Standard Events Explained: Part 1 – Onboarding
In my last post, I wrote about our new Standard Events package, which we’ve designed to make deep analysis of your game insanely simple. Now, I am glad to announce that the Standard Events package is available through our asset store.
As I wrote, Standard Events are organized into five categories:
Today, I want to dive into the first group of Standard Events: Onboarding, or, as it’s often called, the First-Time User Experience (FTUE).
Events in the Onboarding group
|first_interaction||action_id (optional)||Player’s first voluntary click/interaction with the game|
|tutorial_start||tutorial_id (optional)||Player started a tutorial|
|tutorial_complete||tutorial_id (optional)||Player completed a tutorial|
|Player completed a step within a tutorial|
|tutorial_skip||tutorial_id (optional)||Player skipped past a tutorial|
At a glance, it appears that these events focus primarily on tutorials, but the real message here is this: first-time user experience is critical. Basically, if your players don’t get past the FTUE, nothing else really matters.
So what questions are we answering?
Every event you track should be tied to questions you want to be answered. The key question here is «how well are my players’ onboarding?» Knowing the answer to this question is critical to a successful game.
Let’s go through these events one-by-one:
Question: Do players get past my first screen? Sometimes they don’t. Maybe the game crashed shortly after loading, maybe they lost interest. You may never know without instrumenting this event.
Place first_interaction on any button or control that represents the user’s first voluntary action in the game (you can optionally add an action_id to track precisely which button was clicked). If players aren’t getting past my first screen, there may be a problem with the artwork or users may be getting confused by my UI, or maybe my game is crashing.
Many games start with a tutorial, which often forms the backbone of the FTUE. Hopefully, it’s self-explanatory that we implement tutorial_start where the tutorial begins. Some games have multiple tutorials. All tutorial events accept an optional tutorial_id parameter, allowing us to track info for each tutorial independently.
The analog of tutorial_start, the tutorial_complete event indicates when my tutorial ends. The difference between starts and completes gives us a clear indication as to how effectively our users are getting through the first chapter of the gameplay experience.
It’s often helpful to be more specific about how far my players get in a tutorial. Doing so helps pinpoint where they get lost during this critical phase of play. The tutorial_step event requires you to pass in a step_index (int) parameter to identify how far players progress through the tutorial. Used in combination with tutorial_start and tutorial_complete, this event forms the basis of an «onboarding funnel,» which I discuss below.
If I put time and money into something, and players are skipping past it, that’s something I need to understand. Knowing that users are bypassing my FTUE is fundamental. Maybe my game is so self-explanatory that users don’t need a tutorial. Or maybe they’re bored. What if they’re getting stuck? Whatever the reason, if we allow players to skip our tutorial, we should log how often they do so with a tutorial_skip event.
What should I do with the Onboarding events I collect?
One great way to leverage FTUE events is to create an onboarding funnel. A funnel is a great analytics tool that simply shows how far players get in any linear experience (like a tutorial!). If we’ve implemented all the events above, a typical onboarding funnel would have steps like this:
- tutorial_step (step_index: 1)
- tutorial_step (step_index: 2)
- tutorial_step (step_index: 3)
And the output in the Funnel Analyzer might look like this:
If I saw these results in my onboarding funnel, I would be very worried and would want to address this right away. A certain amount of natural degradation is normal…a few players perhaps weren’t enjoying themselves. There’s a slightly larger-than-expected drop after the first tutorial step. But the drop-off between steps two and three is huge. We lost more than half our players there. Now, I don’t know exactly why that happened yet, but I’d want to focus a lot of energy here to figure it out and release a fix.
Additionally, we can chart the number of tutorial_start, tutorial_complete, and tutorial_skip events in the Data Explorer to identify how often the tutorial gets skipped. If our tutorial is skipped a lot, that might point to a tutorial that’s too long or too obvious, things we’d want to address.
By seeing how far players get in your FTUE funnel, you can quickly gain insights into where there may be unnecessary friction that causes players to churn (i.e., leave your game).
But wait! There’s more!
In the next installment, we’ll cover two other ways that players move around your game: progression (or how far do they get through your game?), and navigation (or what application screens do they visit?). In the final installment, we’ll delve into monetization and engagement.