Develop your gaming application by examining the data

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The world has changed a lot in 2020. And in the mobile apps industry, we’ve seen our data reflect shifts in consumer behavior and accelerated transformations of entire industries. People have flocked to their mobile devices to do everything from spending a bit of Facetime with a distant family to shopping for groceries. In fact, mobile has exceeded expectations for 2020, with consumers spending $ 143 billion on apps.

Develop your gaming application by examining the data

There was no bigger winner than mobile games. The 2021 Mobile Apps Growth Report, which uses Adjust data to find out which vertical apps are driving growth, found that games are officially the fastest growing vertical in the world. It’s also already the tallest vertical, with 33% of all downloaded mobile apps now playing games.

The strong growth of mobile gaming has led to large investments flooding the industry. Zynga bought Turkish developer Peak for $ 1.8 billion and Rollic for $ 180 million. Rollic, in turn, has just acquired Uncosoft, another Turkish hyper-casual games studio (terms not yet disclosed). Meanwhile, Scopely has raised $ 340 million.

It’s clear that game developers of all sizes are flagships, but our numbers show that the global mobile industry is still far from the top of the market. There is still plenty of room to grow.

With so much at stake, it’s time to dig into the facts.

With mobile gaming on the rise, it’s more important than ever for developers to look at real data and understand what drives success – and what not. Myths still abound, and in this article, we’re going to dig into some of the most critical data points guiding the game’s growth in 2021.

Understand the user journey

How you approach user acquisition and retention will vary widely depending on which sub-vertical your title is in. Promoting a hyper-casual game will be very different from the campaigns you would set up for a sports or intermediate title. If we look at retention rates across the gaming vertical as a whole, we find that games hold up fairly well overall, by industry standards, while hyper casuals are significantly below the median. . By day 30, hyper-relaxed retention rates are around 2%, while games are closer to 10%.

Users playing non-hyper-casual mobile games also spend an average of 24 minutes in the app per day, while their counterparts only have 8. If we compare the two user groups to metrics, the results are always very different. Therefore, it is critical that marketers understand and approach these groups based on their in-app habits, creating creatives that appeal to the right audiences, and presenting a subsequent user journey that matches their expectations.

For a hyper-casual title, that might mean opting for an in-app ad that promotes other hyper-casual games in your portfolio. For mid-core games, it’s more efficient to monetize through in-app purchases and freemium models, pushing for higher LTV users.

Another important thing to consider when growing your gaming app is the number of sessions per day that your users have. If you start with a great onboarding experience, you increase the chances of them coming back – and every time they come back, you have another chance to keep them coming back.

We have found that while the number of hyper-relaxed sessions slowly decreases over a 30-day period (starting at around 2 sessions per day and ending at 1.3), overall gaming sessions increase steadily, starting at around 2 and landing near 2.5. This shows how loyal users are to the games they love to play and how willing they are to continue to progress – and possibly spend – in the game. Measure where these high LTV users are coming from and target cohorts similar means developing a very healthy user base.

Bigger is not always better

Having a large portfolio of applications has long been seen as a key driver of growth. Promoting your titles across your entire app portfolio is a popular and effective way to market other apps. However, we decided it was time to test whether the size of the portfolio (the number of apps for a particular developer) correlated with higher growth scores.

We looked at the data to understand whether developers should try to grow their portfolio or if they can focus their efforts on a smaller number of apps. It turns out that there is no direct relationship between having more apps and generating more growth.

But it certainly doesn’t hurt game companies.

Driving gamers from one app they like to another can go on and on. However, if you are an entertainment app, there is a point of diminishing return. While gamers are always on the hunt for a fun new game, they tend to stick with just a few streaming apps.

Taking advantage of cross-promotion helps maintain consistent growth scores, regardless of the number of applications a publisher has. And in fact, gaming companies that own more than 100 properties had the highest growth score in our sample. While the difference is small, it does show the benefits of including cross-promotion in your app marketing strategies, and at least for gaming apps, having a full portfolio helps.

App updates in numbers

Another question we looked at was about the typical lifespan of an app. We wanted to know how long developers typically support their apps. To do this, we took a look at the apps released in 2018 and checked their latest update to study their lifecycle. We’ve found that gaming apps have the shortest lifespan, with the fewest apps still active 24 months after launch.

Percentage of updated apps

Only 43% of games were still active after two years. It makes sense, especially in light of the throwaway nature of hyper-casual games. And it’s also not surprising that fintech and e-commerce apps have the most apps still supported after two years. These long-lasting applications require frequent updates to continue to meet user expectations.

But we still see a lot of commonality between apps of all types. Looking at how often apps are updated, we found that developers update their apps frequently first, and then update less frequently per month over time.

Ultimately, the average number of updates for an active app is three per month. So if you’re in the 43% of games for the long haul, be prepared to update your app regularly to keep up with changing user expectations.

Take-away meals from 2021

Armed with the right data, mobile games can – and, very likely, will continue to dominate in 2021 and beyond. Given the relatively short lifespan of games, we see that it makes sense for game publishers to continue to grow their portfolios and cross-promote their content, always ready to offer users the next best thing in the world. mobile gaming material.


This content is made possible by a guest author, or sponsor; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editorial team of App Developer Magazine.


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