The global mobile game market is skyrocketing, so choosing the right marketing strategy is more important than ever.Since the popularity of mobile gaming surged during the pandemic, mobile game marketers have been faced with an increasingly crowded marketplace and cutthroat competition. After climbing to over half of total gaming revenue worldwide in 2020, mobile games are expected to pass the $100 billion mark by 2023. In that industry climate, mobile studios are under pressure to develop the most effective mobile game marketing strategies possible, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important to select the right mobile game marketing strategies that work for your business and are aligned with the specific nature of your game.
In this article, we’ll explore five of the most promising mobile game marketing strategies that mobile studios can employ to win big.
Want to know how your advertising efforts measure up? Check out our advertising benchmark report for casual games.
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Optimize organic channels
One of the most fundamental mobile game marketing strategies is to lay the groundwork for growth. Although most strategies are designed to attract and acquire new users, it won’t matter how many potential users discover your mobile game if they don’t convert into players. As the decision points for potential purchasers, your app store listings and even your website deserve extra attention. Furthermore, those digital touchpoints are the foundation of word-of-mouth growth, so marketers should optimize those free channels first.
Here are two primary ways to optimize your mobile game for conversions:
App Store Optimization: Creating an engaging app store listing helps ensure that new users are encouraged to download your mobile game once they discover it. Key features like the game’s title, icon, description, keywords, screenshots, and promotional video will all help convert interest into installs and boost the return on your ad spend investment.
Search Engine Optimization: Optimizing on owned channels like your website and blog is one of the most important organic user acquisition strategies. Mobile gamers that don’t discover new apps through the app store are more likely to find your website, for example, so make sure to feature download links and use SEO best practices to highlight your most compelling content.
Master channel distribution
Perfecting the allocation of your budget across multiple channels is another important mobile game marketing strategy. The most significant chunk of most marketing budgets is spent on digital advertising (13.5%, according to a Statista report), but distributing that budget effectively across the various channels available to marketers today is a delicate balancing act. Here are a few channel distribution questions to consider when developing your mobile game marketing strategy:
Social media selection: Facebook offers a huge user base, Instagram boasts a highly engaged community, Twitter prioritizes rich media posts, and Snapchat and TikTok play home to a younger audience. Understanding your target user will help determine the best channels to focus your advertising spend for a given mobile game.
Evergreen vs. One-off: Evergreen strategies focus on a long-term, always-on approach, so they often make up the lion’s share of marketing budgets. With that foundation in place, consider the potential of one-off ad strategies that focus on precise placements instead of ongoing engagements. One-off ads can support user acquisition in specific communities and open the door to more active partnerships down the line.
Predictable vs. Experimental: Marketing budget allocations should include both predictable and experimental channels. With a bedrock 70% of your marketing budget dedicated to traditional, reliable methods, that leaves another 30% open for experimental spending.
The increased potential for success that experimentation and test campaigns offer also introduces greater risk. That’s why it’s a good idea to work with a partner like MOLOCO’s team of mobile experts. We’ll guide you through our vast programmatic ecosystem, proprietary RTB technology, and more. Get in touch to get started!
Use contextual targeting
As tech platforms move to protect users’ privacy, many of the tools marketers have relied on in the past are no longer viable. In a world without IDFA, mobile game marketing strategies will need to leverage contextual targeting practices to compensate for the disappearance of user-specific identifiers. Contextual targeting actually pre-dates the user-level strategies that have become dominant in recent years. As a strategy, contextual targeting is focused on relevant ad placements without detailed user-level knowledge of the person who will eventually view the ad.
The name gives away the key tenet of the strategy: deliberately selecting the context in which your ad will appear. In the pre-internet days when broadcast advertising reigned, a company selling a backyard grill might choose to advertise either during cooking shows or during sporting events. For mobile game marketers, contextual targeting might be as simple as matching advertisements for a puzzle game within other puzzle games or placing a makeover-themed game ad on a beauty brand’s website. According to a Global Industry Analysts study, the global contextual advertising market is expected to surpass the $335 billion mark by 2026.
Experiment with ad formats
When it comes to marketing mobile games, certain ad formats are more effective than others. At the same time, innovative new ads are cropping up to better serve consumers’ constantly evolving mobile gaming habits. While traditional ad formats offer the security of tried and true options, some of the best-performing formats for mobile games in particular fall into the innovation category:
Video ads: Video makes sense for mobile game ads because it gives potential users an intimate sense of what gameplay will be like, beyond what static images can portray.
Playable ads: Professional marketers ranked playable ads as the most effective ad format. After experiencing an interactive taste of a mobile game, potential users are more likely to become active players.
Rewarded video ads: Consumers prefer ads they choose to watch over those that are forced upon them. Rewarded video combines the best of mobile game ads with that opt-in agreement, leading to less friction and more conversions, so be sure to allocate spend towards networks that support it.
Measure and iterate
Tracking your progress is an essential mobile game marketing strategy, since understanding your results will allow you to iterate and improve your approach in the long run. Make sure to set metrics that are aligned with your specific goals, and track those key performance indicators at regular intervals throughout the process. Some popular mobile game marketing KPIs include:
Return on advertising spend (ROAS): Arguably the most important metric for modern mobile game marketers to understand, ROAS cuts through the noise to illustrate just how effective your marketing efforts are at generating revenue. Unlike cost-per-install, which doesn’t necessarily take user quality into consideration, ROAS is typically a better indicator of mobile marketing success.
Conversion rate: How many installs actually lead to in-app purchases? Knowing how many paying players you can expect to generate out of your campaigns is invaluable when determining optimal spend allocation.
Retention rate: How many times do users return to play your mobile game after the initial download? This KPI is critical because it reflects customer satisfaction and the game’s overall attractiveness.
Customer acquisition cost: How much do you have to invest to acquire a new user? If you’re running multiple campaigns simultaneously, understanding CAC and identifying the highest converting strategies will enable you to direct resources more effectively.
Average revenue per user: How much revenue does every user bring in per month? Compare this metric to your CAC to determine whether or not your mobile game marketing strategy is profitable.
Lifetime user value: How much total revenue does a user bring to your mobile game over the time they spend using the app? This metric allows you to compare the total monetary value of your mobile game and the estimated value of each user.
At MOLOCO, we help mobile studios and app developers acquire new users and increase their revenue through fully optimized campaigns powered by our proprietary machine learning algorithms. With MOLOCO as your partner, quality user targeting, ROAS-based campaign optimization, and sustainable growth are all within your reach. To learn more about how MOLOCO can help you succeed with your mobile game marketing strategy, contact us today.