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Growth and Monetization Report: Five insights to help you achieve scale for your mobile game

June 7, 2022 in Games | 8 min. read
Mobile Insights 2022: Growth and Monetization
Mobile Insights 2022: Growth and Monetization

Data backed insights to help grow your user base and effectively monetize your game.

It’s no simple task to attract a steady flow of new users to your game and monetize so you can keep funding your creations, but it is vital. 

While there are no guarantees or magic tricks, the formula to success is understanding what combination of development, user acquisition, and monetization strategies will work best for your game. Starting early and taking a data backed approach to understanding what strategies work best can save you from the inevitable trial and error when trying to achieve scale.

In our first mobile insights report, we dive into growth and monetization trends to offer guidance on how to approach topics like subgenre choices, soft launches, ad creative, monetization mixes, ad implementation, and even peer benchmarks. 

Read on to learn about five insights from our report, backed by unique Unity data, that will help support the future of your creation. 

  1. Plan early to improve chances of success
  2. Perfect your soft launch strategy for UA
  3. Sharpen your ad creatives
  4. Balance your IAA and IAP efforts
  5. Create placements that perform

1. Plan early to improve chances of success

Some genres and subgenres have higher concentrations of daily active users (DAU) than others and these could be an opportunity to capitalize on the popularity or lack of popularity of a style to get your game on a path to success faster.

Top subgenres in app stores by DAU

For example, we found that platform or runner style games have the highest percentage of DAU among casual game genres like action, adventure, arcade, and role-playing games (RPG). Within the action genre almost 30% of the DAU played runner style games.

Some game styles also completely dominate DAU for a genre; like how tabletop styles account for 98% of the users within board and word games.

2. Perfect your soft launch strategy for UA

Soft launches are one of the best ways to ensure your game starts off on strong ground, so we looked at components like the top locations, durations for launch depending on genre, and the best time of year for an effective soft launch.

Average duration of soft launches

Our data told us that publishers mostly look for countries that have a high volume of DAU and devices for a larger sample size, or countries whose primary language is English. This made Canada, Australia, and the Philippines top choices for publishers to soft launch in.

We also discovered that the average time for a soft launch to reach peak DAU is about 6.5 weeks. Hardcore genres like simulation, action, strategy, and racing, take less time at about four to seven weeks. While games that cater to a wider casual audience such as board, puzzle, and casual genres are slower, taking around 10 weeks to ramp up DAU.

3. Sharpen your ad creatives

Knowing where to advertise has tremendous value, but it can only be effective if your ad is made with quality content. There are a huge range of options for how to actually craft ads for your game, such as using voice-over, static images, reaction clips of real people, and using footage of gameplay. We looked at these characteristics and more to evaluate which ad creative characteristics generated the best results.

Top ad creative characteristics

For example, the data indicated that showing core gameplay in your creative generates better results with 86% of top-performing ads using this characteristic. 

Other characteristics like music volume (56% of top performers), text on screen (44% of top performers), and showing game success or prices (35% of top performers) all had higher click-through or conversion rates.

4. Balance your IAA and IAP efforts

Determining your balance between IAPs and ads is a major decision and we found indicators that may have an impact on how you should approach your monetization mix.

Average annual transactions

One interesting finding was that a maximum of 1% of DAU make in-app purchases. We also discovered that over 70% of total IAP revenue for games comes from the top 5% of players who pay. 

Among these payers, 50-65 transactions a year are made by high-value payers compared to only three to four for lower-value payers. What this tells us is that even among paying players, there is only a small portion of them that actually generate most of a game's IAP revenue. 

So we recommend when thinking about who to segment ads for, it should be a granular approach that considers which segments to monetize through IAP offers and which to monetize through ads rather than an ‘ads for all’ approach.

5. Create placements that perform

Choosing how to implement ads in your game can come with a lot of unknowns. There are creative questions on length, formatting, and timing along with where you place your ad and many more elements that trip up even veteran studios.

However it's important to note that players across game genres all behave differently which will determine the success of your monetization strategy.

Percentage of rewarded ad traffic vs. interstitial ad traffic vs. average weekly ads revenue

When we looked at when you should use rewarded videos, we found that rewarded ads are best suited for certain genres but not all. Role-playing and strategy games tend to generate more revenue from rewarded video ads. While genres like word, board, card, and puzzle games earn more revenue from interstitial ads.

Concerning other formats like playables they were the most effective in getting users to click through the fastest at an average of 16s after the ad appeared.

To determine when was the best time to show ads in your game, we looked at how long it was before the first ads were triggered in games. On average, the first interstitial and banner ads are seen at around five minutes after the user opens the app and the first rewarded video ad shows at around six minutes.

More insights to support your game's future

Achieving scale for user growth and monetization return is an important milestone for game developers. Succeeding at this means you’ll be well on your way to being able to acquire new users and monetize them reliably. Having a source of revenue to help fund your next creation or business plans is a great resource for any developer.

To learn more about the insights listed above, and dig much deeper into data backed recommendations on growth and monetization download the full report today.

June 7, 2022 in Games | 8 min. read