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26 February, 2024

Mobile Game User Acquisition: 8 Best Strategies

Mobile Game User Acquisition: 8 Best Strategies

With a focus on mobile game user acquisition, this blog will take you through the basics of user acquisition and help you create a mobile game user acquisition strategy that works for you.

Regardless of how entertaining a mobile game is, its success depends on its mobile game user acquisition strategy. Acquiring new users has always been the lifeblood and necessity of survival for mobile game developers. In contrast to two or three years ago, targeting high-quality users is today more difficult than ever.

Up until recently, there had been a considerable decline in the number of new mobile game releases; revenue-based measures like LTV, ROAS, ARPU, and ARPDAU had declined significantly for studios and publishers, and user acquisition costs had skyrocketed. At first look, choosing the best mobile game user acquisition strategy may seem unattainable, but actually, it has just gotten more demanding.

This article will walk you through the fundamentals of user acquisition, specifically in the context of mobile gaming, and assist you in developing a user acquisition strategy for mobile games.

Let’s get started:

What is mobile game user acquisition

Mobile game user acquisition refers to drawing in new users and persuading them to download and play your game.

Social media advertising and mobile ad networks are two methods of gaining new users. By placing in-game ads on other games, mobile game app creators utilize user acquisition campaigns to draw high-impact users. Paid advertising and organic methods are also available for mobile game user acquisition, with the advantages of each varying based on the game's age, genre, and other characteristics.

Getting suitable users—those who interact, spend, and recommend—is the real goal of the mobile game user acquisition strategy. Mobile games can effectively and efficiently target potential users across several channels by combining data analytics with ad creatives.

How does mobile game user acquisition work

Mobile game user acquisition involved particular directions before Skadnetwork. After creating your game, the first thing you need to do is decide which marketing channel and who your target audience is. You may keep track of each user's every move and determine their precise Lifetime Value (LTV) with the help of a Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP). But with iOS, Apple drastically altered the way that users are acquired. These days, targeting is challenging, and retargeting does not exist.

The absence of data was a significant obstacle for advertisers during the mobile game user acquisition process. Consequently, the emphasis on data science and machine learning has led to a notable change in the user acquisition process for mobile games.

Advertisers need to be data-driven to run the best advertising campaigns, assess return on investment, and select the most productive marketing channels. That way, you won't feel unfamiliar with diverse, massive data sets.

To draw users, you must have a sales funnel that manages the full customer journey—from when a visitor arrives on your website to when they convert to a customer.

Before using the game, visitors must complete several steps in the procedure. The funnel below shows each of these steps:

Mobile game user acquisition funnelMobile game user acquisition funnel

Why it matters

This one is easy to understand. A mobile game user acquisition strategy is imperative to get things started with acquiring users. You will have trouble gaining users for your mobile games if you don't have a well-thought-out outline. When your game is brand-new and unplayed, it's unlikely that many people will find it by themselves.

Your game may be excellent, but it won't matter if no one plays it or if it finds an unsuitable audience. Indeed, you can plug-and-play ads to increase the number of people who view your game, but in a highly competitive sector, failing to follow best practices and innovate frequently will probably result in unprofitable ad campaigns that waste both your time and money.

The true goal of a mobile game user acquisition strategy is to propel profitable growth. Achieving optimal return on marketing spending is just as significant as ensuring your game gets viewed and played. UA efforts must continue if you want to reach thousands or even millions of users.

Also, your game will become more and more well-known as more players join in. You can then make money off these users by charging for in-app purchases, subscriptions, or ads. Naturally, that's what every mobile game publisher wants to achieve in the end.

How to Optimize it

Advertisers struggle with a scarcity of data, and it's challenging to target with scant demographic information, so you can start by researching your competitors' target audience. This will help you determine who else is playing games similar to yours.

If your game is an interactive story, you'll discover that most users are female. Define the fundamentals now, including gender, age range, location, language, and devices for ease of targeting.

Besides, for mobile games, it's still essential to allocate your mobile game user acquisition budget to content marketing, app store optimization (ASO), and ad networks. Along with focusing on the quantity and quality of ads, you should also consider ASO while optimizing user acquisition. It's a smart alternative if you want to make a video ad that has the highest conversion rate and performs well.

Primary methods for acquiring gamers

Paid and organic user acquisition (UA) are the two primary methods used in mobile game user acquisition strategies. It's recommended to incorporate both into your strategy for best outcomes. Your chances of gaining new users are considerably reduced if you concentrate only on one of the two.

