Chances are, if you own a smartphone, you’ve played a mobile game at some point. From the hugely popular Candy Crush, Pokemon Go, Minecraft and recently, Among Us — many people are able to pick their poison from a plethora of options. 

Mobile gaming has evolved beyond being a mere means to pass the time; it is a form of media all on its own.

media update’s Taylor Goodman looks into the explosion of the mobile gaming industry and unpacks the rise in mobile advertising spend.

The boom in mobile gaming 

With Covid-19-induced social distancing protocols being implemented, people have been confined to their homes and have a lot more free time on their hands. This led to more people playing mobile games while looking for ways to entertain themselves and a means of social interaction with other gamers. 

GameAnalytics reports that the mobile gaming community grew from 1.2 billion users per month to 1.75 billion users per month in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020. Additionally, NewZoo estimated this number would reach a peak of 2.6 billion users at the end of Q4. Of these users, reportedly 38% of them are willing to pay for mobile games

What does the rise mean for marketers?

The mobile gaming community is massive and vast, making it an exceptional opportunity for advertisers. 

According to App Annie, consumer spend in mobile gaming is expected to dominate 60% of market share among all gaming platforms, beating out console, PC or handheld gaming in 2020

2020 saw a major shift in ad spend away from more traditional forms of media, like print or television, to advertising in mobile gaming apps. Why? Well, this is mostly attributed to the sheer volume of mobile gamers and their attitude towards in-app advertisements. 

With over 3.5 billion smartphone users across the globe, 70% of which use mobile gaming apps every day, the pool marketers have to advertise in is massive. Of these gamers, it is crucial to note that many of them are used to seeing ads

These users take ads in their games as part of the experience and are particularly inclined to viewing ads when there is something in it for them. These are known as rewarded video advertisements

Essentially, this is when the user gets a reward for watching an advert to completion. A common example of this can be seen in Angry Birds 2 where, if a gamer has used up all of their lives on a level, they can watch an ad and be rewarded with an extra life to continue the game. The catch is the user can only watch an ad in exchange for more lives three times before they will have to make in-app purchases in order to continue the game. 

The number of free mobile games that use in-app purchases increased from 84% to 94% in 2018, proving that more free game developers are looking to in-game advertisements to monetise content. 

These ads allow marketers to reach an engaged and interactive audience while giving them the opportunity to diversify their advertising strategy. What’s not to like? 

Despite this massive opportunity for advertisers, Edouard Favier, marketing director at PikPok, believes that traditional advertisers are not giving the mobile gaming industry a fair shake. “A large majority of [PikPok’s] ads are currently coming from other mobile game advertisers, not brands.” 

It is likely this reluctance to jump on the mobile gaming bandwagon may come from not understanding the market. 

Understanding this audience 

As a marketer, you already know how crucial it is to understand your audience in order to craft ads that are effective at peaking consumer interest and sparking engagement. So who would you be able to target with mobile gaming? This may come as a surprise, but gamers are not just teenage boys. 

The mobile gaming industry has a diverse and expansive audience, as anyone can be a gamer. This could be why the industry is growing at an imaginable pace because it caters to all walks of life. No matter what your interests are, there’s likely a game that will tickle your fancy. 

Additionally, as the gaming industry is so diverse in nature, it is also dynamic, meaning that mobile gamers enjoy seeing fresh content on a regular basis. 

Mopub helps us to further understand the mobile gaming audience with these insightful statistics:
  • The mobile gaming audience’s gender split is 51% women, 49% men.
  • According to Forbes, 43% of women play mobile games more than five times a week while only 38% of men play that often.
  • The average age of a mobile gamer is 36.
The demographic split here is quite even (although note that the majority are women). Marketers should ensure that their marketing messages are applicable to all genders to avoid stereotypes. 

Are you a mobile gamer? If so, what is your favourite game to play in your spare time? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

Well, you’ve made it this far. Why not sign up for our newsletter while you’re here?

If you want to ace the advertising game, check out these Five ways to advertise to an audience with an eight-second attention span.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy