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Chapter 1:

How a Mobile Game Marketing Agency Works

The approach to mobile game marketing at Udonis is based on an eight-step process.

Research

Once we get a mobile game to market, we do research that includes everything from exploring the game features to competitor analysis and insights into advertising trends.

Brainstorming

We then come up with ideas about all the ways we can market the game based on the research we’ve done.

Strategy Development

Then, the ideas with the greatest potential are used to develop a strategic approach that will allow us to maximize ad performance.

Creative Production

After the strategy has been developed, our creative team starts working on the creatives, turning ideas into reality.

Media Buying

Media buyers take the creatives and form advertising campaigns geared towards the goals we determined in our strategy.

Data Analysis

When the ads go through the learning phase, we take the data, analyze it, and find room for improvement.

Optimization

In the optimization phase, we use the analyses we’ve done to improve ad performance, shut down the ads that don’t work, and get feedback that will give us better results in the next cycle.

Repeat

The whole cycle starts again, and we go through it with more data, experience, and new creative ideas, ensuring better results in each cycle we do.

This simple process has allowed us to become an industry-leading mobile game marketing agency, and you can use it as a general guideline for your mobile game startup.

Keep reading to learn more about the mobile game industry, and find out how to acquire more users for your mobile game.

Chapter 2:

Gaming Goes Mobile

One in every three downloads on the app stores are mobile games.

That’s why all game developers out there are trying to get as many downloads for their mobile games as possible. This can be hard in the highly-competitive market saturated with hundreds of thousands of mobile games.

That’s why we use mobile game ads.

Mobile game ads are the #1 way to get more installs and grow the user base for your mobile game.

We’ve put together this guide and decided to teach you all the basics you need to know about mobile game ads.

Chapter 3:

How Big is the Mobile Game Market?

Today’s massive mobile gaming empire all started back in 1994 with a timeless classic - Tetris, the first game to be played on a mobile device in history. This once humble industry has grown into a gaming powerhouse, earning as much $68.5 billion in 2019. That’s 45% of the total revenue accumulated in the global gaming market. That number has been increasing year over year and should go up by nearly 12% in 2020. That would push mobile gaming over the threshold of 50%. That means more than half of the revenue in the global gaming industry would be coming from mobile games.

Chapter 4:

Who’s Playing Mobile Games?

The short answer - everyone.

Mobile games became really popular, and nearly everyone who has a smartphone plays mobile games. Google carried out a study and discovered that there are three types of mobile gamers.

Casual Gamers

Play to relax. Love games that don’t take up much space. Would watch a video ad for in-game benefits

Strategy Gamers

Play to challenge themselves. Love competitive games with large player bases. Would pay for enhanced weapons and skills.

Fantasy Gamers

Play to escape their world. Love games that let them look different. Would pay for rare or exclusive characters or accessories.

All play to pass the time.

That’s the essence. All gamers play games to entertain themselves and pass the time. In a few years, mobile games might as well replace watching TV as the most popular pastime activity.

You can find more info on gamer demographics here.

Chapter 5:

Mobile Game Genres

You can learn more about mobile game genres in our comprehensive guides.

Chapter 6:

What Makes a Good Mobile Game?

Gameplay

Gameplay will be the thing that makes or breaks your game. It’s one of the first things that will make people who downloaded your game decide if they are going to uninstall it or not. It includes everything, from graphics to controls.

Put a lot of effort into making the game visually appealing and keeping in-game mechanics as simple as possible.

Naturally, these things differ from genre to genre but the rule is - pretty and simple.

Story

People love good storytelling.

Even the most successful casual games have some sort of storytelling. Take Angry Birds as an example. The concept of the game is no different than in hundreds of other games, but it has a good story about the birds, the pigs and the conflict between them.

Think of a story that will give life to your game and pull people in.

Game Design

Set up your game so it achieves flow and gets people in the zone. This means making your game easy at the start and increasing difficulty as the game progresses.

Good flow = high retention rate.

People will feel good about being able to complete the tasks that keep getting more difficult, and hence, keep playing.