To get you going, here's a quick rundown of each strategy.

  1. Paid User Acquisition: This method involves utilizing paid ads on ad networks and social media platforms to convert users. These are app install campaigns meant to draw users to download and install your game.

    This data-driven approach is one of the best mobile game user acquisition strategies since it lets you connect with relevant users. Additionally, you can reach a large audience by placing ads on well-known ad networks for your game.

  2. Organic User Acquisition: Getting installs without utilizing paid ads is known as "organic user acquisition." More precisely, it's about making your game more effortless to find.

    Another approach for acquiring organic users acquisition is to post content on your social media platforms to build a community and increase brand recognition. (Alternatively put, via content marketing)

    The best part of this strategy is that it's free! However, unlike with paid UA, you won't see results right away. Nevertheless, investing time and energy in both paid and organic user acquisition is still worthwhile because the results will be long-lasting.

Now that you have a fundamental understanding of user acquisition strategy for mobile games, it's time to dig further into specific strategies, metrics, and recommendations for growing your mobile game's user base.

Which KPI you should focus on

These are the key performance indicators that gaming app marketers need to monitor for their mobile game user acquisition campaigns.

  1. Daily Active Users: Daily Active Users (DAU) is a valuable indicator to gauge the long-term performance of your UA initiatives. DAU is a user who utilizes an app within 24 hours. DAU indicates whether or not people are interacting with your gaming app because it includes both new and returning users.

    The game may need to enhance functioning or some of its primary features if your DAUs are low overall. If, on the other hand, your installs significantly exceed your DAUs, there's probably an issue with your statistics. Establish fraud prevention processes and a smooth app onboarding process to make sure your gaming app isn't losing users needlessly.

    A practical exposition of this is CricFlix, which used the user acquisition platform of PubScale to increase app installs from a few hundred to over 100,000 installs in just 20 days. In addition, PubScale's innovative user acquisition strategy has allowed the app to boast over 10,000 daily active users. Read the full success story in detail.

  2. Number of Installs: Installs is a significant acquisition cycle metric, similar to all other verticals. When a game is downloaded and used for the first time, it is called an install. Installs enable marketers to evaluate both the general appeal of their gaming apps and the effectiveness of their UA efforts.

    Marketers may optimize their campaigns through installs to see which sources drive the most traffic to their game apps. To do this, many marketers prefer to use a Campaign Automation service.

  3. Cost Per Install: Often referred to as the user acquisition cost for mobile apps, Cost Per Install (CPI) is the set amount that an advertiser pays an ad network when a user installs a game. This KPI is essential for advertisers since it allows them to gauge how much money they are spending on advertising and determine whether or not their campaigns are under budget.

    The target market and sub-vertical of apps have a big impact on the average CPI. For instance, hyper-casual games typically have lower CPIs than puzzle or action game apps since they don't profit through In-App Purchases (IAPs) as much as other sub-verticals.

  4. Lifetime Value: The profit margin a game will receive from an average user throughout their usage is indicated by LTV. By calculating the revenue that each new user will generate and analyzing the user acquisition budget, you can scale your gaming app effectively.

8 Best mobile game user acquisition strategies

  1. Leverage DSP

    Game developers can leverage Demand-Side Platforms to efficiently acquire new users for their games. With DSPs, developers can optimize and purchase ad placements across several channels programmatically. By utilizing real-time data and algorithms, developers can target specific audience segments, ensuring their ads reach users who are more likely to engage with their games.

    DSPs provide a streamlined and data-driven approach to user acquisition, allowing developers to allocate budgets effectively and track performance metrics. This not only enhances the precision of ad targeting but also contributes to a more cost-effective and strategic user acquisition strategy in the competitive gaming market.

  2. Leverage Native ads

    One of the cutting-edge and savviest user acquisition strategies for mobile games is the usage of native ads. Game developers can effectively acquire new users by integrating native ads seamlessly into the gaming experience. These ads blend with the game's design, providing a non-disruptive way to showcase new games or features.

    Strategically placed within the game environment, native ads capture players' attention without interrupting gameplay. Developers can tailor these ads to match the game's style, targeting specific audiences through collaborations with ad networks like PubScale.

    This mobile game user acquisition strategy increases monetization potential and retention while also improving the user experience.

  3. Leverage Offerwall

    Game developers can utilize offerwalls as a potent strategy for acquiring new users. Offerwalls present gamers with a variety of in-game tasks or offers, such as surveys, app downloads, or video views, in exchange for virtual rewards or in-game currency. This incentivized approach encourages user engagement and attracts a broader audience.

