With CleverTap Gaming, developers can leverage analytical data and insights to gain an in-depth understanding of the player base and implement constructive engagement and retention strategies to build a thriving and loyal community around their game.  Remember, the art of player engagement is a journey, not the final destination and continuous efforts made in the right direction are key to provide a holistic player experience. To learn more about how CleverTap can help master game retention techniques schedule a demo.

Posted on March 17, 2024