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Social and Mobile Game Glossary & Terminology

August 2 LuckyLady
Social and Mobile Game Glossary & Terminology

With social games, social poker rooms and mobile gaming apps popping up on every device with a wifi connection, social and mobile game terms are all over the internet and technology news sites. Here is an exclusive glossary of terms for reference to get you up to speed in the wrold of social and mobile taming.

A/B testing

Also known as split testing, A/B testing involves testing two small changes to your creative, website or game on a live service and measuring which performs better by equally splitting traffic.

Addressable Market Size

The number of people who could become players of a game.

Advertising Network

Sells ads across multiple publishers in order to optimise ad delivery based on the user rather than context.

Ad Server

A web tool that intelligently delivers multiple advertising campaigns spread over time.

Affiliate marketing

A marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

Affiliate Network

Acts as an intermediary between publishers (affiliates) and merchant affiliate programs. It allows website publishers to more easily find and participate in affiliate programs which are suitable for their website (and thus generate income from those programs), and allows websites offering affiliate programs (typically online merchants) to reach a larger audience by promoting their affiliate programs to all of the publishers participating in the affiliate network.


Software served through a social network obeying platform rules and using user profile data.


An online store for downloading applications.


Average revenue per daily active user.


Average revenue per active user. ARPU is calculated by dividing the total revenue for the month by the total number of unique players for the month.


Average revenue per paying user. ARPPU is calculated by dividing up the revenue amongst the users who paid anything at all. This yields a figure that is significantly larger than ARPU.

Casual Game

Games that typically feature simple rules and controls, increasing levels of difficulty featuring light, non-difficult and sometimes short-duration gameplay.


The percentage of customers who leave a service every month/year.

Conversion Rate

The percentage of players who convert from free players to paying players.


A group of subjects who have shared a particular experience during a particular time span. In social gaming metrics, cohorts are used for analyzing retention. By organizing users in groups such as “everyone that visited on March 1st” and analyzing the percentage that revisit, you can determine what promotions are having the greatest effect.

Context ads

Adverts placed directly inside or next to relevant content or features.


Cost Per Acquisition/Action – a measure of the cost of bringing a new user to a game. Used by game developers and web publishers as a key metric to understand how much it costs them to acquire a customer from all of their marketing sources. This can be measured in different ways such as by install or by sign up.


Cost Per Click – an online advertising model whereby an advertiser pays a publishing website for each click on a link.


Cost per Install – an online advertising model where developers/publishers pay a fee for the successful installation of an app.


Cost per Thousand – the primary measure of advertising cost across all media (including television, radio, print and web). It measures the cost per thousand “views” of an advertisement.


Daily Active Users – the number of active users over the course of a single day.


The DAU/MAU ratio compares Daily Active Users to Monthly Active Users and shows roughly how many days per month an average user engages a game.  A DAU/MAU ratio of 50% would mean that the average user of your app is using it 15 out of 30 days that month. The DAU/MAU ratio is strongly correlated with social gaming success.


A summary user interface page that is designed to display information in a way that is easy to read.


Downloadable Content – any content purchased after a full game’s installation or purchase that adds new features or extends game play and the life of a game.


The effect of viral growth on the CPA. The eCPA is the real cost to acquire a new player. For a game to be a success the eCPA must be less than the LTV. In other words, the cost to get a new player into the game must be less than the player spends during their lifetime.


How frequently players interact with a game. The greater the engagement is, the greater the likelihood that they will purchase. Engagement is derived from DAU/MAU.

Entry Event

The first action a user performs when they enter a game.

Exit Event

Opposite of entry event. It is the last action a user performs before exiting the game.


Free to play – allows game play without restriction.


A business model whereby the core game is free and users are charged for a premium service(s) or virtual good(s).

Free To Play

Also known as F2P – allows game play without restriction.


The steps a new customer takes from entry towards a predefined goal, such as installation, account activation, registration or purchase.


The use of gameplay, games community, marketing and analytics techniques in non-game environments.


Showing content, usually advertisements, only to people in a specific country or region.


In-App Purchase – refers to purchase made for an add-on from within the application.


The basic unit of online advertising. An impression is counted when a single user sees a single ad.

Infection Rate

How much a given user exposes the game to other players, such as through status updates or email invites.

K Factor

Measures the viral growth of a game. K Factor is calculated by multiplying the Infection Rate by the Conversion rate.


Life Time Value is the average amount of money spent by each player. The LTV includes paying and non-paying players. To calculate the LTV multiply the ARPU by the average number of months a player stays active. For example, if the ARPU is $0.25 and the average player lifetime is 6 months then the LTV is $0.25 x 6 = $1.50.


Monthly Active Users – the number of active users over the course of a single month.


Massively-multiplayer online game.

Mobile Social Network Game

A fully-featured social network game played on mobile phones.


The approach to making money from an online property usually by display advertising, subscription, affiliate links, context advertising, or selling game add-ons.

Multivariate Testing

Involves identifying a few key areas/sections of creative, of a website or of a game and then creating variations for those sections specifically. (As opposed to creating variations of a whole creative series, website or game in an A/B or split testing).


Steps taken to improve network and particularly social games’ performance often in terms of various Funnels identified by Analytics.


The act of bringing lapsed players back to the game. It includes re-engaging gamers who have been signed off for an hour, a day, a month, or more.


Techniques to maintain meaningful relationships with a user base.


Any of the new generation of advanced mobile handsets such as the iPhone.


Search Engine Marketing – paying money to appear in the search rankings on sites such as Google, Yahoo and MSN.


Search Engine Optimisation – the process of driving traffic to your site by ensuring that key search phrases are included in the text of your website.

Social Action

An interaction on a social network that triggers a story to be posted to a user’s profile.

Social Ad

A display advert targeted to a particular social demographic or profile data.

Social Gaming

Multiplayer games with social graphs on social networks and mobile phones. Social games generally have a very gentle learning curve, easy-to-understand UI, and live on a social network, taking advantage of player’s friendships in meaningful ways within the game.

Social Network

An online environment to share, communicate and play with your friends.

Split testing

Also known as A/B testing, split testing involves testing two small changes to your creative, website or game and measuring which performs better by equally splitting traffic.


A measure of engagement, for every user who plays the game in a month, how many play each day. Calculated by DAU divided by MAU.

Unique user

A unique user is the standard audience measurement unit on the web. It typically means a unique individual who has visited a website in the last 30 days, counted only once no matter how many times they visited.


User-generated content – content created by users within a game or website.


Measured by K Factor, the Viral Rate/Virality shows how much your users are promoting, evangelizing and spreading your game. The tendency to be spread by word of mouth.

Virtual Currency

An in-game or online currency generally purchased with real money. Can be redeemed inside a virtual world or online game, usually for virtual goods.

Virtual Worlds

Online worlds where players create avatars and interact in real-time.

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