In North America alone, the mobile gaming industry generates more than 10 billion US dollars on an annual basis. As a matter of fact, mobile games are responsible for 51% of the total revenue of the gaming vertical as a whole, but this also means that this industry is extremely competitive. For mobile game developers, finding the most effective revenue streams is the key to quickly scaling their companies and establishing themselves in the industry. User acquisition strategies have become one of the most popular techniques for these developers, and for good reasons.
In simple terms, user acquisition techniques aim to get installs in the most cost-effective way possible. With this in mind, companies that develop mobile games need to work closely with their user acquisition teams to get the best results.
In this article, we’ll explore the different trends in the mobile game industry, explain the relationship between developers and user acquisition experts, and discuss some of the top tools to help stakeholders succeed in this scenario.
Mobile game market trends
When analyzing the list of the 100 top-grossing mobile games, it’s evident that all the developers in this group used one of three distinct categories. Some are first movers, the companies that developed revolutionary games that have become a staple among consumers. Others are cultural phenomena that reached an almost mythological status and are based on known shows or pop culture elements.
The last and largest group are game developers that achieved great heights through aggressive user acquisition campaigns. The reason for this is that user acquisition is the only technique that is easy to mimic, at least in relative terms. There’s a very low chance of developing a first mover or cultural phenomenon game today, but user acquisition strategies allow for sustainable and exponential growth. That said, developers need to work closely with media buyers and other members of their user acquisition team to reel in a high number of installs.
The relationship between the mobile games industry and media buying
Media buyers and other user acquisition team members have become crucial to the success of independent game developers, but many companies continue to treat this department as an external contributor. In most cases, media buyers and other affiliates have limited communication with the internal team, so they are not included in the planning process. This severely limits their understanding of how the entire acquisition process works, which in turn affects the quality of their results.
Instead, mobile game developers and media buyers need to establish effective communication lines and maintain a close relationship that will yield better results for everyone. User acquisition experts and game developers should work as a team and share information that empowers all stakeholders to make better decisions.
What game developers need to do
Rather than developing games and involving the user acquisition team beforehand, gaming companies need to bring in media buyers during the production process. This will help the product team understand the current market conditions and make improvements that will result in a game that is easier to promote.
For instance, developers can understand how the biggest user acquisition channels work and identify the strategies that have the highest return on income (ROI). Gaming companies can then use this information to develop games that align more with these approaches. Furthermore, game developers can also understand the impact of the creative elements in ads and make sure that the final product follows the most popular themes.
In order to achieve all of the above, gaming companies need to:
Research Art Styles and Game Themes
For starters, game developers have to study the different themes found in the leading platforms in order to find the option that works best with the conversion system in place. This usually occurs later in the process, which affects product marketability. On the contrary, taking care of these elements early on can help the production team make sound decisions based on concrete data.
Analyze and Use Trends to Make Predictions
User acquisition experts have a deep understanding of tracking platforms, the information that can be collected, and how to transform this data into a functional tool.
In this context, media buyers and the rest of the user acquisition team need to analyze the different patterns, decipher what they mean, and keep the development team informed at all times. Some of the top advertisers on Facebook combined different trends to create a successful product, which is a more feasible alternative than aiming to create a cultural phenomenon based on subjective concepts.
Rinse and Repeat
The different user acquisition patterns may seem repetitive or obvious at one point or another, but it’s important to listen to media buyers’ expertise. By listening to the user acquisition team’s advice, developers can adjust the game to create a seamless experience when transitioning between unpaid and paid features, or implement a variety of other techniques that help reduce costs and increase profit margins.
The importance of ad creatives in user acquisition
The creatives used on all ads are crucial to the performance of any campaign, but these are even more important to gaming companies. This is one of the reasons why games are often promoted using pop-unders and other formats that allow for larger creatives.
Having high-quality graphics, attractive characters, and creative color schemes can be the difference between getting noticed and being completely blocked out. In other words, the user acquisition team needs to find the right tools to analyze leading companies to figure out what the best strategy is in terms of creative elements.
Top tools for mobile game user acquisition
There are many different tools that user acquisition experts can use to identify the ads that are delivering the best results throughout entire networks. With this data, the production team can implement improvements based on the performance of the leading companies, which in turn boosts the chances of developing a successful game.
Below, we’ll go over the five most powerful tools that allow the user acquisition team to identify the top creatives.
Ad Library Helper
AdLibrary Helper is a free Facebook ad spy extension. Its data comes from Facebook’s official ad library. It can provide you an advertising list, which is more convenient and practical than the Facebook ad library. At the same time, it can spy Facebook competitors’ ads data changes, so as to better perform advertising analytics.
AdLibrary Helper is suitable for Facebook advertisers, people who view Facebook creatives and people who need to view changes in advertising data.
SocialPeta is a holistic ad intelligence solution that is useful for both media buyers and game developers. Known as one of the leading creative analysis platforms, SocialPeta can help users view the top-performing ads from a variety of social networks. Members can search the database by category or keywords, plus it’s suitable for all app developers.
While it can be used in a variety of settings, SocialPeta has game intelligence features designed specifically for gaming companies to unveil their competitors’ strategies.
AdMobiSpy is among the most powerful ad intelligence platforms because it lets media buyers and developers monitor competitor ads in a variety of different networks. Not only this, but this tool is a great solution for companies in the early stages of the product development phase because it can show the best performing ads by industry and, more specifically, game type.
In addition to a copy of the creative, AdMobiSpy also highlights little nuances that top performers have in common, which allows developers to target the game types with the highest ROI.
BigSpy boasts of one of the biggest databases in terms of multiplatform ads. This effective solution shows ads from 6 of the biggest social networks, plus the platform creators are constantly working to increase the size of BigSpy’s database.
One of the most interesting features in BigSpy is that the platform automatically shows featured ads, which are the creatives that have the best daily performance. These picks are generated by the platform’s robust mechanism and vetted by its intelligence experts for the best results.
AppAnnie and Many More
AppAnnie is packed with innovative features that allow developers and user acquisition experts to take a more organized approach to product and campaign development. The platform provides app store chart statistics, app performance intelligence, estimated for daily download and revenue, and dozens of other details that give stakeholders an accurate idea of the industry’s overall health.
Learn more about the best user acquisition strategies for mobile gaming and other industries
User acquisition is one of the keys to success for game developers, but media buyers play a crucial role in the creation of a successful strategy. Gaming companies need to partner up with the most reliable user acquisition experts and use all the tools at their disposal to increase their chances of success.