The State Of Mobile Games in 2022

Mapendo Team
May 10, 2022
The State Of Mobile Games in 2022

Download our free guide to app install campaigns here to learn the best practices for scaling your app with high-quality users

With Mobile games now making up nearly a quarter of all iOS App Store apps, this industry is booming. Follow us as we delve into the nitty gritty of the mobile game industry and learn what it takes to create a successful mobile user acquisition target your star gamers.

Key points:

  • The impact of iOS 14 on mobile games
  • Strategies every mobile games marketer needs (for their mobile user acquisition strategy)
  • Creative best practices to convert mobile gamers into payers

Mobile games industry trends

In 2021, the global mobile game’s market was worth $135.9 billion and this is projected to reach an astonishing $169.7 billion in 2025. This phenomenal growth is why we all need to be paying attention to the mobile games sector and the role of  paid user acquisition.

The market is forever evolving, here we look at two emerging trends from the last year :

Games category 

Hyper casual games are redesigning the future of mobile gaming. This genre of games are any apps with simple mechanics, are usually free to play, and involve very little design (the viral FlappyBird always comes to mind). They are simple to play and can be quite addictive. As of the beginning of 2022 Casual Games stands for 80% of all mobile games downloads and 35% of In-App Purchases. 

Asia Pacific comes out on top

The Statistic report also highlights that the Asia Pacific region makes up almost half of the games market revenue worldwide, with gaming giants from this region, especially China, displaying huge revenues. It is reported that China not only dominates the Asia Pacific, but it is also the world's leading gaming market in terms of revenue, surpassing the United States

The impact of iOS 14 on mobile games

Apple’s new privacy rules reshaped the mobile games industry as we know it. Its restrictions to IDFA tracking made us all enter a new privacy-centric era, meaning marketers had to reshape the way they target users i.e.their paid user acquisition strategy.

When a user opts to hide their IDFA, advertisers are unable to automatically trace their ad clicks, which would have originally been the way to determine the attribution. In December 2021, mobile-measurement company AppsFlyer broke down opt-in rates by app category, finding that most categories in the United States hovered around the 40% opt-in mark.

This statistics shows that while there still remains those who opt in to ad tracking, the larger percentage of users don't, something that restricts mobile games marketers from optimizing their paid UA strategies and knowing exactly which impressions led to a desired action.

This ‘post-IDFA’ world has new rules, which are simple to understand but hard to execute if you don't have the correct tools. The key is to estimate with confident accuracy what the touch points between a user and a product are (aka which steps led to users downloading the mobile games app). 

When users began opting out of displaying their IDFA this certainly threw a spanner in the works for data driven gaming marketers, who now had to grapple with the implications that this would have on their mobile user acquisition strategy. In that instance mobile games marketers need to find a way to still optimize their app install campaigns without relying on IDFA, and this is precisely where probabilistic attribution comes into play. Probabilistic attribution is a type of mobile attribution that is based on probabilities rather than IDFA, meaning that it is perfectly compatible with Apple's recent iOS 14 updates and respectful of user’s privacy. It is based on patterns and uses machine learning to detect probable conversions, 

Strategies every mobile games marketer must follow

While many would consider having the ‘coolest’ and ‘most popular’ game to be the most important things that drives users to your mobile game, what happens beneath the surface is arguably as important, if not more, for a successful paid user acquisition strategy. 

Only a small proportion of mobile games are deemed financially successful, meaning your mobile user acquisition strategy is quite literally make or break for the survival of your mobile game.

Acquiring engaged and high-value players is exceedingly difficult following Apple’s privacy centric updates as well as the fierce competition in the mobile games market. In order to help you navigate this maze and reach your target users we have outlined 3 key tips to follow in order to optimize your paid user acquisition:

To learn more about user acquisition for mobile games, take a look at our free guide to programmatic advertising here!

Mapendo 3 Tips for driving player engagement for mobile games

  1. Target The Ideal Audience For Your mobile game App

First and foremost, you must identify your target audience in order to effectively communicate with them via your creatives and paid user acquisition activities. Every effective mobile user acquisition strategy begins with determining who your ideal mobile games users are. 

  1. Know Your KPIs And Metrics

Proper tracking of mobile games specific metrics and KPIs are absolutely critical. The first important metric is installs. The mobile games industry is a volume-driven industry. That means you'll only be able to make money off your mobile game if you can attract a large user base, something to keep in mind for your paid user acquisition strategy. Post install events are determined by the specific nature of the mobile game, however LTV (LifeTime Value) and ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) are always useful metrics to follow closely so as to assess the quality of your users and how much money they are spending in-app.

  1. Optimize your paid user acquisition with Relevant Post-Install Events

You'll be able to keep track of every post-install event generated by new users if you set up the right integration with MMPs (Mobile Measurement Partners) and marketing partners. Common examples of Post install events for mobile games are completing registration, watching an in-app advertisement, purchasing an in-app item, or progressing to the next game level.

Creative best practices to convert mobile gamers into payers

When outlining your mobile user acquisition strategy, creatives deserve a lot of attention. They are the first thing the user sees, making it a huge factor in motivating mobile gamers to install your app.

Choosing your creatives depends on the mobile game’s goals and the data that can be gathered from your app install campaign. Playable ads are popular mobile game creatives as they provide users with a preview of the game, offering them the chance to play a really small portion of the game. They are shown to be highly effective at acquiring users specifically for mobile games. Additionally, the following two practises are fool proof ways to get your money’s worth out of your paid user acquisition: 

  1. Creative rotation is the practice of rotating different ads within an ad group in order not to show the same creative for an extended period of time. One of the best things about paid user acquisition strategy is that you can monitor the results brought by the different ads and measure which one was the most effective in driving installs. Read more here.

  1. Creative A/B testing involves running two different campaigns simultaneously and comparing the results. The goal is to figure out which one performs better in terms of driving conversions in a mobile app campaign. With this paid user acquisition strategy You have the option of observing and analyzing numerous metrics such as conversion rates, ad spend, ROAS. Read more here.

These two creative approaches provide a solid starting point for successful mobile user acquisition.  But remember to always keep testing to find the right balance between audiences, which will ultimately identify the right install triggers.


With its quarter on quarter growth the mobile games industry is on course to reach $155.7 billion by 2023, a 25% increase in just two years. To stay in the game you need to create a mobile user acquisition strategy with the strongest hand, and we believe if you follow these key 3 points you will have the best hand in the game.