    By partnering with ad networks like PubScale and integrating offer walls seamlessly into the game interface, developers can effectively boost user acquisition.

    The appeal lies in the mutual benefit: players gain rewards while developers expand their user base, creating a win-win scenario that fosters user retention and monetization.

  4. Leverage Playable Ads

    One mobile game user acquisition strategy that is gaining popularity is playable ads. Playable ads are one of the valuable tools for user acquisition and engagement as they provide an in-ad gameplay experience. They are a kind of interactive ad unit that lets users try out an app's demo before installing it.

    Benefits of playable ads in mobile game user acquisition:

    • Increased Engagement: Playable ads significantly draw in and hold users' attention with their gamified interactive characteristics. For this reason, it is among the best in-app ad formats for acquiring users for mobile games.
    • Higher Retention Rate: Users are more likely to utilize the app in the long run because they choose to download it following a test run. This exclusive user base is anticipated to boost the app's lifetime value (LTV) and decrease the number of uninstalls.
    • High Conversion Rates: When it comes to conversion rates, Playable Ads are the best option available. Their enhanced appealing ad experience and ability to engage users directly translate into higher click-through rates and conversions.
    • Optimize Ad Performance: Through user behavior analysis, these ads can be customized for the right set of users. This results in higher conversion rates, which would increase revenue. Additionally, there is less ad spend waste.
  5. Leverage Interstitial Ads

    The interstitial ad format is one of the most widely used mobile ad formats since gaming apps and games played through mobile websites frequently need a complete viewport for the interface. Interstitial ads are highly preferred for acquiring new users for mobile games due to their elevated click-through rates (CTRs) and impression rates.

    To overcome ad viewability issues—also known as banner blindness—in the smartphone environment, game publishers use this ad format for user acquisition strategy for mobile games. Also, more banners mean more impressions and user engagement.

  6. Leverage Rewarded Ads

    Rewarded ads are said to be essential to the game's success because they not only increase earnings but also enhance user experience. Increased user engagement and retention are two prominent advantages of utilizing rewarded ads for user acquisition in mobile games.

    Game apps can boost user engagement and stickiness by delivering incentives to users, which in turn gives them a reason to use the app more frequently.

  7. Integrate Paid and Organic User Acquisition

    Combining paid and organic user acquisition will yield the best results. Paid UA initiatives are a popular and highly recommended starting point for game businesses.

    The best time to focus on organic user acquisition is as the game becomes more well-known, as having a decent amount of downloads from the outset increases your app store relevance. It makes it simpler for users to find your game and helps you rank higher in the search results. As a result, paid UA might strengthen your organic campaigns.

    Remember that users who click on your install ads end up in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. This is an additional explanation for keeping your app store listing presentable even if you're paying for UA ad campaigns.

    Paid and organic user acquisition complement each other. Use both to your advantage when developing a mobile game user acquisition strategy.

  8. App Store Optimization (ASO)

    In terms of organic user acquisition, ASO remains supreme. Your game may appear higher on Google Play and Apple's App Store if you improve its listing. To "seal the deal" for visitors who click on your ads and ultimately download, you need to create a thoroughly thought-out store page. Consider using this action to optimize the return on your investment in paid UA.

    ASO and SEO are almost the same when it comes to keywords. To ensure that users searching for similar terms in the App Store or search engines can discover you, you should include relevant keywords in the game's title, subtitle, and description.

    Don't ignore the images; they are a primary draw for a lot of folks. Ensure that the icon on your app is visually appealing and follows the most recent guidelines for visual content. Thoughtfully include advertising videos and screenshots as well. A call to action is also critical since it motivates users to download your game. Finally, the rankings of your game in the app stores are also influenced by ratings and reviews.

Final Words

Mobile game user acquisition is relatively labor-intensive and demands a keen eye for detail. It entails having greater intelligence, more imagination, and surpassing the opposition. It can sometimes be a laborious and slow procedure to acquire users, but perseverance is rewarded in the end.

Game app businesses put a lot of effort into growing their mobile user base. A comprehensive marketing plan for mobile gaming app user acquisition should include several diverse components, such as influencer collaborations, social media marketing, in-app advertising, user referral programs, cross-promotion, and performance marketing.

By successfully putting these techniques into practice and consistently optimizing based on data-driven insights, game developers may boost user engagement, drive app downloads, and achieve long-term success in the cutthroat mobile gaming market.

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