Bursting The Bubble: Three Myths About Marketing to Mobile Gamers

May 16, 2019

The biggest challenge for my clients today is reaching the right person. How can they reach the right person at the right time to attract them to their brand? Mobile is the answer. Mobile commands user attention like no other channel, with the number of mobile phone users in 2019 forecasted to reach 4.68 billion. It explains why mobile ad placements still get two-thirds of the advertising budget. It’s not an opportunity brands can afford to waste.

And when considering what these users are using their devices for, the biggest app category of all is gaming. An estimated 2.4 billion people will play mobile games in 2019. Given this extraordinary scale, why then do many marketers cringe when thinking of reaching users through gaming apps?

Mobile gaming apps don’t have a great reputation when it comes to advertising. There’s nothing more annoying than an irrelevant banner ad at the bottom of the phone while playing a game. I often hear my clients say that they don’t believe advertising on gaming apps is a premium way to reach their users, and that their users aren’t ‘gamers’. Today’s definition of gamers has changed. In fact, almost everyone is a gamer.

Don’t believe me? Check out the three most common statements I hear my clients say below – statements that turn out to be much more myth than fact.

Myth One: All Gamers Are the Same

When you hear ‘gamer’, the first image that probably pops into your head is a teenage boy tethered to the TV with his controller in hand. Thanks to mobile, that’s no longer an accurate representation. We recently conducted a study with Adverty, a leading immersive advertising platform, to get to the bottom of who today’s modern-day gamer actually is. From our first-party consented data, we found that the average age of Adverty users is slightly older than expected (over 30 years old). Several games also had more women playing than men, such as Subway Surfers (59 percent women) and Jurrasic VR (53 percent women).

According to eMarketer, women are 25 percent more likely to play games on their smartphones than on PCs, and are over three times more likely to play games on their phones than on consoles. These users are immersed in mobile games, virtual worlds or augmenting their reality with the games and apps available on their mobile devices.

Data reveals that not all gamers are the same, so marketers need to expand their awareness of who is playing. Even user activity on games might surprise you. Ogury Active Insights shows that although Candy Crush has a significant market share of 8.1 percent, its active usage was the lowest of the watchlist I looked at, averaging 50.6 percent. In contrast, the apps with the lowest market share, including Words With Friends and Sudoku, had highly engaged users at 86 percent and 80.5 percent respectively. You need to think beyond the ‘gamer’ and start contextualizing the human behind the screen.

Myth Two: All Gamers Are Die-Hards

Another misconception is that gamers spend countless hours in front of the screen. But as I’ve highlighted, anyone and almost everyone can be classified as a gamer now. Think about how much time consumers spend engaging with their phones.  

We’ve become so reliant on our smartphones that we check them every 12 minutes. A report last year found that 40 percent of adults look at their phone within five minutes of waking up. That number increases to 65 percent for consumers under the age of 35.

That’s a lot of screentime.

When it comes to games, mobile has become the most popular channel for all ages, genders and even income levels. Hop on the subway, look over someone’s shoulder at their phone (subtly), and tell me how many people you see playing games. Whether we’re obsessed with a game, or we’re playing it to pass the time, we’re all doing it.

Myth Three: Marketing on Mobile Games is Ineffective

Marketers have the worst perceptions when it comes to advertising on mobile games. We can’t really blame them, though. Gaming apps used to be riddled with pop up ads that completely disrupted the user experience. Now, however, it’s become one of the safest places for brands to advertise and reach consumers, particularly in comparison to social media.

Mobile developers, who previously hated in-app ads are now more open to it, as revenue from these ads is increasing. In fact, one in four consumers have purchased advertised products or services after seeing a placement in a mobile game. These users are fully engaged with the game they’re playing and are engrossed in the app, a prime environment to attract your consumers.

With the advancements in smartphones, the term ‘gamers’ now encompasses a wide variety of people. Mobile has democratized gaming content for everyone. In order to tap into the market, brands need to acknowledge this diverse group of people, understand how much time they spend on mobile games, and reach only the most relevant ‘gamers’.

Fueled by first-party user data, our Mobile Journey Marketing (MJM) solutions have helped clients reach the right person with the most relevant message on the device they use most – mobile. It’s your turn. Give me a shout at glenn.pape@ogury.co to find out how Ogury’s MJM solutions can work for your brand.

Glenn Pape, VP of Sales, East Coast