Mobile Game User Acquisition 2024: The Guide
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Without a smart user acquisition strategy for your mobile game, consider it dead on arrival. Relying on chance for users to find your new, userless game? Forget it.
Once you gain some momentum, sure, a few might trip over your game, but don't bank on it. The real deal to hitting thousands or millions of users is a relentless UA hustle.
As your game's user base grows, so does its fame. This is your ticket to making money—be it through ads, in-app purchases, or subscriptions—the holy grail for every game developer or publisher out there.
So, to help you get there, we’ve prepared an article with the latest mobile game app UA trends ripe for 2024.
What types of mobile games are popular today?
Users' mobile app habits are rapidly evolving—it pays to know what is trendy. Let's dive into the 2023 mobile gaming trends:
With 5G's expansion, cloud gaming is skyrocketing. Soon, a lot of top-tier games, usually seen on consoles, will run effortlessly on mobiles, minus the need for advanced hardware. Expect gaming to become more budget-friendly, and that means competing with the big studios.
AR and VR
Giants like Pokemon Go have paved the way for AR and VR in mobile gaming. This is just the start. Anticipate more games that merge reality with the virtual, offering deeper, more engaging experiences.
Simple, quick, addictive games have taken the market by storm. When your entire day is consumed by stressful work or activities that otherwise overwhelm your senses, this is how you relax. This trend isn't slowing down—expect even more straightforward, captivating games designed to hook players instantaneously.
Always a hit, multiplayer games are now easier to dive into thanks to social media and mobile advancements. This social gaming wave is far from over, as is yet another destroyed Clash of Clans base at 3 a.m
The shift to subscriptions in mobile gaming is noticeable. More games will likely follow, offering premium content for a regular fee—a new revenue stream for developers. Sure, there is a lot of subscription fatigue out there, and yet we do it anyway.
2024 will also see a surge in cross-platform gaming. This means playing the same game across various devices, like mobiles, PCs, and consoles, using one account.
Top 7 mobile game user acquisition tips
In the world of mobile games, you've got two UA (user acquisition) choices: paid and organic. Relying on just one? Big mistake. You're leaving a ton of potential users on the table.
Paid UA is all about buying user attention with ads, mainly on social networks and ad networks. These ads, primarily app install ones, are gold mines for snagging users. They're data-driven and target the right crowd.
Mobile gaming gobbles up half of the total UA ad spend and is the cash cow in the app world, hence the ad cash flood. With paid UA, your ad creativity matters a lot. Automation is taking over campaign management, leaving human creativity as the crucial piece. So, pump resources into crafting killer ads.
Organic UA is basically scoring installs without shelling out for ads. The key here is to make your game easy to find.
The usual suspect is App Store Optimization. But don't forget about social media and content marketing for brand buzz and community building. The best part—it's free. Don't expect instant results like with paid UA, however. Combine it with paid efforts, and you're setting up for long-term wins.
Now, let's dive deep into concrete tips and tactics to turbocharge your mobile game's user base, balancing both paid and organic UA strategies.
1. Combine paid user acquisition and organic user acquisition
The golden rule in mobile game user acquisition is mixing paid and organic strategies.
Most titles launch with paid UA—it's a no-brainer to get the ball rolling. Once their game or brand hits the limelight, they pivot towards organic UA.
A solid download count out of the gate makes your game a hot item in app stores. You climb the search ranks, making your game more discoverable. Remember, those ad clicks drop users on your app store page. That means even with paid ads flying, your app store listing can't be a mess.
Paid and organic UA are a tag team. When plotting your mobile game's UA strategy, leverage both. More tactics, more channels, more users—simple as that. More on that below
2. Zoom in on the correct mobile app gaming audience
Forget the one-size-fits-all approach in marketing your game. "Gamers" is too vague a target. It's a diverse arena.
Over half of mobile gamers are women (55%, says Statista), and the average mobile gamer is 34, with plenty over 50. With over 2.2 billion gamers globally (thanks again, Statista), your job is to pinpoint the groups who'd love your game. You need a laser-focused target audience.
Start by spying on your competitors' audience. Say you've got an interactive story game; chances are, your audience is largely women. It's a solid way to suss out what hits and what misses.
Case in point: check out ads from hit games. You'll notice a bunch are these "fail ads" that make games look tougher than they are, so viewers feel like geniuses. Also, story-based ads are everywhere, especially in casual and puzzle games. They mainly hook women, too.
Get down to basics: gender, location, age, language, device types, and more. Then, dive deeper. What drives your audience? What are their hobbies, behaviors, and preferences?
Player motivations are why people play mobile games. Some seek relaxation, others social connections. Gain as much information as you can on that, and it’ll help you with the next steps.
