Increasing Engagement: Make it 20 Versus 24

June 10 2017, 12:43pm

Daily incentives help drive engagement and increase the number of Daily Active Users (DAU). One such type of incentivization is having a player check in every day to get something new. Whether it's though a larger set of bonus points earned (as Riot does with their first win of the day in League of Legends) or a chain of increasing items received (as in Pokemon Go), the idea that everyday, if you come back to the app, you will receive something new is pretty commonplace. What is not so uniform though is the refresh-rate for what is considered a day.

gamers playing pokemon go

By default, many applications use 24 hours to count as a day. Because of how people play games, and carry about their day to day lives though, this isn't the best best refresh time.

Consider that even if one were to have an alarm ready to make the most of the 24 hours period, one is always going to be X seconds late (where X is the amount of time it takes to get that bonus). This, compounded over time means that one is never truly going to be able to get more than one bonus every other day. Even if one were to minimize the number of seconds it takes to get a daily bonus, one is still relegated to play at the same time every day—even if that time is an odd one, to maximize bonuses earned.

If one halves that time to 12 hours, one experiences additional problems with players able to game the system and double-dip each day. Consider that a power player will use the application before and after work. By the time work is finished, in most cases, nine or ten hours will have elapsed. Add dinner and that same player is ready to reap the benefits of this 12 hour refresh rate. This puts the average player at a disadvantage even if they play daily.

If 12 hours is too little and 24 hours is too high, then what is the right value?

20 hours.

At 20 hours, the problems at both ends of the spectrum are minimized. The time is just long enough to prevent players from receiving double bonuses and short enough to prevent skipping days. Even if something comes up, like a dinner date or a longer work day; a player doesn't have to exactly log in at the same time to reap the benefits. In short, at 20 hours life can happen, as it always has and always will; without impacting the gaming experience.

What are your thoughts on incentives like this?