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What Brands Can Learn From the Best Mobile Game Marketing Plans: What Mobile Games Get Right About App Marketing

Matt Kaplan
Matt Kaplan
Content Strategist
5 min read
Posted on June 20, 2019
What Brands Can Learn From the Best Mobile Game Marketing Plans: What Mobile Games Get Right About App Marketing

Brands can learn quite a lot from the best mobile game marketing plans. Mobile gaming companies have mastered mobile marketing, and brands have a lot to learn from them. Game developers and publishers have become pros at in-app marketing and advertising, and as major brands begin releasing their own mobile apps, they have much to learn from the mobile gaming space.

What Do Mobile Games Get Right About App Marketing?

  • Most game devs are both publishers and advertisers, at once. Being a two-sided player means they understand the system better than anyone else.
  • Their aim is to maximize user lifetime value (LTV). They do this by focusing on (a) driving retention (b) acquisition ads and (c) increasing in-app purchases.
  • You can only do the above if you invest deeply into things like user/LTV modeling, A/B testing frameworks, custom bidders, etc., which enable you to get those insights / learnings that are more nuanced and not really apparent to most, much faster.

In particular, here are six other things that mobile gaming publishers and marketers do really well that brand marketers should emulate.

1) Don’t Let Preconceptions Affect How You Create Your Target Audience Segments

For many brands, it’s easy to assume that the target audience they’ve been marketing to via TV ads or other legacy channels for decades should be the same people they should be marketing to within mobile. But this assumption doesn’t always hold true, especially within the mobile realm.

This is something mobile game developers know all too well. While the market for console and computer games may fall along certain demographics, those playing mobile games often look very different.

Let’s say you just developed a new game. Who would you promote your game to? According to data cited by the Mobile Marketing Association, the majority of mobile gamers are female. And, over half (56% to be precise) of mobile gamers are between the ages of 35 and 64. If you were to be marketing your mobile game to male teenagers, then you may not see a lot of success.

“They’ve traditionally served a younger demographic, but games now have highly engaged audiences across a wide range of ages,” said Yoram Wurmser, principal analyst at eMarketer.

Further, while one way to create segments is on demographics (geography, gender, etc.) and supply parameters (such as operating system, handset, etc.), another very important way to segment audiences is based on user interactions on the app. This is a critical point to keep in mind in any app marketing strategy

It’s critical to use data throughout your marketing efforts to determine who precisely is most interested in your app. It’s entirely possible that the market for your brand’s mobile app is different than your offline target audience or even within desktop/laptop environments. Make sure your apps develop their own detailed consumer analyses.

Be sure to dive into InMobi Audiences to fuel campaign performance with laser-focused targeting, as InMobi Audiences harnesses the power of unique, always-on segments to help you engage and activate your best customers.


2) Include Remarketing in Your Mobile App Marketing Strategy

Churn is highly prevalent in the mobile app space. According to Adjust, apps are typically deleted between five to six days after they were last used. In fact, Tune has found that around 30% of all app downloads are actually redownloads.

For all mobile app marketers, retargeting and remarketing are musts. This is something the mobile gaming space has learned all too well.

But, it’s a problem that can be effectively addressed. For example, avatar-based mobile game IMVU used InMobi retargeting as part of a larger effort that helped increase revenue 279%. By running ads in other apps targeting former users and enticing them to come back to IMVU in exchange for free credits, they were able to boost retention considerably and fight churn effectively.

Mobile games have proved particularly adept at remarketing because they like to own any data that's generated and reuse it to maximize ROI. Through owned insights, boosting retention and increasing user acquisition becomes easier and more streamlined.

3) Leverage Interactive Video Ads in Your Marketing Campaigns

So what kinds of ads work best from an engagement and user acquisition perspective? How can brands use mobile advertising to help convince potential consumers to become active users over the long term?

In mobile gaming, the answer to these questions has largely been interactive video ads like rewarded ads and playable ads. By incentivizing users to discover more and by providing interactivity, these types of ad formats are hugely successful for marketers. They’re also among the most preferred ad creative formats among a wide variety of mobile gamers.

How can brand advertisers apply this logic to their own campaign? Mobile is unique in that it provides a wide variety of interactive options to all ad formats, including video. As one example of this in action, consider this video ad for a hit movie. Not only does this ad have just about all of the hallmarks of good creative, but it also provides many interactive next steps to viewers, including the option to buy movie tickets online from a mobile-friendly landing page.

Download our research report on The Present and Future of Mobile Video Advertising to learn more about how mobile video advertising is growing and evolving.


4) Understand the Increasing Difficulties That Exist Now When Promoting Your Mobile App

It’s important to have no pretensions at all about mobile in-app marketing, as it can sometimes be more difficult than expected to meet key goals. Increased user acquisition and overall marketing costs are two of the top concerns among mobile gaming publishers and developers.

What does this mean for brands? It’s not that they should abandon mobile app marketing - far from it, as the space is just too popular. Rather, it’s important to not let mobile become an afterthought. Top brands should spend just as much time and energy on mobile app marketing as they do on other marketing plans and channels.

Once you have reached a saturation point in terms of reach and downloads, it becomes more and more difficult to acquire new user and still have low churn. How have mobile game developers solved this problem? Many have employed a cross-promotion strategy. Say the studio has two casual games, A and B; they then promote game B to users of Game A via multiple channels.

5) Develop a Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy

Mobile is not one thing, but many things. As mobile games well know, a multi-pronged mobile marketing strategy is needed in order to see success today.

What kinds of channels are most frequently leveraged? One of the increasingly common ones is search engine optimization within app store pages. According to App Annie’s 2019 State of Mobile report, 65% of all app downloads from the iOS App Store came from search results. By writing an optimized game description and cultivating positive game reviews, among other key steps, mobile gaming apps can ensure they are being found in the app stores.

This is far from the only marketing tactic that mobile gaming apps use now that brands marketing their own apps should use. Running brand and performance ad campaigns, using press kits to get media attention and having robust owned social media channels are just some of the other common, effective mobile marketing strategies available to app developers and publishers.

For more information and insights, be sure to check out our blog post on How to Craft the Perfect Mobile App Marketing Strategy.


6) Have a Coordinated Marketing Strategy At All Stages of the Customer Journey

Marketing has long been defined by the funnel model. But as Google has shown, digital and mobile channels have by and large done away with these traditional distinctions. Good mobile app marketers know that the distinctions that once separated brand and performance marketing are starting to blur. The best mobile games are good about ensuring proper coordination among all of their marketing strategies and tactics, and brands entering the app space should be good about this too.

What else can brands learn from mobile gaming publishers? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or on social media; you can find us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

About The Author:

Matthew Kaplan has over a decade of digital marketing experience, supporting the content goals of the world’s biggest B2B and B2C brands. He is a passionate app user and evangelist, working to support diverse marketing campaigns across devices.

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