3. Set user acquisition KPIs in place
Setting your KPIs is non-negotiable for your UA campaign's success. KPIs are your success radar—they tell you if you're winning or flopping.
Sure, tracking installs is basic—you need more users. But that's just scratching the surface—dig deeper into metrics like CPI, CPA, and CAC.
Don't stop there.
After the install, keep an eye on in-app metrics: user retention, session numbers and lengths, LTV, and money-makers like ARPPU, ARPDAU, and conversion rate. It's all about attracting users who stick around, play often, and either buy in-app stuff or click on ads.
4. Pick the right user acquisition channels
Your channel choice is critical for both organic and paid UA success. For paid UA, picking the right social media and ad networks is make-or-break.
So, how do you choose?
Dive deeper into this in our piece on the best ad networks for player acquisition.
Don't forget social media for content marketing. Again, who's your audience? What content fits best? Each platform has its own vibe.
5. Use App Store Optimization
Nail your game's app store listing and watch it climb the ranks on Google Play and Apple's App Store. This boosts organic conversions and even backs up your paid UA efforts.
Your game's title and description need to be keyword-rich—they're major ranking factors. On Apple's App Store, you even get a dedicated keyword field. Make the game name a clear snapshot of your game's essence, too.
Visuals are make-or-break. Your icon should hit hard and echo current trends.
Screenshots and a promo video are also non-negotiable. They should flaunt your game's key features. The video needs to go further, giving a real feel of the gameplay. And always, always include a call to action—coax those downloads.
Don't sleep on ratings and reviews. They're huge for app store rankings; aim for top-notch user experiences. Got bad reviews? Respond to every single one. User feedback is gold—treat it that way.
6. Create awesome ads
Master ad campaigns all you want, but if your ad creatives are garbage, you're going nowhere. That's the brutal reality of user acquisition. So, buckle down and invest serious effort in creative production.
Video ads are the best for mobile games. They trump image ads by miles, letting you flaunt the full-game experience in a short time window. Start with a bang, mix in captivating gameplay, highlight key features, and end with a compelling call to action.
For instance, if your audience digs self-expression, your video ads should spotlight your game's customization options.
Seems straightforward, right?
Now, about other ad formats—give playable ads a shot. They let players test-drive your game, luring them in fast. But they're not perfect. The catch is their limited gameplay showcase. Playable ads are a hit for casual, simple-mechanic games. You'll have to dumb down a complex game for these ads, which might not do it justice.
7. Try influencer marketing
Adding a sharp influencer campaign to your mobile game UA strategy is a smart move.
Teaming up with gaming influencers packs a punch—you tap into fresh audiences, snag top-tier users, and might even hit viral gold if the content is good. No shocker, influencer marketing ballooned to a whopping $16.4 billion industry in 2022 (hats off to Influencer Marketing Hub).
But don't freak out if you're not swimming in cash for celeb influencers. Micro-influencers dominate the market, proving you don't need to burn millions on stars for a win. Often, smaller influencers get you further, because they usually rake in more engagement with their tighter follower circles. Plus, they're not distant celebs; they're more like pals to their audience.
- Set clear goals—like a specific user acquisition number.
- Set a budget for your influencer marketing.
- Choose influencers who are big in the mobile gaming niche and have solid engagement
- Find your crowd and pick influencers who talk to the same folks.
- Let influencers do their thing—don't micromanage their content.
And there you go!
Acquiring more users for your mobile game app is always a creative process. Keep trying new things and look to successful competitors for inspiration—there’s nothing wrong with that. For everything else, it’s killer ads, optimized app store pages, and a healthy mix of marketing that finds the right player at the right time.
What are the current trends in mobile gaming for 2023?
Cloud gaming, AR and VR, hyper-casual games, multiplayer games, and subscription model games are on the rise. Cross-platform gaming is also growing.
What is the best user acquisition strategy for mobile games?
Blend paid and organic strategies. Paid UA focuses on purchasing user attention via ads, especially on social networks and ad networks. Organic UA includes App Store Optimization, social media, and content marketing to build brand buzz. Combine both approaches for maximum effect.
How to find the right mobile game app audience?
Understanding your specific audience—their gender, age, preferences, and behaviors—helps tailor your marketing efforts. For example, if your game appeals more to women, your advertising and content should reflect that. Studying competitors will provide insights into targeting strategies, like the use of story-based ads or "fail ads" to attract the right player demographics.
What are mobile game app KPIs?
Basic KPIs include tracking installs, but deeper insights are gained from metrics like Cost Per Install, Customer Acquisition Cost, and Average Revenue Per Paying User. Post-install metrics like user retention, session numbers, and conversion rates will also help gauge the effectiveness of your efforts.