You can achieve the same effect by adding unlockable content, achievements and similar things. Also, keeping levels short can help achieve flow because people tend to lose interest on lengthy levels.

Monetization

The game has to be financially self-sustaining, but it also needs to be profitable. Here are a few ways to monetize your app:

In-game purchases

Create an in-game currency player can buy and exchange for other in-game benefits. This can be anything, from player skins to extra lives.

In-game ads

Launch ads in your game to earn additional revenue. Don’t go overboard with ads and keep them relevant. Failing to do this can turn away many users.

Premium versions

Offer premium accounts for your game. These include features that aren’t available for players who use the free version. Don’t make premium accounts vastly superior to free accounts, this will turn away the free users as well. Learn more about monetization on our blog.

Advertising

Advertising is the key to making a good mobile game because advertising acquires users.

Yes, there are other organic ways for growing a user base, but they take months, even years, to get traction.

Paid advertising promotes new games and acquires users quickly and efficiently if done properly. We’ll share our tips on how to get more downloads later.

Chapter 7:

How to Test Your New Mobile Game?

“I published my game, now what?“ - Game Studio Owner

After publishing your game, it’s important to find out how it’s doing in the real world. Don’t rely on your friends or a small group on Facebook or Reddit to give you the feedback you need.

You gave to get your game out there, among real players.

This is the time to advertise on platforms like Facebook or Google. You’ve probably already thought about your target audience and where to find them. This is the right time to target them and show them your game.
The best way to go ahead with this is to do a soft launch.

Soft Launch

What’s a Soft Launch?

A soft launch means releasing your mobile game to your target audience to get initial data and feedback.

You’ll collect basic info like CPI (cost per install), retention rate, DAU (daily active users), etc, in real-life conditions.

You’ll also collect user feedback on the game design itself. You can encourage users to leave reviews or even put together a questionnaire and ask them to fill it out in the game.

How to Soft Launch?

1. Do market research

2. Define your audience

3. Choose countries for the soft launch

4. Know what you want to test

5. Choose a monetization strategy

6. Test your marketing strategy



You can read more about these steps on our blog.

How to Spot a Good Game?

Just like any other industry, mobile gaming has its standards. These tell us if a certain mobile game lives up to criteria all decent games fulfill.

Your soft launch data should help you decide if your game is good or not. We’ll look at CPI, ARPU, and retention rates as main metrics that can help you see where your game stands.

CPI

Cost per install shows you how much it costs to get an install in your advertising campaign. It’s calculated by dividing the ad spend by the number of installs you got in a certain period of time.

According to Adjust, the mobile gaming industry standard for CPI at the end of 2019 was $1.22. Of course, CPI varies depending on many things, but this is an overall industry average.

ARPU

Average revenue per user shows you how much revenue you made on a single user in a certain period of time. It’s calculated by dividing the total revenue made within a certain period by the total number of users you had.

You should go for at least $0.04 average revenue per daily active user. The value varies significantly, depending on the genre. Some genres have an average revenue per daily active user that goes over $0.30.

Retention Rate

Retention rate shows how many users are still using an app after a certain period of time after installing it. Take the number of users that remained at the end of a certain period (without taking into account the users acquired in that time) and divide it by the number of users an app had at the beginning of that period. Multiply that number by 100. That’s your retention rate.

According to Adjust, the mobile gaming industry benchmark for retention rates is 29.76% at day 1, 14% at day 7, and 6.63 % at day 28. The longer you go, the shorter retention rates get.

You can learn more about retention rates in our free Retention Rate Optimization ebook.

Other metrics like average session length, stickiness, and conversions can also give you a good idea of where you stand. You can read more about those here.

The important thing is not to stick to a failed project just because you invested time in it. Make data-driven decisions. If you see that your numbers heavily deviate from industry standards, it’s maybe best to take up a new project.

If some parameters are good, and some aren’t - there’s room for improvement. Find ways to boost your metrics and make your game successful.

And if your game meets the industry standards, it’s time for the next step. Acquiring users.

