Designing for Engagement

Designing for Engagement

10 min

Engagement is an important metric that influences both retention and monetization. Engaged players will come back more often, play longer, and are more likely to spend money in your game.

Creating engagement requires understanding what motivates engagement. In this article, we’ll examine five primary motivations for engagement: social, variety, convenience, achievement, and investment.

Glossary of Terms
Term Definition
Daily Active Users (DAU) The number of unique players playing your game in a day.
Monthly Active Users (MAU) The total number of unique players who play your game in a month.

1. Social

Creating and enabling social connections between players is a strong motivator, especially on a platform like Roblox. Social features can encourage players to form an emotional investment in your game.

Feature Explanation Suggested Metrics
Social areas Provide areas in your game that encourage social gameplay, such as lobbies and roleplaying spaces.
  • Average number of new in-game friends made in a day
  • Average session length
Community forums Build a community around your game through channels like Roblox groups, Twitter, and Discord.
  • Number of new monthly subscribers to social channels as a percent of your game's MAU
  • Number of total monthly subscribers to social channels as a percent of your game's MAU
  • Percentage of all subscribers that send at least one message through a channel (active subscribers)
  • Average number of messages sent per monthly active subscriber
  • Retention of subscribers vs. non-subscribers
Competitive and/or cooperative gameplay Design gameplay that requires multiplayer interactions, such as player-vs-player (PVP) battles or cooperative puzzle solving.
  • Percentage of games played in PVP mode or co-op mode
  • Retention of players who play PVP or co-op mode vs. players who play solo
Avatar customization Players like to show off! Allow your players to customize their avatar with hats, unique in-game items, and other vanity items.
  • Percentage of DAU who open your in-game customization menu
  • Percentage of DAU who customize their avatar
  • Retention of players who customize their avatar vs. those who don't
Social groups Allow your players to create in-game social groups like leagues, clans, guilds, and families.
  • Number of new social groups created per month as a percentage of your MAU
  • Average number of players per social group
  • Percentage of MAU who join a social group
  • Retention of players who join a social group vs. players who don't

2. Variety

Include a variety of gameplay modes and things to do to keep your game interesting to players.

Feature Explanation Suggested Metrics
Progression Unlock additional game modes or levels with new content through progression.
  • Percentage of players who reach Level 2, Level 10, etc.
  • Average time to Level X
Provide both casual and enthusiast gameplay Casual: Roleplay, round-based play, mini games, click-based gameplay.

Enthusiast: Grinding, exploration, skill-based gameplay, multiple ways to "win."
  • Percentage of games played for each game mode
  • Percentage of games played by the average "casual" player vs. "enthusiast" player
  • Average session length for casual players vs. enthusiasts
  • Average number of sessions per month for casual players vs. enthusiasts
Regular updates Train your players to expect updates with new content and/or features at regular intervals.
  • DAU
  • DAU/MAU Ratio in months with updates vs. months without
Player-vs-Player (PVP) content PVP content is a scalable way to provide players with an almost unlimited variety of experiences.
  • Percentage of players who engage with PVP content
  • Retention of players who engage with PVP content vs. players who don't
Emergent gameplay Emergent gameplay results when your game offers flexible systems or level design that allows players to do the unexpected and find ways of playing your game that you didn't intend. Identify the actions taken by players engaging in emergent gameplay to define related engagement metrics.

3. Convenience

Make it easier for your players to start and continue playing your game by providing multiple ways to access it. Features like game update notifications can help re-engage players with new content.

Feature Explanation Suggested Metrics
Cross-platform availability Allow players to join your game on their computer, mobile, or Xbox for maximum engagement; make sure your game is fun and easy to play on all supported platforms.
  • Percentage of MAU who are on each supported platform
  • Average session length per platform
  • Average number of sessions per player in a month (per platform)
  • Retention per platform
Game update notifications Send articles/Promoting Your Roblox Game|game update notifications to re-engage players who may not be actively following your game. Once Game Update Notifications Analytics are available:
  • Number of views per notification
  • Percentage of players who see your notification who actually click through to your game

4. Achievement

Some players are motivated by the sense of achievement, competition, and/or mastery. Balancing your progression is one way to create a sense of achievement and variety.

Feature Explanation Suggested Metrics
Leaderboards Inspire players to strive for the top and compete with one another by articles/Leaderboards|showing leaderboards.
  • Leaderboard churn, meaning the percentage of new and existing players in the top 5, top 10, top 100, etc. per month
  • Retention for players in the top rankings of your leaderboard
  • Average continuous time spent in a top rank
Badges articles/Badges Special Game Awards|Create badges that can be achieved through mastery of gameplay mechanics or spending time in your game. For each badge:
  • Percentage of all players who have earned the badge
  • Average time until the badge is earned
  • Average session length for players who earn the badge
  • Average number of sessions per month for players who earn the badge
Skill-based gameplay Design gameplay mechanics such as combat moves that require precise timing or particular button combinations, allowing players to train and improve their skill at those mechanics.
  • Number of players who have used a skill-based mechanic X number of times as a percentage of MAU.
  • Average time until a skill level or mastery is attained
Visual progress indicators Visual indicators such as an "experience points" bar that demonstrates a player's progress towards the next level, providing a satisfying reflection of their efforts and the remaining distance to the next goal.
  • Percentage of MAU who reach goals such as a certain level or achievement

5. Investment

Investment refers not only to the money that players spend in your game, but also the amount of time, effort, and dedication they’ve put into it. The more they have contributed or built in your game, the more invested they are to continue playing.

Feature Explanation Suggested Metrics
Housing/property ownership Allow players to have a space that is theirs to customize, such as a home which they can buy or build out.
  • Percentage of MAU who acquire a house/property
  • Percentage of property-owning MAU who customize their property, such as painting, expanding, decorating, etc.
Building systems Enable players to demonstrate their creativity and ingenuity by creating items or structures in your game.
  • Percentage of MAU who use the building system
  • Average number of creations per player in a month
Currency over time Provide short-term and long-term goals (valuables or vanity items) that your players want to save up currency to buy.
  • Number of players with currency balances in certain ranges, for instance "< 500", "< 1000", "< 10,000", etc.
  • Number of purchases per item as a function of item price
Skill-based gameplay Inspire players to invest time and effort into mastering skills in your game, creating a stronger sense of investment.
  • Average gameplay time until the player uses a skill-based mechanic X number of times

Now that you have an idea of how you can design for engagement, learn how to track the impact of your design in articles/Measuring Engagement|Measuring Engagement.

  • analytics
  • engagement
  • metrics