Mobile Games Advertising: How Operating System and Geolocation Affect Mobile Games ROI

Giulia Zonno
November 29, 2023
Mobile Games Advertising: How Operating System and Geolocation Affect Mobile Games ROI

In the dynamic and extremely competitive context of the mobile games industry, where millions of users worldwide engage in diverse mobile game apps, developers must constantly track and assess the results of their games advertising and investment

ROI for mobile games is a critical metric that allows you to assess the efficiency of your advertising games and that hinges on various factors. Among the most important, we can identify the operating systems and the geolocation. Understanding how these two elements influence ROI is essential. 

Moreover, in addition to ROI, there are other factors that we must take into consideration when developing our app marketing strategy, such as costs (CPI and/or CPA) and ad formats. We covered these topics more thoroughly in our latest report. 

As mobile games developers seek to make the most of this massive market, they must strategically consider the impact that operating systems and geolocation have on the success of their games advertising and, consequently, on the financial success of their mobile game apps

In this article, we will also present some useful insights and data that can help developers make informed decisions and allocate their budgets more efficiently.

What is ROI in Mobile App Marketing

ROI (Return on Investment) is perhaps the most important KPI that must be monitored, as it indicates the profitability of your mobile game advertising. It is the measure of the financial success and efficiency of an investment in promoting and acquiring users for a mobile game app. 

Measuring and optimizing ROI in mobile app marketing is essential for app developers and marketers to allocate resources effectively, refine strategies,and ensure sustainable growth and success in the competitive mobile app industry.

The calculation of ROI involves comparing the gains or benefits generated from the marketing investment against the actual costs incurred. Specifically within mobile games advertising, gains or benefits are the revenues generated by new users inside the app, while the costs are those incurred to acquire such users.  

The Weight of Operating Systems on Mobile Games ROI

Choosing the right operating system to target is a crucial decision that directly impacts a mobile game’s potential user base and market share. The dichotomy between Android and iOS remains central to this consideration, each coming with its unique characteristics and its financial implications

The ROI is generally not the same for an Android mobile game app and for an iOS mobile game app. This is due to several factors and intrinsic differences between the two that mobile game developers and marketers must always take into account. 

The greatest difference between Google Play Store and Apple Store is that all mobile game apps, but all applications in general, are strictly checked by Apple: the app must meet specific requirements and guidelines for apps by Apple, which guarantees high-quality products.

Android, on the other hand, does not have such a rigorous app review process and, therefore, fake apps regularly appear in the Google Play Store. But as the demand for iOS apps is lower than for Android, the iOS development process is longer and more expensive. 

Another difference between the two is that Android’s open ecosystem attracts a diverse and larger potential audience for their mobile games. Conversely, the iOS ecosystem is a closed one; however, iOS users often show a higher purchasing power, rendering it a potentially more profitable market. 

It is more frequent to find paid games on iOS rather than on Android. Android mobile game apps, on the contrary, are usually free-to-download and their monetization relies more heavily on games advertising embedded in them. 

As a consequence, the cost for targeting iOS mobile games’ users will be elevated; while the expenses needed for Android’s games advertising will be significantly lower

Careful analysis of these trends is crucial for developers to tailor their games advertising and monetization strategies effectively, ensuring alignment with the spending patterns of their target audience on the chosen platform. 

Geolocation Criterion: Influencing Mobile Games ROI

Another factor that can determine your mobile games ROI is represented by geolocation. As in the case of operating systems, also geographical locations often reflect economic disparities, influencing the purchasing power of users. 

Moreover, mobile games’ success transcends borders, thus an understanding of cultural preferences is needed: through geolocation data you can efficiently tailor your games advertising and mobile game content, features, or design to the user’s culture, language, or preferences, such as currency, units, format, or style. 

Developers, then, must carefully conduct market research in order to adjust their games advertising and pricing models (as for example CPI and CPA)  according to local economic conditions. Implementing region-specific pricing not only attracts a larger user base, but also allows developers to strike the right balance between affordability and profitability. 

Thus, geolocation plays a central role in targeted advertising games, user acquisition and user experience, influencing the success of your games advertising and your ROI.  

More specifically, we can make a distinction between tier-1 nations and lower-tier countries. 

Tier-1 nations, such as North America or Central Europe, are those characterized by highly competitive and diverse markets, leading to higher games advertising expenses. As a result, they may involve a significant initial budget allocation, however the likelihood of generating revenue is higher when compared to targeting other global regions. 

On the contrary, opting for lower-tier countries may provide initial cost-effectiveness, but it comes with diminished revenue potential. 

Let's Have a Look at Some Data: Mobile Games ROI by Operating System and Country

In light of what has been said so far, we shouldn’t be surprised by these numbers. Indeed, these data - representing percentages - confirm the financial differences between iOS and Android that we have described. 

iOS with 156.45% of ROI proves to be the source of a higher revenue when compared to Android’s 120.25% of ROI. 

As we have seen, this difference in terms of ROI between Android and iOS mobile games is due to the fact that - despite higher costs of game advertising - iOS users are usually linked to higher incomes and greater purchasing power, making it a potentially more lucrative and cost-effective market. 

Instead, the following numbers below show how mobile games ROI varies according to the country

On top of the standing, with 251% of ROI, we find Canada, followed right after by Germany, with 214% of ROI. These data indicate a higher level of competitiveness and games advertising costs within these countries' markets, where marketers might have to allocate larger budgets.  

Next, the United States and the United Kingdom show relatively close ROI, with just a 3% difference between the two. 

Lastly, we have Spain and France with 136% and 128% of ROI respectively. Compared to the others, these two countries might require a smaller budget for their games advertising, providing initial cost-effectiveness, but with reduced revenue potential. 

This ROI variation is also determined by the differences in terms of costs that exist among different countries

Final Thoughts 

ROI lies at the core of a mobile game’s success for their developers who must be aware of the fact that their Return On Investment can be significantly influenced by certain factors. In this article we have dealt with the most important ones, that are Operating Systems and Geolocation. To sum up: 

  • As regards operating systems, both iOS costs and revenues of their mobile games and games advertising result to be higher compared to Android. 
  • In terms of geolocation, we made a distinction between tier-1 nations - where we have higher games advertising expenses but also higher ROIs - and lower-tier countries, which may show initial cost-effectiveness, but a reduced revenue potential. 

It’s important to recognize that these factors are consistently interconnected and constantly interacting among them, in order to make the most out of them!