Chapter 8:

Ways to Increase Your User Base

  • Paid Social Media Advertising

  • Universal App Campaigns

  • Influencer Marketing

  • App Store Optimization

  • Content Marketing

  • Organic Social Media

  • Cross-Promotion

We go in-depth on these ways and cover other things that are extremely important for user acquisition in our free ebook that you can download below.

Chapter 9:

The Most Effective Way to Acquire Users - Paid Advertising

We can go on about many different ways to acquire users but the fact is - nothing works as well as paid advertising.

This means you’ll invest your money in ads that will be run on different platforms like Google or Facebook. As it usually goes with investments, you’ll get your money back several times over if you know what you’re doing.

Experience has taught us that the most important thing in paid advertising is testing.

Different people enjoy different things and there’s absolutely no way of knowing what they will like the best. Some of the ads we thought were the bomb failed miserably. And others that we thought weren’t that good acquired tens of thousands of users.

A fool-proof way to succeed in paid advertising is to constantly test new things and find those that give you the best results.

We managed to acquire millions of users for our clients by scaling up the ads that worked and shutting down the ones that didn’t.

Here’s a crash course on the basics of advertising on these few platforms.

Mobile Game Ads on Google

Google made mobile game advertising easy by introducing Universal App Campaigns in 2015.

UAC takes your assets and ad copies, ask about your audience targeting, goal, and budget. Then it launches ads on different Google’s properties.

Google combines your assets and texts to see which ones work the best. It then focuses on advertising those combinations to maximize results.

Mobile Game Ads on TikTok

TikTok is the most recent of massive social networks. It’s geared primarily towards younger audiences.

TikTok is all about creativity and videos. Make sure to create game video ads that reflect those two TikTok’s signature values.

When it comes to ads, TikTok has a few specific ways of showing them. You can read about them in our free How to Get More App Downloads ebook.

Mobile Game Ads on Snapchat

Snapchat is another visual platform that has predominantly young users. It’s best-known for its augmented reality lenses.

Snapchat even created a Lens Creative Partners program. It’s intended to help businesses create custom lenses for their advertising campaigns. The AR lenses give mobile game developers a great opportunity to draw new users into the world of their games.

This is a costly option, so most developers go down more conventional routes.

Mobile Game Ads on Facebook & Instagram

These two platforms share an advertising system called Ads Manager. This allows both platforms to easily hone in on their audience, define their advertising objectives and set up their campaigns.

Over the recent years, the most effective way to advertise has shifted from using image ads to using video ads.

Both Facebook and Instagram audiences have shown they enjoy videos much more than images and ads followed the trends.

You can read more about video ads in our free How to Get More Downloads ebook.

Besides those, there are many other advertising platforms where you can place your ads.

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“At Udonis, we place our ads on all these platforms, and our clients report that 80% of their traffic comes solely from paid advertising.“

Mike Grguric

Good advertising needs a good ad.

Chapter 10:

How to Create a Good Mobile Game Ad?

The best way to give you an idea of what a good mobile game ad is by showing you a few examples.

Take a look at this video ad for Subway Surfers.


This is an ad run on Instagram, and even though it lasts under a minute, it’s considered to be a long-format ad. Most ads last 15 or 30 seconds, but this is a good example of an unconventional ad that works.

So, why does it work?

1. Action-packed

2. Showcases the gameplay

3. Focuses on the characters

4. Highlights game features

5. Shows the game’s unique feel and story



It’s also accompanied by a good ad copy:

The Subway Surfers World Tour is in Cairo! 🌍🏃‍♀️🏃 Join Jasmine and the rest of the #SubwaySurfers crew in Cairo.

It’s short and reflects the unique feel of the game, mentions in-game characters, and calls readers to action. The copy also has a hashtag that helps spread the ad on social media.

We analyze this ad in-depth on our blog, you can read about it and other arcade game ads here.


Another good example is a video ad for the puzzle game Bubble Witch 3 Saga.


The ad is run on more than one platform: Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, and Messenger. It lasts only 15 seconds, and yet, it manages to get a lot of messages across.

