Biggest User Acquisition Trends for Mobile Gaming in 2018

The mobile gaming industry continues to make strides this year with revenues hitting an estimated $48.3 Billion last year. The process of acquiring gamers and developing revenue strategies in 2018 is looking more like a well-oiled machine than the wild west it was ten years ago when Apple released the App Store.

However, with all this progress, many developers and marketing directors are still worried about the significant costs it’s taking to find and keep quality players willing to put money into their games. mobile app marketing and retargeting company Liftoff shared some of their data last year and found that the average price of purchasing users is now around $4.12, with users who purchase in-app purchases hitting $76.40!

To improve upon their user acquisition, marketers are finding a lot of new trends (and a few old ones) this year. I’ve collected a few that are looking to be very promising for the industry that are already making results.

Improved Advertising Strategies

Creating an advertisement that attracts the gamers has always been a challenge, but getting them to try out a game has been the biggest challenge facing marketers in the mobile game space. Display ads like banner ads and full-screen ads on Facebook still cost a lot, promising nothing in ROI to marketers.

Video Ads

Players watch a video either in the middle of their game, at the end of gameplay, or asked to watch from the menu screen. Companies are hitting big with these according to Wyzowl in their Video Marketing Statistics Survey. They reported 79% of consumers would rather watch a video than read about a product.

Rewarded Ads

These continue to gain momentum and are now one of the best ways free-to-play developers are making their money. Gamers watching a video, finishing a playable ad, or doing some requested item (Like us on Facebook, Share a tweet, and so on) are less intrusive to the gamer and reward them with in-game items for their work. Data suggests that players are not as negatively affected by these ads as with other ads according to Adjust. Their data shows that gamers would rather watch a rewarded ad than a video ad by a factor of four to one.

Playable Ads

This is a new frontier and advertisers are already starting to fall in love with it. Allowing gamers a small playable view into their game enable players to experience the fun of the gameplay compared to watching it, creating a better interest and increase in retention rates.

We at Synative are very excited about Playable Ads. Data already proves that they are equally or even more effective than Video and Rewarded ads and can be both placed inside apps, as well as become a standalone ad that can be shared and played. The issue has always been the development costs for these types of ads usually needing to have 3rd party developer create the ads for them.

Synative already has solved many of these types of issues with our technology, enabling developers to create their own ads in under five minutes with their apk file or build a playable video from recorded gameplay in less than an hour. This increases the speed of ad development and adds more A/B testing for the game’s marketing.

Influencer Marketing

Having a celebrity advertise your products just works, no matter where you are and what product you are selling. However, Mean Joe Green, Michael Jordan, and Matthew McConaughey might not be available or in your budget for your next ad campaign. Instead, many companies are looking towards influencers from Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Instagram to grab users. Influencers are now asked to play the game, give positive reviews and share it on their social networks.

Most companies in gaming and more mainstream industries have seen a mixed bag from using this type of acquisition model in prior years, but things are starting to change. