March 10, 2023

New to User Acquisition in Mobile Gaming? 4 Things to Consider for Your Strategy

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According to Tech Jury, nowadays, one third of users say they come across new apps by in-app ads1. With advertisers contending fiercely to get discovered through this channel, if you’re new to UA in mobile, NOW is the right time to begin optimizing your UA campaigns to gain a competitive edge when users are seeking new apps. This means reassessing your UA strategies to make sure you’re making the most for each dollar. 

According to, Mobile ad spending will hit $362 bn in 2023, making it the leading platform for advertisers. 

This is remarkable news for mobile game developers. However, it now takes more than just a great product to make users embrace your app over your rivals. The challenge? There are numerous strategic choices to make to ensure strong performance, like which media sources to use, the ad units and campaigns you’ll make use of, and so on.

With more apps available in the App Store, an exceptional user acquisition (UA) strategy is required to make sure your app reaches its revenue potential. This means alluring high value users and keeping them interested for longer.

To get you up to speed, this article will share four things to consider when marketing mobile games.

1. Gamify Your Ads With Playables To Drive Installs

According to Liftoff’s data, playable ads is the most profitable advertising format of mobile games available, based on CPI. With an industry wide average of $1.31, playable ads are by far the most cost-effective option for driving installs for gaming apps.

Gamification is a concept that needs no introductions, and app developers - no matter the app category - have been applying it successfully to improve their user experience. For instance, apps that offer badges and rewards when you hit your goals or meet your daily targets, triggers a sense of achievement that hooks users and keeps them engaged.

Logically, if users can get a mini “hands-on demo” of the game’s core features through gamified ad creatives, there’s a greater chance the users you’re looking for will have higher engagement and then convert into installers. This interactive format helps ensure strong product market-fit earlier in the funnel, so by the time they install there’s greater interest, less user  confusion, and ultimately greater UA performance.

Gamifying your creatives is a great way to grow your install rate. If you aren’t already reassessing your ad strategy to inject interactivity, display core game loops, and drive a sense of achievement, NOW is the time to start. Taking a look beyond playable ad gamification, there are several ways to further augment the success of your other ads, such as incorporating thought provoking questions or skill-based challenges to the viewer which makes them want to download and see what they can achieve.

2. Get The Hang Of App Store Optimization(ASO)

 Here’s the catch – ASO is still the king of organic user acquisition.

If you fine-tune your game’s App Store listing, it can rank higher on Google Play and Apple’s App Store. You also need to do this to maximize the return on your investment in paid UA – a meticulously curated store page is essential to make sure that the users clicking your ads learn everything they need to know to ‘seal the deal’ and download your game.

In terms of keywords, ASO is nearly identical to SEO. You should use relevant keywords in the game title, subtitle, and description so that users searching related terms in the App Store and in search engines can find you. Also, keywords are one of the ranking factors. When deciding a name, ensure that it clearly conveys the main idea behind your game. This is also a factor that can help your app rank higher.

 Don’t miss out on visuals, as they’re often the key factor for several users. In terms of visual content, ensure that your app icon is impressive and follows the current trends. In order to stand out to the users in the increasingly competitive mobile gaming landscape, publishers must follow current trends and craft a game app icon that converts. For instance, game icons with vibrant colours, graphics, and characters attract users. The use of characters, especially in expressive poses, is a longstanding trend on Google Play that performs well. Leveraging this tactic can evoke a strong and positive emotional response from potential users.

 Also, consider adding screenshots and promotional videos. Both must demonstrate the main game features, so think hard about identifying your handful of key selling points to showcase. However, the promotional video must also give users a peep inside what it’s like to actually play the game, and should focus on the most exciting and memorable moments. And don’t forget to include a call to action, as it encourages people to download your game.

Lastly, ratings and reviews are also a factor in how well your game ranks on the app stores. So ensure you provide users with the best experience possible and encourage engaged users to leave a positive review. In the case of negative reviews, make it a point to always answer every comment and take into consideration what users are telling you as feedback for the development team.

3. Activate CPE Campaigns

Acquiring installs through paid advertising may not be too difficult, but truly engaged users are a rare breed.

To find these needles in a haystack, you should optimize your campaigns to target high-value customers – looking for people that are more likely to use your app for several days, subscribe for services, or make purchase items with higher price tags.

Some ad networks, including offerwall networks, offer a CPE (Cost per Engagement) pricing model, which implies that you pick a post-install event and only pay for users who engage in that specific event. Users will then be rewarded a virtual currency for achieving that goal.

CPE Campaigns enable you to optimize towards events that better envision long-term user value and cohesion versus an install, ensuring you’re only paying for high LTV users.

Furthermore, these events can occur at down funnel points in the app that can take a while for users to get to before they can claim their offerwall reward. Often, this is long enough for users to create and internalize a new daily habit with your app, turning them into retained and loyal customers.

This makes CPE incredibly cost-effective while offering additional scale.

4. Use Automation Whenever Possible

Automation and AI have been a game changer for the marketing industry – empowering companies and individuals to do much more efficiently while continuing to drive scale to their operations and achieve performance goals . By curtaining the heavy lifting and enhancing the functionality of your work, more time can be spent focusing on strategic development, operational planning, and performance analysis to fuel growth.

Historically, user acquisition managers had to manage dozens of channels, each with various campaign types and a variety of manually set parameters. Automation tools, with the ability to optimize operations, increase performance, and change the daily habits of user acquisition managers forever. For instance, several ad campaign types are now automated by default, powered by sophisticated AI models. For instance, the new target ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend) campaigns are an efficient and effective way to automate the process of acquiring new users for a mobile gaming app. These campaigns allow advertisers to set a specific target ROAS, which is the desired revenue generated from advertising spend, and then the campaign algorithm automatically optimizes bids and targets the right audience to achieve that goal.

By leveraging these more automated campaigns, advertisers can save time and resources while achieving better results than manual optimization methods for traditional campaigns. This allows advertisers to focus on other aspects of their mobile marketing, such as strategy brainstorming, campaign ideation, campaign implementation, media planning, exploring new channels, or creative experimentation, while still seeing positive results from their advertising campaigns.

Way Forward For User Acquisition in 2023

Today’s marketing landscape for mobile games is completely different than the past and it can feel like a completely new era. There are more headwinds, performance challenges, and CPI always goes up.

It’s a ton of work to succeed at user acquisition for mobile games which requires an acute attention to detail. That means being smarter. More creative. More innovative. And outperforming your competition.

Plus, it’s a lot for any team to do – let alone a single person. If you’re looking to add a media source to your mix that can help drive high user engagement and spending, reach out to discover the true power of loyalty with Mistplay.


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