Standing out from the competition will require planning, agility, and a comprehensive marketing plan.
The pandemic drove a surge in mobile gaming that has yet to slow. After climbing to over half of total gaming revenue worldwide in 2020, mobile games are expected to pass the $100 billion mark by 2023. Mobile games are incredibly fertile ground for financial success, so it’s not surprising that the space is becoming more competitive than ever, both for games themselves and for marketers.
Some of those rushing to seize the moment are new to marketing, while others are just new to mobile game marketing. Wherever they fall on the spectrum, they’ll need to adhere to best practices if they want to rise above the fray. That’s where this guide comes in: It’s a checklist that will lead any mobile game marketing team to success.
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Getting Started in Mobile Game Marketing
Marketers new to mobile gaming may need a bit of direction as they navigate through the space. The marketing plan begins before the app is even developed. Market research is a crucial step in mobile game marketing. With more than 5 million apps available for download on the App Store and Google Play, the marketplace is crowded, and customers are inundated with choices. Understanding the lay of the land — the saturation rate of the genre, how similar apps are performing, what kinds of marketing assets the most popular games use — is valuable guidance for marketers in the early stages of formulating a mobile game marketing plan.
Also keep in mind that the App Store and Google Play are not the only portals for an app. They are perhaps the best known and most easily accessible, but that also makes them the most competitive. The Microsoft Store, AppBrain, and itch.io may have access to audiences who avoid the App Store and Google Play. It’s worth doing due diligence to determine the most effective way to reach the users most likely to appreciate your app.
How to Promote a Game App includes more tips for getting a new app’s campaign up and running.
Ad performance data can help set expectations and goals, but that’s in short supply when you’re first entering the mobile game marketing field. In our report, Performance Advertising Benchmarks for Casual games, we examine the four most common ad formats — banners, interstitials, native ads, and videos — and provide a detailed analysis of their performance based on important metrics such as Cost Per Point (CPP), Return On Ad Spend (ROAS), and retention. Click below to download your free copy.
Refine the Game
Reaching newly interested consumers with the right game at the right time is a top priority for marketers today. That said, driving new customers to your mobile game won’t make much difference to the bottom line if retention rates are low. The urge to push a completed game is strong, but it’s wisei to review metrics from early adopters to determine if the game is ready for the world. A delayed release is disappointing, but a poor launch can kill a game before it’s had a chance to find an audience.
Some crucial metrics to assess include:
Session Frequency: How often do users play your game, and for how long?
Retention: How effective is your game design at getting players to keep coming back?
Progression Funnels: How far do users get before they stop playing?
In-App Purchase (IAP) Conversion Rates: What drives users to buy?
Feature Engagement: Which features do users love, and which do they ignore?
Once the game is polished to a shine, go a step further and optimize its app store listing. Optimizing leads to better visibility in search results and a higher likelihood of your game being on recommendation lists. The screenshots, trailer, and even game icon you use must all be considered not just individually, but also as a complete set creating the best possible picture of your game. App store optimization typically increases conversion rates, too.
Read How to Market a Mobile Game for more pre-marketing push considerations.
Experiment With Paid Advertising
While gathering enough data from the game’s soft launch to analyze its retention rates, formulate the mobile game marketing strategy that works best with your team, budget, and goals. Don’t just stick with what’s worked for other games or other campaigns; this is an unprecedented moment in mobile gaming, with audiences more open to advertising than ever before.
Video ads give users a sense of what gameplay is like, and can drive visibility far outside the norm. Playable ads offer the user a taste of the full experience and, whether it’s representative of the gameplay or not, boost engagement. Weigh the ROI of an omnichannel strategy versus a more targeted approach. Pay close attention to the data, pour fuel on what’s working, and change up what isn’t. Above all, A/B test, test, test.
For a deeper dive into these concepts, read 5 Mobile Game Marketing Strategies That Work.
Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) is always top of mind for marketers, but mobile game marketing may require a slightly different approach than previous campaigns. The proliferation of channels, networks, and techniques available to advertisers today makes ROAS an increasingly important KPI for sustainability and success. New campaigns will likely go through significant experimentation before settling into the best mix of creative, channels, and targeting for their goals. Knowing what levers to pull along the way can save time, frustration, and money.
A diversified strategy is integral to getting the most for your ad spend. Facebook and Google are the most obvious channels for mobile marketers — because they work — but as the costs of advertising there grow, the results shrink, and the market becomes increasingly crowded. Other ad channels may provide higher ROAS or UA, and therefore may be appropriate to add to the marketing mix at different points of the game’s lifecycle. No one channel can address every element of a robust marketing strategy, so as always, test, test, and test again.
Zero in on the metrics that matter by reading 6 Mobile Game Advertising Strategies That Drive Return on Ad Spend.
One of the most potent mobile game marketing strategies is to align with an experienced partner. MOLOCO’s data-driven approach takes the guesswork out of advertising on mobile. Thanks to our proprietary machine learning algorithms, we’re able to transform data into sustainable growth, targeting quality users at scale and hitting ROAS goals. To learn more about how MOLOCO can help your business, contact us today.