Paid ads drove 15% of US mobile game downloads in 2018

Mobile gaming is set to reach a market share of 60% by the end of 2019, driven by a wide range of factors including higher spending, broader audiences and cross-platform gaming, according to new research from App Annie.

Paid ads drove 15% more US game downloads in 2018 with spend on paid installs continuing to grow as ever more app developers utilise it as a strategic component to fuel app success.

Advertisers were also spending more on ad networks in 2018. The report notes that app publishers who use more than six networks generally saw better cost per install.

Meanwhile, time spent in apps has grown 50% over the past two years with games representing 10% of time spent, whilst social and communications apps make up 50% of total time spent in apps.

On average, mobile users have eight games installed on their devices in the US, whilst globally game installs average two to five.

One third of all global downloads are games, highlighting high demand for the app category. 74 cents of every dollar going through the app store are games with 95% of purchases coming as in-app purchases versus paid.

Mobile has undoubtedly helped broaden audiences and age ranges of gamers, driven by free games and the ease of use on mobile devices.

In 2018, 1.6+ million games were released on Google Play compared to 1.1+ million on iOS.

Google Play reaches more consumers and saw higher downloads globally, whilst iOS leads when it comes to monetisation accounting for 64% of dollars spent globally.

For the first time, mobile saw a notable increase in multi-player gameplay in 2018 with PUBG and Fortnite for example.

Meanwhile, hyper casual games which monetise through advertising noted rapid growth in 2018, signalling an opportunity for game developers looking to produce free or low cost games.

India, Brazil, Russia and Indonesia led the chart for emerging markets in terms of game downloads, whilst the US and China continued to enjoy high download rates.

Overall, the report highlights that games are poised to continue to drive spend in app stores, but at the same time, are becoming important ad channels for mobile marketers.

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