What makes it good?

- Shows game mechanics

- Introduces the game’s character and story

- Highlights game features and bonuses

- Contains a call to action

- It’s accompanied by an ad copy as well:

Free gifts are waiting for you in Bubble Witch 3 Saga! Claim yours now!

The copy doesn’t focus on the game itself because that’s taken care of in the video. It entices players to start playing by offering free gifts and includes a strong call to action.



We analyze other puzzle game ads on our blog, click here to learn more.

Let’s take a look at another example. This time for an adventure game, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.


This is another long-format ad. It lasts 45 seconds and is launched on different platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network.

Why does it acquire users?

- It tells a story, drawing people into the game’s world

- Introduces characters

- Bombards viewers with in-game features

- Creates a sense of excitement

- Contains a call to action

- The ad copy that follows this ad is:

It's time to embark on your Hogwarts story. Learn spells, brew potions, and more!

It contains an indirect call to action. It’s inviting players to start an adventure, more than just download a game. It also plays on familiar game aspects like spells and potions to draw readers in.

We go in-depth on Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery ads in our adventure game blog, you can read it here.

What Are the Takeaways Here?

Make a Video Ad

Video ads are the best way to advertise mobile games. Image ads or gameplay screenshots just don’t carry the same weight as videos do. They let you show all your game has to offer in as little as 15 action-packed seconds.

Show Your Unique Selling Point

It’s that thing that sets your game apart from all the others in the market. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to set up a unique selling point. It can be a unique storyline, special graphics, one-of-a-kind characters, etc. You get the picture.

Show Your Gameplay

Players want to see the actual gameplay before downloading a game. Don’t go overly cinematic and forget to show the actual gameplay. Some players might be let down when they see that the actual gameplay is different from the cinematic ad, which will result in a low retention rate.

Include a Call to Action

This is very important. All ads need to have a call to action somewhere. It can be in the video or in the ad copy text, or both. As long as it’s there. A call to action guides user actions and helps you get more downloads.

Entice People With Gifts

Everyone loves free stuff. You should aim to give away free in-game benefits to potential players. This could be the thing that gets them to try out your game, especially if they feel that the gift will give them an edge over other players.

Write a Script for Your Video Ad

You created the game, so you know what the game’s best features are and what could hook many potential users. Include those things in the scripts for your video ads.

If you don’t feel confident about writing advertising materials, you can always reach out to us and we’ll be happy to do it for you.

Have Your Video Ad Produced by Pros

Most game developers try their hand at video production because ordering videos can cost over $1,000 apiece. However, these “homemade” videos tend to be poorly made and only turn people away from the game.

Nowadays, there are content creation agencies that specialize in making mobile game videos. GameVidz is one of them. They deliver great game videos at affordable prices. This makes them a great fit for game developers who don’t want to break the bank on video ads.

Advertise on Multiple Platforms

Advertising your game across several platforms will have a much stronger impact than limiting yourself to only one of them. Especially because different platforms have different user demographics. For example, Snapchat and TikTok are great places to reach younger audiences, while Facebook has many users aged 50+.

You can read more about this in our How to Get More Downloads ebook.

We go in-depth on these ways and cover other things that are extremely important for user acquisition in our free ebook that you can download below.

Chapter 11:

Adapting Ads to Different Platforms

Different platforms use different ad formats. That’s why we’re bringing you this short guide for Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat ad requirements. We’ll go over video and image specs.

