A Guide to Mobile Game Marketing

Mobile gaming is having an incredible year. Powered by changing demographics, developing markets, and locked-down masses flocking to casual gaming, mobile game revenues are set to reach $100 billion this year – surpassing console and PC. For marketers, mobile game marketing offers unique opportunities that require distinct strategies. Based upon Applift’s years of industry experience, we have collated our top performance marketing tips for mobile games.

Mobile Gaming’s Marketing Opportunities

In addition to its outstanding revenue, further evidence of mobile gaming’s ROI promise can be found in the collaborations and campaigns being launched across the sector.

The publishers behind classic video games are reaching out to mobile game developers to produce mobile versions of their fan favourites. Look no further than the upcoming Castlevania Moonlight Rhapsody or Crash Bandicoot: On the Run produced by the minds behind Candy Crush Saga and Temple Run.

Meanwhile, popular MMO franchises are embarking on bold, creative collaborations to bring new audiences to their mobile iterations, such as popular MMO Black Desert’s colab with Netflix show Cursed.

Why are these evergreens of gaming shifting resources and attention from their traditional platforms? The same reason that marketers looking to promote games and other products are switching to these channels – because they have seen mobile gaming’s huge potential for revenue and the relative ease by which it can be achieved.


Mobile provides marketers and developers with access to invaluable audience data, access to exclusive inventory sources, and the ability to scale at low cost-per-install (CPI).

Furthermore, when compared to other platforms, mobile’s streamlined gaming engines facilitate a simple set-up. This allows game developers to free up significant time and resources for creativity – an aspect which is of immense importance for gaming marketing campaigns. This extra budget and energy can then be used to design an unforgettable and hard-hitting creative campaign.

A Guide to Capitalizing on Mobile Gaming’s Performance Marketing Opportunities

These advantages, as well as the huge audiences that mobile games acquire, have not gone unnoticed. While set-up may be easy, distinguishing your marketing campaign from your competition is less so. It requires an efficient, performance-focused and creative marketing strategy.

Step 1) Preliminary Audience Research

For any campaign to be successful, comprehensive audience research must be performed. While traditional games are steadily diversifying their audiences, mobile gaming’s demographics were diverse from the get-go. 

In some regions and game genres, female gamers and older gamers outweigh their Gen X and millennial counterparts. You need to know exactly who your audience is before you launch your campaign. Fortunately, mobile advertising provides troves of data on which to base your research.

Step 2) Get Your Creatives Right

Creatives not only have a huge impact on CTRs (and consequently on CPIs) but also on the retention and engagement of players. It is crucial to test numerous variations (failing vs winning, formats, placements, etc.) to get the best performance possible while receiving indicators for changes that could be made to the game itself.

Creative testing provides valuable insight into the in-game impact of creatives on customer acquisition. Furthermore, creatives should be developed based on the channel that is running the campaign and tailored to the specific target audience. 

Step 3) Social Media

While consoles offer basic browser functionality, it is safe to say that there is not much console-to-social conversion; nor vice-versa. Mobile gaming grants a direct click-of-a-button link to social media platforms that can be used to maximize sharing and user acquisition.

Compiling data profiles based on information from both sources allows marketers to segment and personalize their ads. Social media integration enables a plethora of additional techniques, including AB testing and paid-social promotion that will give campaigns that extra boost.

Step 4) Cost-per-action Campaigns

While the earlier steps were largely focused on volume and awareness, it is at this point that marketers should start concentrating on the acquisition of high LTV users. Rather than overfocusing on the initial stages of the funnel with a cost-per-install (CPI) model, using cost-per-action (CPA) allows marketers to acquire loyal long-term users that will bring more overall value.

Extra Performance Marketing Tips for Mobile Games

  • Use video to make a splash and highlight the best features of your game or product. Take advantage of premium inventory slots so you can show-off to high-value customers.
  • Get creative in your user acquisition by taking advantage of mobile gaming’s interactive platform. Playable ads and in-game ads bring memorable new dimensions to any UA strategy.
  • Reward sharing on social media to encourage users to recommend your games to their communities and increase brand awareness.
  • Look to post-install actions so that you are able to analyze and optimize the strong and weak points in your funnel.
  • Localize your ads to ensure that they make the maximum impact in every country that you advertise in.
  • Be aware of seasonality to get the best ROAS. The Christmas spike means Q4 is traditionally the most expensive period for games marketing. Mobile game marketers need not target this holiday market and can postpone until the cheaper months of early Q1.
  • Be brave because while mobile gaming ads are not as saturated as other mediums, ad fatigue is beginning to creep in – creativity and memorability are needed to break through the noise.
  • Link to your store page rather than your landing page to increase your quality score. Increasing app store page conversion will also decrease cost-per-install (CPI) because more users who click ads will install the app.
  • Optimize CTR and use it as a comparative benchmark for campaign performance and an indicator of high-quality traffic.


Mobile game marketing provides unique advantages to promote games and other products. For expert assistance in launching these campaigns while the market is booming, get in touch with Applift.

Marcus Waters is based in Applift's HQ in Berlin and leads the Business Development team for Europe, India and MENA.