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Posts tagged split testing

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How Football Manager Can Get You a Real Career

That’s right, a computer game about football management can help you to develop skills that are useful for your career.. and I don’t mean getting a job as a Football ManagerFor those who don’t know what it is, Football Manager (FM) is a simulation game, developed by Sports Interactive (SI), that puts you into the hot-seat of managing a football club.

So how can you weave ‘Playing FM’ into an interview? What is the skill that FM can help you to develop? It’s Analytics, that’s why it fits in this blog. If we look at what skills are currently in demand in the workplace it’s Big data. Companies, everywhere, are looking for people who can analyze the data that they generate.

  • Marketing companies are increasingly analytical about their campaigns
  • Product companies need deep analytics to improve and iterate their products, 
  • Retailers have all sorts of data that can help them to optimize things from the positioning of their products on their shelves through to the data on all those loyalty reward cards.
  • Web Design is much more metrics driven to increase results.

So how does Football Manager help you develop valuable career skills?

I started playing FM under its previous carnation (Championship Manager), One of the common complaints were that after playing the game over many seasons, some of the newly generated players looked odd and the game appeared unbalanced, e.g (defenders were no longer brave). So I built a tool in my spare time that analyzed player attributes to see if there were differences in how players evolved over time to check for big differences. This taught me to code a little and how to analyze data.


It’s a simple tool that spat out a text file that showed you the differences between the data at 2 different points in time (e.g. do all defenders lose the ability to be aggressive in 20 years time?). SI used it at the time, however, I eventually became too busy to be able to do this, and I’m pretty sure SI developed their own tools to do this much much better than the buggy code I created.

The later versions of FM makes it possible for anyone to develop analytical skills - I’ve purposely selected some screenshots below that show you what Football Manager is all about.


This screen shot shows you how well a player has improved.


This one shows you their training regime.

One aspect of improving any product is testing. This means changing variables and checking the results. For example, in a web page you may want to improve the % of people who sign up. You usually do this by split testing, or A/B testing. Then you analyze the data set afterwards. 

Look at those 2 screens… it’s the same principal. You tweak the training program, you assign different players to each program and then you compare the results to see which is more effective. There are a lot of people who are doing this already and unaware about the skills they are developing and how transferable they are to the real world. Take a look at the Tactics and Training Forum and you’ll find a lot of deep analytical talk where people discuss how to tweak training programs to improve players the most. It’s a hotbed of statistical analysis, A/B testing, spllit testing, metrics, measurement… no different to a professional analytics group on LinkedIn.

If you’re looking to develop your skills using FM, I recommend you use FM Genie Scout… some people may call it cheating… but it’s the ability to use it for data analysis that makes it so useful. Look at this screenshot - 


It could be Google Analytics. The history function let’s record multiple data points. Here’s how you would perform a split test playing the game and using this tool -

  1. Create 2 training programs, 
  2. Split your players up into those 2 program 
  3. Play the game over several seasons,
  4. Periodically saving a history point. 
  5. Analyze the data to see which program was more effective.
  6. Tune your programs and repeat.

It makes it easier to discover what changes are more effective for which player attribute, not much difference to optimizing a website or product… the fundamental skills are the same. For those who are more advanced, you can spit the data out into a spreadsheet. Once you’ve done this over several data points, you can plot any graph or create pivot tables to analyze player progression.

And that is how Football Manager can help you to develop real skills that are needed today.

Filed under football manager analytics split testing career

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How to use Flurry for split testing and engagement metrics for your mobile app

In my previous post. I talked about getting retention and engagement metrics out of split testing.

Here’s a practical example of how to do A/B testing using Flurry.

Create an App_Launch event that happens whenever your app is started or brought back from the background

When you log the event, pass it with a parameter A(name of split test) or B(name of split test). You can decide in advance if the app should use the ‘A’ version or the ‘B’ version using some device variable such as the MAC address or UDID.

For the purpose of this post, I will use a conventional ‘marketing’ conversion split test. The position of the in-app purchase button as the illustration of the ‘split test’. However, it could be for anything, the number of coins a new user receives on starting a game, the order of the tabs at the bottom, the layout of a particular screen, etc. In this example, people in group A have the in-app purchase in the top of the screen. People in group B have it pop-up. Marketing wants to know which positioning maximises conversions…but we want to also see the impact on engagement and retention, which I will talk about in a later post.

1) Create 2 segments inside Flurry

  • Go to the Manage -> Segments and press Create New Segment.
  • Press Add Custom Event and click on Only include users who triggered the event with these parameters and values
  • In the triggering event name put in App_Launch (or whatever you called it)
  • In the Parameter name put in A(name of split test)
  • Do the same for B

You have now created 2 segments that can dissect the user behaviour of both of these parties.

