How to Win the The Mobile Gaming Industry’s Battle for Users

Today, gaming developers are constantly searching for strategies to reach and engage their target audience. And with the industry so fiercely competitive and lucrative, it’s little wonder. This year, the mobile gaming business is projected to be worth USD$286 billionnearly half of the entire gaming industry’s revenue. To put that in perspective, the average revenue per user (ARPU) is approximately USD$150. For gaming developers, user acquisition has therefore never been more important, and one powerful tool allowing them to achieve that  is mobile Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) advertising. 

By partnering with mobile OEMs, such as AVOW’s partners Xiaomi, OPPO, Huawei, Vivo,  realme, Oneplus and Transsion, developers can leverage the vast reach and influence of these mobile manufacturers to promote their games and increase their visibility. In this article, we will explore five compelling reasons why gaming developers should embrace mobile OEM advertising as an integral part of their marketing mix.

 

  1. It Offers Game Developers Freedom of Choice 

In 2020, Fortnite developer Epic Games filed lawsuits against Apple and Google that shed light on the mobiling marketing practices of the industry’s biggest names, improving the commercial viability of alternative app stores. Although neither side substantially triumphed, the case exposed Apple and Google’s 30% cuts  of app and in-app purchases in games, a practice that Epic CEO Tim Sweeney described as “crippling” and “stifling.” 

“If every developer could accept their own payments and avoid the 30% tax by Apple and Google,” he observed, “we could pass the savings along to all our consumers and players would get a better deal on items. And you’d have economic competition”.

Following this a second class action lawsuit for over USD$ 1 billion had recently been filed in the UK, on behalf of over 1500 app developers against Apple and their app store and in-app commission policies. Former OECD economist and current professor at the Centre for Competition Policy at the University of East Anglia Sean Ennis, who filed the lawsuit, remarked that “The charges are unfair in their own right, and constitute abusive pricing. They harm app developers and also app buyers.” 

This is the second major anti competitive action against Apple coming from the UK, after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found both Apple and Google guilty of anti competitive practices by banning cloud gaming apps on their app stores. Apple was also found to be stifling app developers with their insistence that all browsing apps were to use Apple’s own WebKit, essentially hamstringing apps from innovating or adding their own unique features that would make them stand out. Freedom of choice isn’t simply about choosing which app store to feature your app in, or how much of a cut you can negotiate with the app stores. It is also about having the freedom to choose how to develop your app, and what features you would want your app to have.

 Alongside their alternative app stores, mobile OEMs provide that freedom. Game developers can now negotiate with mobile OEMs on more favorable terms, and include their own payment systems into their games without the limitations imposed by traditional app stores. This is a win-win for both game developers and users alike, as developers can charge less for their games and in-app purchases (IAPs), therefore lowering the barrier of entry for users.

 

  1. It Has Unparalleled Reach 

Mobile OEMs have a massive user base, with AVOW’s partners accounting for over 1.5 billion daily active users (DAU), and covering 54% of the global mobile market. By collaborating with mobile OEMs, gaming developers gain access to an extensive network of active potential users all over the world. This unparalleled reach allows developers to showcase their games directly to a vast audience, maximizing their exposure and increasing the chances of attracting new players. 

Moreover, developers using mobile OEM advertising can also tap into impressive preexisting user bases, significantly expanding their game’s visibility. Take, for example, Zephyr Mobile. A developer of casual mobile games, it employed mobile OEM advertising to tap into 3o countries, adding over 300,000 new installs in the first three months and meeting their return on ad spend (ROAS) goals.

 

  1. You Can Use Targeted Marketing 

One of the advantages of mobile OEM advertising is the ability to precisely target specific demographics and user segments. OEMs possess a wealth of data regarding their users’ preferences, behaviors, and demographics. By leveraging this data, gaming developers can tailor their advertising campaigns to reach the most relevant audience for their games. Whether it’s targeting casual gamers, hardcore enthusiasts, or specific age groups, mobile OEM advertising offers developers the opportunity to optimize their marketing efforts, ensuring their games are seen by the right people at the right time. Some of the targeting capabilities provided by OEMs include, among others, geographic targeting, appographic targeting, app category targeting, user behavior targeting, and sociodemographic targeting.

 

  1. It Provides Enhanced User Experiences

 Mobile OEM advertising goes beyond banner or pop-up ads. Instead, it enables developers to seamlessly integrate their games into the user experience, providing a more immersive and engaging advertising format. Whether through preinstalled game promotions, in-app placements, or customized device themes, OEM advertising allows developers to grab players’ attention using captivating visuals and interactive experiences. This integration also extends into the mobile OEM alternative app stores, making the entire user experience seamless. This approach enhances the user’s overall gaming experience as well as increases the likelihood of them downloading and engaging with the advertised game. By aligning their games with the mobile OEM’s branding and interface, developers can establish a sense of trust and credibility, enticing users to explore their virtual products.

 

  1. Increased App Store Ranking and Downloads

It goes without saying that successful mobile games and top app store rankings go hand in hand. And with millions of games available across various platforms, it’s therefore essential that developers secure high rankings  to increase their visibility and drive organic downloads. This might sound like a difficult task, but mobile OEM advertising makes it easier by  increasing organic traffic and downloads. 

The traditional app stores from Apple and Google usually feature games from big studios, making it hard for smaller  and first time studios to break into the app store rankings to gain some visibility. If discoverability is low, how can game developers expect to gain any traction? Mobile OEMs help level the playing field with their alternative app stores, which allow studios other than the big players to find their way onto the app store rankings and increase their downloads and visibility, whilst simultaneously providing them access to a vast untapped audience.

When users encounter a game through OEM advertising and subsequently download it, this interaction sends a positive signal to the app stores, indicating popularity and relevance. As a result, the game’s ranking improves, leading to further exposure and increased downloads. By incorporating mobile OEM advertising into their marketing strategy, gaming developers can gain a competitive edge, enhancing their potential app-store ranking. In the case of Zephyr Mobile for instance, generating 300,000 new installs within three months would certainly have improved their visibility and rankings. In turn, this added value to their OEM advertising campaign while also providing their brand invaluable long term credibility, improving the chances of success for their next game.

 

In a nutshell, mobile OEM advertising is essential for gaming developers seeking to establish a strong market presence and engage with their target audience effectively. From unparalleled reach and targeted marketing, to enhanced user experiences and freedom of choice, working with mobile OEMs is cost effective and lucrative. And through our extensive OEM partnerships, AVOW can connect developers to these markets and our vast user base, enabling them to boost their app store rankings, attract a loyal player base, and position their games for success. So, by embracing mobile OEM advertising as a default component of a marketing mix, developers can triumph in the highly competitive gaming industry.

 

If you are a game developer looking to boost your user acquisition efforts, contact us today for a more in-depth discussion on how AVOW can help you achieve your goals. Alternatively, you can visit us at Gamescom booth C022 in the business area from August 23rd -25th.

 

This article was first published in Mobile Marketing Magazine