The mobile gaming market is huge. One-third of all mobile downloads in the world are games, and to top it off, 74% of all spending in the app store in 2018 came from mobile games.01
When you factor in that 10% of all time spent on mobile devices is given to gaming02, then it’s no surprise at all that gaming is the #1 most popular app category (at least in the Apple App Store, as of May 2019).03
Mobile game marketing - 74% of all consumer spending on the app store is from gaming apps
How does the industry market their apps so effectively that people choose to spend not just time, but money, buying games or in-app purchases? And what universal lessons can we learn from the mobile gaming market that we can use in our own brands?
Get Influencers Playing Your App
What better way to get in front of potential gamers than to use the influence of those who are already streaming their gaming sessions online? Or posting regular game reviews and walk-throughs? We’re talking, of course, about influencers in the industry — and in this case Twitch and YouTube streamers.
A prime example is Ninja, (born Richard Tyler Blevins), who rose to internet stardom thanks to his jaw-dropping gameplay videos and his exhaustive gaming tutorials on YouTube (22.4 million subscribers)04 and Twitch (14.6 million fans).05
A more down-to-earth example is FGTeeV, a fun, gaming family who regularly post videos that showcase the video games they like to play together — anything from the latest platform console games to the hottest mobile games. Sometimes their dad even sings rap songs… but still about video games, naturally. Their reach? 12.3 million viewers.06
Be Free-to-Play and Inspire User-Generated Content
We all know there’s nothing quite like having your mobile game achieve viral status. But that kind of thing happens once in a blue moon under the right kind of circumstances. So what kind of marketing can prime the pump so that your game gets talked about and shared online? Good old user-generated content.
A recent example of this was Fortnite: Battle Royale and its huge leap into the zeitgeist with its online dance challenges. Everyone from children to professional athletes were aping the dance moves in the game. And the game isn’t even about dancing! It’s a free-to-play shoot-’em-up with some creative elements that breathed life into what was originally a dying game.
Fortnite allows Colombia Phone Numbers List players to buy costumes for their avatars— as well as avatar dances. And this is the magic pixie dust: when a player kills another player, they can celebrate with these avatar dances (called “emotes”). Basically, they’re signature moves expressing victory, and can range from a simple fist bump to dancing the macarena on top of their vanquished opponent.
With more and more users playing the game (since it’s free), the dances started entering into the public consciousness. And pretty soon, people were taking videos of themselves doing the dance moves and calling it the Fortnite Dance Challenge.07
Suffice to say, developer Epic Games have turned their shooting game and those victory dances into $756,504 worth of daily revenue and approximately 13,926 daily installs.08
Make Things Cute, Easy… and Scarce!
With around 18,224 daily installs and a daily revenue estimate of $1,681,34109, Candy Crush Saga has dominated the mobile game market since it first entered the scene in 2012.
Their winning formula starts out with its game play. The game possesses a combination of cute, likeable graphics, easy game mechanics, and forced scarcity (only 5 lives) to create an addictive experience that leaves you begging for more (by literally sending requests to Facebook friends) or paying $0.99 cents to continue playing instead of waiting for the timer to reach zero. Either way, the developer wins.
Sending Facebook requests results in a constant stream of new users as well as engaged users who are eager to keep playing. And that flood of 99 cent in-app purchases? Revenue for the company.
Alongside shrewd psychological tricks to keep customers playing, the developer King.com also used influencer marketing as well as traditional marketing strategies like cross-promoting their game with other casual games and TV advertisements to promote their brand. End result: Candy Crush Saga continues to be a revenue-generating beast well after many of their copycats have withered and disappeared.
Mobile game marketing - how Candy Crush Saga grew to become a beast
From our infographic: The Psychology of Successful Mobile Apps
Pay Celebrities to Star in Big Budget Ads
Or you could go in an entirely different direction and pay celebrities to endorse your games — or maybe even star in an advertisement for your game.
One of the most memorable was Supercell’s 2015 Super Bowl commercial for their game Clash of Clans, which featured Liam Neeson and a bastardized version of his speech from the movie Taken.10
A similar foray was done by developer Machine Zone for Game of War: Fi