What happens in Vegas doesn’t have to stay in Vegas.
VGW, a pioneering online gaming and sweepstakes company, brings the excitement of hitting the jackpot online with LuckyLand Slots. The company has innovated on various digital platforms while incorporating social connections and multiplayer features throughout its platform. They needed to know more about how customers played, shared, interacted, purchased, and even got frustrated, would be a critical piece of the puzzle as they introduced new features and functionality. Not only would VGW have to be a leader in creating engaging games and social experiences, but they would also need to become experts about their customers. With this drive to deeply understand customer behavior, VGW needed an analytics solution that could convert their raw event data into an intuitive graphical interface, so that everyone in the company could iterate on questions while getting fast answers. Here’s how Interana helped convert VGW’s raw event data into actionable insights.
Know what customers are doing. Faster.
Derek Brinkman, General Manager, VGW US, joined the company to help build and maintain its social gaming platform. “At first, in order to know more about critical metrics like cohorted daily retention rates, average revenue per user, and conversion rate, we needed a dedicated member of our engineering team to help us with analytics,” he said. “It worked at first.” Whenever someone on the team needed data to make a decision, they’d spec up the report and give it to engineering. In a few days, they’d get the report they requested. But, we realized fairly quickly that this approach didn’t scale.
“There was too much delay between asking questions and getting answers,” he said. “It was becoming a drag on our ability to make good decisions.”
To fix that problem, the VGW team built a set of dashboards to help reduce the time to get answers. But, they ran into another roadblock. “The dashboards helped us ask high level questions,” Derek acknowledges, “but whenever you’d start to see something that looks surprising, or off, we’d have to ask someone to write reporting logic to drill down further.”
Asking Unlimited, Unbounded Questions Of Raw Data
Derek and his team needed an easy-to-use platform for the entire team, so that they could ask layered questions of raw data and get answers in minutes, not days. They started evaluating whether to check out platforms on the market or build something themselves. Initially, they considered structuring their own data, ingesting it into Amazon Redshift and connecting it to a BI tool. That wasn’t going to be easy: VGW’s data was stored as a myriad of flat event files, not in any structured database. The ingestion and formatting process would take too much time and expertise.
That’s where Interana came in. With Interana, VGW could analyze any event data, as long as it had a timestamp and an ‘actor’ associated with it.
“One of the things we loved about Interana right away was their ability to ingest our data and provide a graphical interface as if we had structured data,” said Derek.
“Every Core KPI We Tracked Went Up”
With Interana, Derek and his team could finally start understanding what customers did and when they did it on their gaming platform. They could answer specific questions to narrow in on customer journeys and experiences. They quickly learned which games & features were most popular, how many spins it took to get someone invested in a game, and even when customers got frustrated and left the platform. Knowing the important details around how customers interact, engage, and connect became a (literal) game-changer. Understanding the players better was just the beginning.
“Because of Interana, every core KPI we tracked went up,” Derek said. “We’ve increased the conversion rate of free to paid users by 2X, month over month retention of payers by 30%, and reduced the time it took to identify and fix issues from weeks to hours.”
Data Exploration Across VGW
The ability to ask questions of our data directly empowers multiple teams at VGW. Below are just a few of the ways VGW uses Interana:
- Understand which slot games are most successful
- Prioritize features based on effectiveness of recent feature releases
- Verify and adjust the math model to change the overall payouts and expected payouts of the games to maximize player engagement
- Tracking user cohorts over time to find trends in purchase behavior
- Optimize event prizing and frequency to ensure players stay engaged during live events, tournaments, and quests
- Understand players’ betting patterns and optimize game operations for maximum lifetime value
Customer Support Teams
- Optimize VIP player rewards to extend paying player lifetimes and average revenue per VIP player
- Investigate whether issues are isolated incidents that affect a small group of users or more widespread
Building a Winning Culture
Gaining insights didn’t just yield quantifiable results. It also increased morale across the team. “Knowing more about how to be successful at work is a big motivator to people. When you make decisions based on data, teams feel better about their projects,” Derek said. “Then, when you measure the impact, you can tell your team, ‘Hey, all that effort you put in actually had this effect. Congrats!’ It’s a great feeling.”