Audience segmentation 101: The mobile game developer’s guide 

February 14 · Nick Schultz · 7 Min read
Audience segmentation can be a game-changer. From defining user personas to crafting personalized experiences and prioritizing user privacy, this comprehensive guide can help you elevate your mobile game advertising strategy. Uncover the secrets to improved targeting precision, enhanced audience engagement, and a better ROI.
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Every game developer wants to create a stellar experience for its players. 

To accomplish this, game developers often spend countless hours and ridiculous amounts of money to fine tune every aspect of their games. But the user experience is about more than gameplay. 

To make sure players enjoy every second with your game, you need to create engaging in-game ads that suck them in. The only way to do that is to target your ads to different players, which requires a segmented advertising strategy. 

In this article, we explain what audience segmentation is and why it’s important, the most popular forms of segmentation available, and five segmentation best practices to implement. 

What is audience segmentation? 

Let’s start at the beginning. 

Audience segmentation is the act of dividing your game’s users into different groups, based on common attributes, such as physical location, payment, and in-game behavior. 

Why should you, a game developer, take the time to segment your players? Because doing so often results in three major benefits: improved targeting precision, greater audience engagement and retention, and better return on investment (ROI). Let’s take a closer look. 

Why is audience segmentation important? 

Audience segmentation allows you to build an effective segmented advertising strategy for your mobile games. Once that happens, you’ll enjoy choice benefits such as: 

Improved targeting precision 

First, audience segmentation makes it easier to craft targeted marketing campaigns. As all marketers know, the more personalized your ads, the better they perform. Imagine crafting ads that generate installs on a consistent basis. Segmentation can make this dream a reality. 

Audience engagement and retention 

Second, audience segmentation leads to better engagement and retention metrics. It makes sense. The more personalized you make the gaming experience, the more players enjoy your game. And the more they enjoy your game, the more often they’ll play it. 

Better marketing return on investment (ROI) 

Better targeting and higher engagement levels lead to the third benefit of audience segmentation: increased ROI. How so? Users who play your game for long periods of time can be served more ads. They’re also more likely to make in-app purchases. These things result in extra revenue for your company without incurring additional marketing costs. 

Types of audience segmentation 

There are many different ways to segment your audience. You need to choose which ones to use (and when to use them) to develop a winning segmented advertising strategy. 

The four audience segmentation techniques below will help get you started: 

Demographic segmentation 

You can segment your target audience based on demographics. Where do your users live? What age and gender are they? How much money do they make on an annual basis?

Example of demographic segmentation: We’re targeting male users in the U.S, who are 18 to 35 years old, make more than $75,000 a year, and use Instagram on a regular basis. 

Psychographic segmentation 

You can also segment your target audience by psychographics. What interests do your users have? What values do they hold? And can you pinpoint specific personality traits that they share? 

Example of psychographic segmentation: We’re targeting hardcore gamers who love RPG games, lean conservative in their political views, and have a strong sense of justice. 

In-game behavior segmentation

You might want to segment your target audience based on in-game behavior too. Who plays your game the most? Who has completed every level and unlocked every character? Who watches rewarded videos most often? And who is most willing to make in-app purchases

Example of in-game behavior segmentation: We’re targeting users who play our game every day, are willing to make in-app purchases, and have conquered at least five in-game bosses. 

Technographic segmentation

Finally, consider using technographic details to segment your target audience. What devices do your users use? And are they early or late adopters when it comes to technology? 

Example of technographic segmentation: We’re targeting iOS users who own iPhone 12s-or-newer devices, and are on the cutting edge when it comes to technological advancements. 

Audience segmentation best practices for mobile games 

We’ve covered a lot, but we still have one important topic to get to: how to implement a segmented advertising strategy. These five best practices will help. 

1. Define user personas 

It doesn’t matter what you’re marketing. Success always starts with a deep understanding of the specific group of people you want to reach. So, before you do anything else, get to know your game’s unique players — especially the ones with the highest lifetime value metrics

Start by studying in-game data and conducting market research. In other words, research how users interact with your game and how your competitors interact with users. 

Once you’ve learned everything you can about your target audience, distill the information into well-defined user personas. This will help you actually use the knowledge you have to craft effective marketing messages that boost your company’s bottom line. 

2. Choose segmentation criteria 

Once you know who your audience is, you can decide how to segment them. 

As discussed above, you have multiple options. You can, for example, segment them by demographic data. Or in-game behavior. Or technographic details. It’s up to you. 

To make the choice easier, ask yourself, “What am I trying to achieve?” If you want to boost brand recognition, try using demographic targeting. If you want to increase installs, give psychographic targeting a shot. And if you want to improve revenue, go with in-game data. 

3. Craft personalized experiences 

Success in the mobile games industry requires personalization. 

You need to personalize the ads you serve to potential users, as well as the in-game experience you provide to current users. Doing so will increase installs, engagement, and revenue. 

What does this look like in the real world? If you’re an advertiser, create ads that are specifically designed to entice your target audience to watch, click, and/or buy. 

If you’re a publisher, pay special attention to the ad formats you serve, who you serve them to, and when you serve them. You can do this by running A/B tests to see which ad formats and placements work best for your particular game and user base. (More on testing below.) 

We also suggest adjusting in-game content to accommodate different user types and sending alternate push notifications to each of your segments to achieve various goals. 

4. Test your segmentation efforts 

Both advertisers and publishers need to test and iterate their ads to achieve success. 

You never know which ads will work and which will fall flat until you try them. The same thing goes for ad formats and placements. Form a hypothesis about your ads, thoroughly test that hypothesis, use the data you collect to form a new hypothesis, and start again. 

Testing your segmented advertising strategy will help you reach more users, display the right messages at the right times, and drive more revenue for your mobile gaming brand. 

5. Always prioritize user privacy 

Obviously, effective segmented advertising campaigns require in-depth user data. But data should ALWAYS be acquired in legal ways. This is extremely important! 

If you don’t follow privacy laws, including GDPR and CCPA, you will end up paying hefty fines. Even worse, you’ll lose the trust of your target audience and fewer people will want to play your game. This will lead to lower engagement levels, less retention, and plummeting revenue numbers. 
Fortunately, tools such as Chartboost can help you build targeted advertising and monetization strategies that won’t violate laws or users’ trust. Contact us to get started today.

Win with audience segmentation 

Audience segmentation is important because it allows publishers to target specific groups of people with different advertisements. When this happens, the ads shown feel more personalized, which almost always leads to more views, clicks, and conversions. 
The sooner you deploy a segmented advertising strategy of your own, the better. And we can help! Contact us now to tap into our industry-leading platform that can give you access to a variety of innovative ad formats, as well as transparent reporting that you can use to optimize campaigns.