Over the last two years, the mobile games industry has seen a surprising gaming boom stemming from the pandemic. However, it is not all smooth sailing. Despite 2022 seeing an average consumer’s time spent for a total of 5 hours per day and a YoY (Year-over-year) of 3% - recent macro-conditions and unpredictable contextual factors did impact the market.
The Ukraine war compromised the European economy and the gaming market while inflation harmed consumers’ possibility to spend. Moreover, post-Covid reality gave rise to a digital cooldown due to a drop in installs, costs, and revenues generated by the return to real-life levels. Finally, the release of iOS 14 in 2020 and the measurement limitations that followed regarding targeting operations presented a serious challenge to marketers in need of innovative strategies to re-adapt to a new privacy-oriented landscape.
Despite all these hurdles, mobile games still represent a field that keeps dominating the entertainment industry generating $184.8B with a consumer base spending nearly $ 90B spent on mobile game downloads.
The purpose of this article is to illustrate the most relevant trends that marketers and app developers cannot but follow to win the competition and stand out in the market.
Heading Towards 2023: Mobile Games Trends
The following section will briefly describe the most important trends and tendencies based on the latest Appsflyer report as regards specific categories in the mobile games app market. Despite both a steep rise in Casino games and the impact of Google’s ban on interstitials ads, hyper-casual games remain the number one game genre on a global level, registering 17.5B downloads in 2022. On the other hand, simulations, and puzzle games respectively stand for the second and third slots.
Google’s ban on interstitial ads had a negative effect in many countries, which simply tells us that marketers cannot stop adjusting to an ever-changing environment. Even so, CPI saw a cooling down for hyper-casual games in iOS.
Interestingly, in India, there has been a 32% YoY (year-over-year) in hyper-casual games’ installs on Android. All in all, the hyper-casual games field seems to be a strategic terrain in which to invest and explore.
Casino games had a remarkable uplift on iOS, clocking an impressive 17%, emerging as real winners on Android with a 48% YoY growth, especially in India, Brazil, and Turkey, but still faring well in the US with a loyal player base.
Simulations are immersive games – e.g., Animal Crossing - that saw a steep rise in paid installs by 33%. Both their eager user base and the mobile games’ value keep growing.
According to the results, India appears to be one of the most attractive areas in 2023 where to invest in as far as puzzle games are concerned. In fact, India’s CPI remained under the $ 0.1 value over the period 2021-2022. Generally, both on iOS and on Android, 2022 witnessed a rise in ad spend respectively at 37% and 52%.
App Promotion Strategies to Hit the Mobile Games Market in 2023
Based on what we have underlined above, we can sum up a few tips and tricks on the best ways to prepare for 2023 challenges in the mobile games market. Here below:
- Try to understand the complexity of SKAN 4 to invest in your platform and adjust your paid campaign accordingly.
- Despite a decline in remarketing in iOS due to the privacy overturn, keep investing in it! Remarketing is still alive, especially on Android where it has registered a solid 22% YoY growth.
- Regarding creatives, short-form videos are growing popular, mostly on social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. By providing tighter windows, short-form videos will force marketers to condense messages, which turns out to be perfect for 2023 where the attention threshold is predicted to be lower and lower.
- Avail yourself of AI at the forefront for powering your creatives’ team potential.
- As a result of the economic downturn, app developers will struggle to monetize only relying on in-app purchases. They should opt for new monetization tools such as player ownership – where players play for free and own the assets they purchase - and mixed monetization methods based on in-app ads.
Taken all in consideration, if marketers know how to adapt to the new digital landscape, they will open up to a challenging but still promising 2023 and stand out in the mobile games industry.