Mobile Games CPI in 2024: Trends and Insights to Boost ROI

Viola Zannarini
December 29, 2023
Mobile Games CPI in 2024: Trends and Insights to Boost ROI

2024 is knocking on our doors, and what better way to welcome it than to dive into the marketing strategy changes that will accompany developers from now on?

The traditional pursuit of download numbers is taking a back seat as a new frontier emerges, one where profitability and ROI are the stars guiding game developers through uncharted territory.

This leads to an increasing attention on understanding and optimizing CPIs, as a way to reduce costs and increase ROI.

This change reflects an industry-wide realization that the future of mobile gaming isn't just about how many downloads a game can gain, but rather how efficiently it can convert those downloads into engaged and monetizing players. 

Just in 2023, $82bln were involved in user acquisition budgets, and due to this shift, the number is bound to change in 2024.

Join us as we delve into this new approach, highlighting the significance of CPI in shaping the destiny of mobile games in 2024. 

What is CPI for Mobile Games

To better illustrate how CPIs are the new frontier of mobile game marketing, we have to clearly define what CPIs are.

Cost Per Install (CPI) is a crucial metric in mobile game marketing, representing the expense that developers have to pay for each install of their game on a user's device. 

CPI has become a central focus for developers as they switch from the conventional emphasis on quantity of downloads to cost and ROI optimization. 

This metric encapsulates not only the financial investment required to acquire users but also reflects a strategic shift towards a more sustainable and profitable approach. 

Tweaking and improving CPI rates, changing them to better suit the mobile game that they’re promoting, is exactly what marketers should focus on to boost efficiency and revenues.

What will Influence Mobile Games CPI in 2024

Marketers have to carefully be aware of the several dimensions that influence CPIs and shape the success of user acquisition strategies.

  • Audience: Identifying and targeting the right audience is fundamental. Different demographics may have varying acquisition costs, so tailoring marketing efforts to specific user segments can impact CPI.

  • Location: CPI can also vary significantly based on the geographical location of the target audience. Factors such as regional demand, competition, and economic conditions play a role in determining acquisition costs.

  • Creatives: The effectiveness of ad creatives and the clarity of messaging in marketing materials are vital. Compelling visuals, engaging content, and a clear call-to-action can positively influence conversion rates and reduce CPI.

  • Platform: The choice of platforms (iOS or Android) and devices can impact CPI. Development and marketing strategies should consider the preferences and behaviors of users on specific platforms and devices.

  • Monetization and LTV: Furthermore, the selected monetization model and consideration of the lifetime value of users are essential factors, as mobile games with a well-defined and attractive monetization strategy may be willing to spend more on user acquisition.

By considering and optimizing these dimensions, mobile game developers can strategically manage CPI, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of their 2024’s user acquisition efforts.

Mobile Games CPI and Geolocalization in 2024

As mentioned before, geolocalization is a crucial factor when determining the right CPI for your mobile game UA strategy in 2024.

Each country has its economic and sociopolitical conditions that marketers need to take into consideration if they want to optimize ROI and reduce costs.

We can determine three geographical regions, characterized by similar financial aspects.

Top tier countries like the US and Canada usually have high CPI, which can even be higher than $3, as the mobile game market here is more competitive and larger budgets need to be employed.

Following right after, Central Europe has similar CPI rates to the countries mentioned above. This means that to remain competitive, a careful allocation strategy must be crafted.

Lastly, countries in Asia and Africa usually display lower CPIs, which is almast always lower than $1, making them an attractive market for advertisers seeking cost-effective user acquisition. This could be due to the less competitive and developing mobile game market.

It's vital for advertisers to be aware of the differences in CPI between countries so that they can tailor their marketing strategies accordingly. 

By taking into account regional differences in user behavior, market saturation and competition, they can make sure they are getting the most out of their app marketing budgets and see successful results.

CPI by Mobile Game Category: What Changes in 2024

When drawing up the perfect marketing strategy for 2024, the category of the mobile game that is the subject of the campaign is significant when determining CPI rates.

Different game types attract distinct audiences, and the competitiveness within each category influences acquisition costs. 

Hypercasual and Puzzle mobile games, which are characterized by simple mechanics and broad appeal, usually have lower CPIs. The wide audience leads to a more cost-effective user acquisition environment, but the challenge lies in retaining users, as the casual mobile games audience is more transien.

Games that require more engagement and strategic thinking, like Simulation or RPG games, may have higher CPIs. These games often target a more niche audience, leading to increased competition for acquiring users interested in this genre.

Multiplayer and Battle Royale Games have higher CPIs due to the competitive nature of the genre and the need for a critical mass of players for a satisfying gaming experience.

In some cases, the category of the game is irrelevant when determining mobile game CPI. For example Sports and Racing Games often attract a diverse audience, and CPI can vary based on the realism, graphics, and competitiveness within the sports or racing genre. High-quality graphics and realistic gameplay may contribute to higher acquisition costs.

Game developers should carefully analyze and adapt their user acquisition strategies based on the unique dynamics of their chosen game category to achieve in 2024 a balance between cost-effectiveness and reaching the right audience.

Choose the Right Platform to Ace the CPI for Mobile Games in 2024

One final consideration concerns the platform choice. CPI for mobile games can vary between iOS and Android platforms due to several factors inherent to each ecosystem. 

Historically, iOS CPIs tend to be higher than Android CPIs. This is often attributed to the perceived higher spending power of iOS users and the rigorous app review process on the Apple App Store. 

Furthermore, the stringent privacy regulations implemented by Apple have resulted in limited accessibility to targeting data, contributing to a higher CPI rate for mobile games on iOS.

Conversely, Android, with its larger user base globally, may offer lower CPIs. 

The diverse Android ecosystem includes a wide range of devices and users with varying engagement levels in mobile games, influencing acquisition costs. 

However, the Android market can also be more fragmented, making it challenging to optimize campaigns for the myriad of devices and screen sizes.

In 2023 Android budgets stayed relatively similar, while iOS increased 3%, with both showing a 8% decrease as the end of the year was approaching.

A balanced approach may involve allocating resources based on the specific strengths and challenges posed by both iOS and Android, ultimately maximizing the overall effectiveness of the CPI strategy for mobile games.

A Focus on Mobile Game CPI in 2024

The mobile game marketing world in 2024 will undergo a transformative shift that puts an emphasis on CPI, which is emerging as the guiding star for developers. 

Marketers are branching out and exploring uncharted territory by focusing on getting the most out of their CPIs, understanding how to make their downloads into engaged and money-making players. 

It's not all about the number of downloads anymore, but it's about what you do with the users you get. 

As we head into 2024, it's time to look at this new approach to mobile gaming and see how CPI plays a big part in its success. 

It's a new era of marketing strategy and we're excited to see what it brings!