4 Must-Know User Acquisition Practices for Mobiles Games

4 Must-Know User Acquisition Practices for Mobile Games

Mobile gaming has kept up a strong momentum as it comes out of its pandemic surge. In 2021, mobile game consumer spending grew by $15.49 billion, reaching a total value of $116 billion, while downloads grew to 83 billion, according to data.ai.

In our high growth mobile ecosystem, a critical component to ensuring success for advertisers is to find, define and measure the LTV of both advertising and in-app purchases. It’s no longer enough just to find cheap installs, or high-value users. Advertisers must now target precise audiences, achieve high click, install and engagement rates, and reach in-app purchase (IAP) or in-app ad (IAA) goals to reach a high return on ad spend (ROAS).

Here are Chartboost’s user acquisition tips for 2022:


Goal Setting

For IAP-focused advertisers, their main goal is to achieve Day 7 and Day 14 IAP ROAS goals, while also monitoring key metrics like CPI, installs, purchase rates and amounts, and retention. 

For apps that earn some or all of their revenue from ads, it’s vital to balance the split between IAP and ad revenue and measure the complete LTV picture. Key metrics to watch would be Day 1 retention rate, ad impression rate, and ARPDAU. We also recommend that IAA-focused publishers work with a reliable mediation platform such as Helium by Chartboost to access impression-level ad revenue data. This data completes a feedback loop in which channel users enter into the game through an ad, then acquire more users in that channel to generate more ad revenue.


Choosing Your Partners

For larger gaming companies, advertisers usually put 50% of their UA budget into mainstream media sources such as Facebook and Google. However, there are various other media sources that the experts also allocate budget to, such as ad networks, DSPs, app store optimization (ASO), and influencer marketing. Learn from the pros: don’t hesitate to allocate part of your UA budget to new partners to test out. 

Among the many choices, programmatic buying with a DSP (demand-side platform) is a must-try. A DSP offers real-time bidding at an impression-level, leveraging sophisticated modeling and machine-learning algorithms to improve targeting and optimization. Advertisers can also reduce their risk by using the right partner: Chartboost DSP charges advertisers by CPI and bids on CPM, which means we are responsible for the conversion rate from CPM to CPI.


Choose a Wide Campaign Targeting

It’s best not to start out with narrow targeting. Your game may find success with unexpected audiences. For example, if you’re a puzzle game advertiser, targeting European users instead of focusing only on the US may help you gain more high-quality users and offer good ROAS performance. According to the Appsflyer Gaming Genre Matrix 2021, 26% of puzzle gamers also play action games. That means, targeting action gamers should also be considered. 

Finally, different platforms can also offer surprisingly good performance. The Amazon Appstore often lifts the ROAS performance of Chartboost DSP customers by offering them with a relatively lower price.


Creative Optimization

According to SocialPeta, advertisers used an average of 537 ad creatives in 2021 — an increase of 132% over 2020. Advertisers are focusing on both ad creative quantity and quality to enhance user acquisition. Video is especially important, representing more than 86% of mobile ads. 

SocialPeta also shared what type of  creative works the best for each genre in 2021:

  • Hyper-casual games usually focus on gameplay.
  • Casual games tell stories from female perspectives, about narrative or real-life scenarios.
  • Social casino games use scenes with real people, hyping up the excitement of playing a physical slot machine.
  • Simulation games (SLG) show off simplified gameplay, to attract casual audiences into a more hardcore genre.
  • Any game genre can benefit from celebrity and influencer-based creatives.

As for how to evaluate performance, at Chartboost, we measure CTR, CVR, and IPM.  Chartboost DSP targets creatives with high IPM to achieve higher funnel conversions, and as top-performing creatives may hit saturation over a period of time due to creative fatigue, we keep giving suggestions to help iterate and test new creatives.  

After reading this article, you’ve learned how to set up the right goals, test new advertising partners, set up the right campaign targeting, and choose the best creative types for your game. But leading-edge success goes much deeper. Keep an eye on this space; in the coming weeks, we’ll cover more in-depth tips and tricks.


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