Glossary of terms and acronyms for free and social games

The rise of free and social games in the mobile era has introduced a new jargon which mixes terms and acronyms from many different fields like advertising, marketing and data analysis. Such terms and acronyms are mostly used to describe how a game is performing and nowadays they should be part of the dictionary of every game developer.

In this post I tried to collect most of these terms and acronyms with their meanings, so If you are a game developer and you believe K-Factor is a tv show and ARPDAU is a new brand of cereals, then this glossary may help you a bit.

I divided all the terms and acronyms in several different groups to highlight the context in which they are mostly used, but they are not strict or exclusive, so keep an open mind while reading.


Advertising and Marketing

CAC Customer Acquisition Cost
CPA Cost Per Action/Acquisition action can be download, login, registration, etc…
CPC Cost Per Click
CPI Cost Per Install
CPM Cost Per Thousand of advert impressions
CTR Click Through Rate
eCPA Effective Cost Per Action/Acquisition CPA which includes users acquired with viral growth
UA User Acquisition

K-Factor:  measure of viral growth, calculated as social invites sent * conversion rate.



CR Churn Rate % of users who leave the game in a certain time frame
DAU Daily Active Users
DRU Daily Retained Users
MAU Monthly Active Users
MRU Monthly Retained Users
MUU Monthly Unique Users
RR Retention Rate % of users that keep playing respect a specific time frame. Also (1 – CR)
WAU Weekly Active Users
WRU Weekly Retained Users

Cohort: group of users who shared the same event(s) in a particular time frame.



DS Daily Sessions number of game sessions your users run per day
SD Session Duration time your users spend into 1 game session
SPU Sessions Per User Daily Sessions / Daily Active Users
TPT Total Play Time total time all your users invest into your game (per day, week, month, etc…)



ARPDAU Average Revenue Per Daily Active User
ARPPDAU Average Revenue Per Paying Daily Active User
ARPPU Average Revenue Per Paying User
ARPU Average Revenue Per User
CLTV Customer LifeTime Value see LTV
CR Conversion Rate % of users which spend money in your game
DARPU Daily Average Revenue Per User
IAP In App Purchase
LOP Life Of Product see LTV
LTV LifeTime Value total time your game will be active and generating revenue
MPAU Monthly Paying Active Users
ROI Return On Investment

Dolphin: player who spends around the average.
Minnow: player who spends below the average or nothing at all.
Whale: player who spends much more than the average.



ARM Acquisition Retention Monetization
KPI Key Performance Indicators most important parameters for your game


Game Genres

CCG Collectible Card Game
F2P Free To Play
FPS First Person Shooter
HOG Hidden Object Games
MOBA Multiplayer Online Battle Arena
MMO Massively Multiplayer Online
OSG Online Strategy Game
P2W Pay To Win
RMG Resource Management Game
RPG Role Playing Game
RTS Real-Time Strategy
SCG Social Casino Game
TBS Turn-Based Strategy
TCG Trading Card Game
TMG Time Management Games
TPS Third Person Shooter


That’s all for now, but feel free to leave a comment if you know more terms or acronyms and I’ll be happy to add them to the glossary.

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