Facebook Ads

Recommended resolution: as high as possible (up to 4GB)
Supported aspect ratio: 16x9, 9x16,4x5
Duration: 1 second to 240 minutes

Recommended resolution: as high as possible (up to 4GB)
Supported aspect ratio: 16x9 to 9x16
Duration: 5 to 15 seconds (in-stream), 1 second to 240 minutes (marketplace and feed)

Recommended resolution: as high as possible (up to 4GB)
Supported aspect ratio: 16x9, 1.9x1
Duration: up to 15 seconds

Recommended resolution: as high as possible (up to 4GB)
Supported aspect ratio: 1x1 is recommended, 16x9, 4x5, 9x16 are accepted
Duration: 1 second to 240 minutes

Recommended resolution: as high as possible
Supported aspect ratio: 1x1 to 4x5

Recommended resolution: as high as possible
Supported aspect ratio: 16x9 to 1x1

Recommended resolution: as high as possible
Supported aspect ratio: 9x16 to 16x9

Recommended resolution: as high as possible
Supported aspect ratio: 9x16 to 16x9, 1x1

Recommended resolution: as high as possible
Supported aspect ratio:1.91x1 to 9x16

Recommended resolution: as high as possible (up to 30MB)
Supported aspect ratio:1.91x1 to 1x1
Number of cards: 3

Recommended resolution: as high as possible (image up to 30MB, video up to 4GB)
Supported aspect ratio:1.91x1 to 1x1
Video duration: up to 240 minutes
Number of cards: 2 to 10

Instagram Ads

Recommended resolution: as high as possible (up to 30MB)
Supported aspect ratio: 9x16 and 16x9 to 4x5
Duration: 1 to 120 seconds

Recommended resolution: as high as possible (up to 30MB)
Supported aspect ratio: 4x5 to 1.91x1
Duration: 1 to 120 seconds

Recommended resolution: as high as possible
Supported aspect ratio: 9x16 and 16x9 to 4x5

Recommended resolution: as high as possible
Supported aspect ratio: 4x5 to 1.91x1

Native:

Recommended resolution: as high as possible
Supported aspect ratio: 9x16
Number of cards: 2 to 3

Expandable:

Recommended resolution: as high as possible
Supported aspect ratio: 4x5 to 1.91x1
Number of cards: up to 10

Recommended resolution: as high as possible (up to 4GB)
Supported aspect ratio: 1x1
Video duration: up to 60 seconds
Number of cards: 2 to 10

Snapchat Ads

Required resolution: 1080x1920
Supported aspect ratio: 9x16
Size: up to 5 MB

Required resolution: 1080x1920
Supported aspect ratio: 9x16
Size: up to 1 GB
Video duration: 3 to 180 seconds

Keep in mind that these ad specifications apply for Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat only. You can find more info about this on official platform websites here and here.
If you decide to place ads on other platforms, be sure to look up their ad requirements before you get into creating ads. If you don’t feel like researching all of this, feel free to contact us, and we’ll gladly help you out.
Here are the most common aspect ratios and video durations that you can use as a guide.

Aspect ratios

1x1

16x9

4x5

2x3

9x16

Lengths:

6 seconds
15 seconds
19 seconds
30 seconds

Your ads will still have to be approved by the platform you want to place them on, so don’t worry. If something is off, they’ll let you know so you can fix it. However, it’s more time-efficient to know what’s necessary to have your ads approved before you start production.

Now you know all the basics. Time to put them into action.

Chapter 12:

Mobile Game Trends & Predictions for 2020

Mobile Advertising Revenue to Skyrocket

According to App Annie’s State of Mobile 2020 report, mobile advertising spend is to grow by more than 25% and reach as much as $240 billion in 2020.

Apple Arcade & Google Play Pass to Change the Playing Field

Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass are subscription services that give users access to apps and games that won’t have ads and in-app purchases. All for a flat monthly rate. These two giants are sure to drive innovation and convenience for mobile games, just like Netflix and HBO did for movies and TV shows.

5G to Take Mobile Games to the Next Level

Mobile game publishers and gamers will most likely be the first ones to reap the benefits of the speed 5G has to offer. That’s why it’s important to start now and ensure your games take advantage of 5G’s benefits.

The Auto Battler Games to Become Popular

Auto battler games are a sub-genre of strategy mobile games that first appeared in January 2019. They involve placing heroes on a chessboard-like platform and strategizing a victory.
They quickly became big in eSports, and the first Auto Chess Invitational that was held in October 2019 had a $1 million prize pool. That’s an impressive prize pool, considering that the game has been out for under a year at the time.