2) Check the conversion

  • Go to the Usage -> New Users Table and select the App version for the split test. This gives you the total number of new users who used the app with the split test in place. But you want to segment them, so select the ‘A’ Segment. In my example there are 6604 new users in segment ‘A’.

  • Go to the Events Summary screen and select the A segment. Click on the Event Statistics icon and you will get the number of people who where part of Group A who clicked on the in-app purchase

This shows 608 people converted. That’s just below 10% in conversion

Do the same for B, and now you can compare the conversion rates. In my example, B has 6320 and 478 conversions. Use a tool such as this online calculator and we find that it is statistically significant.

3) The Bonus Engagement and Metrics

If you go back to the event summary, you can download all the A and B data in CSV format. Go ahead and do that.

Then create a spreadsheet with 3 sheets. A, B and statistical significance. Then you can create a spreadsheet that can test your whole app across all its events, by adding a statistical test to each event. I used this basic formula-

=(((0.5*(‘Split Test A’!B2+’Split Test B’!B2))-‘Split Test A’!B2)^2)/(0.5*(‘Split Test A’!B2+’Split Test B’!B2))+(((0.5*(‘Split Test A’!B2+’Split Test B’!B2))-‘Split Test B’!B2)^2)/(0.5*(‘Split Test A’!B2+’Split Test B’!B2))

But there are plenty of other formulas that maybe more suitable for you..

Next, colour code the spreadsheet so that any significant differences are highlighted and then you can see the impact of the A/B test beyond the scope of just the conversion.

This can bring you many different insights. For example, conversion maybe higher for in app purchases but the number of people recommending or sharing the app using a tweet or facebook button decreases for that group.

Remember to check in which direction the result is statistically significant.

Filed under Flurry Mobile analytics split testing mobile app testing Mobile conversion Engagement metrics

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How to get retention & engagement numbers out of mobile analytics A/B testing

For most people, A/B testing analytics (or split testing) is all about conversion. How can I redesign this webpage to get more people to click through to my goal? How can I get more people to sign up. It’s all about acquisition, acquisition, acquisition… actually there’s more to it than that.

For mobile app analytics, A/B testing tools generally support campaign or content optimization  focused on conversion, clicks or triggers. This is fine if what you are doing is marketing focused, acquisition focused or activation focused.. but it doesn’t really help much with engagement or retention. What if you wanted to find out the impact of :-

  • Giving new players to your game different starting statistics?
  • Change the order that the app screens are presented?
  • Modify a tutorial page

etc. what change will increase retention, not just conversions. What change will increase use of other features?

What conventional A/B testing doesn’t tell you - 

  • Engagement - Which users are more engaged to my app as a whole, or feature X of my app because of A or B (besides the feature/layout under A/B test)?
  • Retention - Which users are more likely to be retained (increase retention) because of A or B
  • Features - Given that A or B increased retention, what features are used less or more with each group?
  • Deeper Activity - Does A or B increase activity anywhere else in my app?

In fact there’s a very easy way to do this using event attributes or event parameters (depends on the app analytics tool you use). In your app framework, assign people who are in the ‘A’ group with an event attibute/parameter as ‘Test Group A’ and likewise for ‘B’ in their App Launch event or whatever naming convention makes sense for you. You can give more unique names for different tests.

By doing this, you have segmented your users into A & B and now you can test the impact across every event/metric in your app.

Segment and extract all the data into a spreadsheet and you can then statistically test them like this -

In the above chart anything in Green was tested as statistically significant. This gives a deeper insight into what other changes occured due to the A/B test and means you can make A/B tests beyond thinking about ‘click’ or ‘tap’ conversions at the top level, remove features that don’t add to engagement, retention or revenue.

Secondarily, using tools which provide retention or lifecycle metrics, you can create a segment using the event parameter and see which version really does provide more retention and allows you to make more discoveries

  • Conversions where higher with A, but yielded lower retention. Customer Lifetime Value may be lower because of this so long term revenue could decrease
  • Conversion was higher with A, but higher value conversion with a deeper feature is higher in B
  • There is no significant difference in conversion between A or B, but retention is higher with A
  • There is no significant difference in conversion but engagement is higher with B

These are some of the potential discoveries just looking beyond the basic A/B test.

Do you have any mobile analytics tricks to share?

Image by Search Engine People Blog

Filed under a/b testing app analytics conversion engagement mobile a/b testing mobile analytics mobile apps mobile metrics retention retention and engagement split testing