Why Mobile Games Are Important To Your Brand

Originally published on Forbes.com

Apple’s App Store just sailed past its 10-year anniversary. It now boasts over 2 million apps and 500 million weekly users — and those numbers will only go up. With over 500 new mobile games submitted every day, the App Store drives a significant portion of the mobile gaming industry. This profitable landscape generated $4 billion for Supercell with its smash hit title Clash of Clans and gave Pokémon Quest $3 million in revenue during its very first week. (Full disclosure: Supercell is a Chartboost partner.)

In an era where Angry Birds is a household name, mobile gaming becomes more than a pastime activity. It’s a serious 21st century industry that spans markets, continents and cultures. And its users are among the most valuable digital populations for advertisers who want to grow their mobile presence.

Non-game brands are quickly realizing that they can penetrate the mobile games market with their product, whether it’s a household cleaner or the Jurassic World franchise. Unfortunately, many brands still scoff at mobile games, kneecapping their marketing strategies through an obsolete stereotype of the gamer as a pimply adolescent male.

It’s time to shatter this myth and awaken your brand to new possibilities. Here are three reasons why mobile games deserve a seat at your brand’s marketing table.

1. Gamer Demographics Have Shifted Radically

Of the approximately 7 billion humans on this planet, nearly one-third of us are mobile gamers. In 2017, video technology firm Jun Group reported that 51% of its network users played mobile games for more than 30 minutes every single day and that games were the top category across all gender and age demographics. In the U.S. alone, the penetration of gamers has jumped 13% (registration required) since 2013.

The rise of app stores led to an explosion of mobile game genres that now challenge advertisers to rethink their definition of a typical gamer. Along with traditional titles such as PAC-MAN, mobile games began offering countless indie and experimental genres that attracted completely new audiences.

As we mentioned earlier, the most common gamer nowadays is not a teenage boy. Sixty-two percent of mobile gamers in the United States (registration required) are women between the ages of 35 and 44, and almost a quarter of all video game players in the United States are 50 or older.

So why did everyone and their grandmother (literally) start playing mobile games? The diversity of games in app stores has multiplied exponentially in recent years, offering players a cornucopia of genres, including simple, hypercasual titles that require little training or commitment. If over half of mobile gamers are busy women who claim their No. 1 reason to play games is to relax, hypercasual games are a premium place for brands to advertise.

Additionally, the rising number of mobile devices worldwide will result in an estimated 4.78 billion mobile users worldwide by 2020 (registration required). The equation is simple: More games plus more devices to play on equals more mobile gamers.

Users already spend 87% of their mobile device time in an app, and it’s likely that app is a game.

2. Games Are A Great Setting To Create Experiences

Mobile gamers play to relax or to escape, so mobile gamers voluntarily check their negativity or distractions at the door, entering a mobile game with lighthearted, excited and receptive states of mind — the perfect setting for an ad to create a natural, positive association with a brand.

The essence of good advertising is showing the right ad at the right time and place, and mobile games offer more unique opportunities to engage users in a happy state, which boosts the chances of conversion. No matter its genre or subject matter, a mobile game is a trusted haven for the user, and that sense of trust is what turns casual players into loyal payers.

3. Rewards Create A Positive Brand Association

Mobile gamers are perfectly fine with watching ads in exchange for in-game rewards like extra lives, power-ups or bonus content. In fact, mobile gamers prefer this. According to a recent study, 40.1% of users think rewarded video is the most acceptable ad format — the highest rate of any ad format tested. In another study from Jun Group, 74% of users who were shown rewarded ads enjoyed their overall ad experience. (On a side note, not only do women make up 55% of rewarded video views, but they also generate higher video completion rates than men.)

Thanks to rewarded video, mobile ads are no longer forced intrusions. They can instead become opt-in experiences that pay out and positively reinforce. Skillfully and seamlessly blended into the mise-en-scène of a mobile game, rewarded video ads are memorable, emotional experiences that boost the user’s purchase intent farther down the customer journey.

Today’s Gamers Require Modern Acquisition Strategies

If a brand considers itself too sophisticated to step into the realm of mobile gaming, its marketing strategy will suffer for it. The penetration of mobile gaming across demographics — combined with the steady production of mobile devices — makes mobile gaming a great arena to expand your brand advertising, brand awareness and user base. By engaging new users in the optimistic, open-minded arena of the mobile game, and by rewarding engaged users with compensation that fits the context of the game, even non-game brands can tap into a thriving market.