Churn prediction for game developers using Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and BigQuery MLChurn prediction for game developers using Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and BigQuery MLDeveloper AdvocateDeveloper Advocate

User retention can be a major challenge for mobile game developers. According to the Mobile Gaming Industry Analysis in 2019, most mobile games only see a 25% retention rate for users after the first day. To retain a larger percentage of users after their first use of an app, developers can take steps to motivate and incentivize certain users to return. But to do so, developers need to identify the propensity of any specific user returning after the first 24 hours. 

In this blog post, we will discuss how you can use BigQuery ML to run propensity models on Google Analytics 4 data from your gaming app to determine the likelihood of specific users returning to your app.

You can also use the same end-to-end solution approach in other types of apps using Google Analytics for Firebase as well as apps and websites using Google Analytics 4. To try out the steps in this blogpost or to implement the solution for your own data, you can use this Jupyter Notebook

Using this blog post and the accompanying Jupyter Notebook, you’ll learn how to:

  • Explore the BigQuery export dataset for Google Analytics 4
  • Prepare the training data using demographic and behavioural attributes
  • Train propensity models using BigQuery ML
  • Evaluate BigQuery ML models
  • Make predictions using the BigQuery ML models
  • Implement model insights in practical implementations

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) properties unify app and website measurement on a single platform and are now default in Google Analytics. Any business that wants to measure their website, app, or both, can use GA4 for a more complete view of how customers engage with their business. With the launch of Google Analytics 4, BigQuery export of Google Analytics data is now available to all users. If you are already using a Google Analytics 4 property, you can follow this guide to set up exporting your GA data to BigQuery.

Once you have set up the BigQuery export, you can explore the data in BigQuery. Google Analytics 4 uses an event-based measurement model. Each row in the data is an event with additional parameters and properties. The Schema for BigQuery Export can help you to understand the structure of the data.  

In this blogpost, we use the public sample export data from an actual mobile game app called “Flood It!” (Android, iOS) to build a churn prediction model. But you can use data from your own app or website. 

Here’s what the data looks like. Each row in the dataset is a unique event, which can contain nested fields for event parameters.