Launching a Mobile Game? You’ll Want to Read This First

Jun 21, 2021
6 mins read

It’s an exciting time to be working in mobile gaming marketing.

While many sectors stalled last year, the mobile gaming industry skyrocketed. As lockdowns took place all over the world, over 2.5 billion players turned to gaming apps to keep themselves entertained. In 2020:

With the industry set to continue growing, the time is ripe for launching a gaming app. But with competition growing, getting your marketing right is essential. If you’re wondering how to create the most effective ad for your game, look no further! In this post, we’ll cover the different types of mobile gaming ad formats and share our top ad design tips for creating impactful mobile gaming app campaigns.

In the first quarter of 2021, there were approximately 477,877 gaming apps available on Google Play - a 12% increase from the previous quarter. As the mobile gaming industry grows, it’s more important than ever to create an impact with standout ad design.

Your launch campaign will require first-rate ad creatives that get people excited about the game, drives downloads and grows loyal fans (thereby increasing your revenue). So where should you begin?

A good place to start is with the different ad formats used for mobile game marketing. Your strategy should involve a combination of these categories for optimum results, utilising in-app advertising and paid social campaigns.

  • Rewarded Ads - According to Unity Ads, this type of campaign is the most preferred by mobile players. These ads take place within the game and offer an incentive for viewing such as extra coins or points.

  • Playable Ads - An interactive video that lets users preview your game before downloading it. Playable ads can be put out on Facebook Ads and Instagram, offering your target audience a ‘try before you buy’ experience.

  • Banner Ads - If you’ve ever played a game on mobile, you’ve most likely experienced a banner ad. These little ads sit at the top of your screen while you play and are most commonly used due to being easy to produce and unobtrusive for the user.

  • Expandable Ads - Initially appearing as a banner within the game, these ads will expand to reveal more information once the user engages with them. They have high creative potential as they take up the user's full screen, however, can be irritating for the user if it interrupts their game.

  • Interstitial ads - Full-screen ads that appear during content transitions - this is often seen within the game (i.e when a game has ended) or places like Instagram where they pop up between Stories. As they cover the full interface, they can lead to high engagement, however, users sometimes use ad-blockers to avoid them as they’re quite intrusive.

  • App-install ads - App-install ads are common practice on networks like Facebook Ads, Pinterest and Google. Featured within your target audience's news feed, they’ll feature images or videos that lead directly to a landing page or app-install page.

Whatever format you decide to use, an impactful design will be vital for the performance of your ad. Here are our top ad design tips to consider for your campaign:

Use a motivation-led creative approach

Before you start considering design, you should do market research to understand your target audience's motivations for downloading your game. Most gaming apps use their ad creative to showcase their product, without thinking about the user's motives. Your target audience will range broadly in age, interests and reasons for gameplay, meaning a one-size-fits-all approach won’t resonate with so many different types of people. Facebook developed a system called the Big Catch, which involves designing various creatives for different gaming motivations and then running a broadly-targeted campaign to find new audiences.

Open with impact

Your ad design needs to catch the users attention within seconds before they carry on scrolling. There are a number of ways to do this and fortunately, gaming provides the opportunity to be playful. Popular methods include interactive game features, presenting users with a challenge to engage with or even featuring gaming influencers and celebrities.

Make the game clear

Using gameplay footage is one of the best ways to showcase your product so that the user can understand exactly how the game works and know what to expect when they download the app. Misleading adverts are surprisingly common in the mobile gaming industry and are extremely frustrating for the user. Last year the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had to ban ads from the Homescapes game for this reason.

To conclude, there are countless ways to promote your gaming app online, but the only way to know what works is by continually building a variety of ads and testing to see what your audience responds to.

We’ve worked with a number of gaming clients including Midnite, Legions and King of Crabs. If you’re unsure of where to begin with your launch, we can help. At Growthcurve, we’re experts in all aspects of PPC campaigns. We love combining innovative ad-tech with a thorough marketing strategy to create amazingly effective digital advertising campaigns for our clients. If you want to learn more about growing your business through PPC campaigns, get in touch.