Brand Marketing for Mobile Games

Topics: Apps Customer Marketing / Sales Mobile Privacy

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The mobile gaming industry generated an estimated $77.2B of revenue in 2020, and is estimated to surpass the $100B mark by 2023. Interest in mobile gaming has also increased amidst the COVID 19 pandemic, with the industry recording a 12% increase in new players during 2020. However, this growth has further increased competition within mobile gaming, already a highly competitive space. Not only has the number of mobile games published each year continued to rise, but churn rates have become increasingly challenging: the retention rate of the average app declined by 12% in 2020.

The mobile gaming industry historically relied on performance-based marketing to generate positive return on investment. Performance-based models depend on user-level tracking that enables precise targeting, measurement, and optimization of marketing spend. Additionally, continuous improvements in the algorithms of ad partners has made targeting both more precise and more scalable: algorithms use hundreds of attributes to automatically select and target the most receptive audience.

This paper offers a playbook for mobile game developers to help them develop and sustain brand marketing for games using lessons gleaned from interviews with AAA game studios as well as primary research into the mobile and console game industries.

In close partnership with Google, CDS T’21 Fellows Emma Sapat, Hugo Naulot, and Will Maness interviewed major gaming studios and conducted in-depth research to assist mobile gaming studio efforts to develop and sustain brand marketing capabilities. The paper covers important topics, including:

  • What challenges are facing the mobile gaming industry?
  • How does brand-based marketing create new opportunities for mobile game studios?
  • How can studios build cohesive and valuable brands?
  • How can studios implement and measure brand-based marketing strategies?

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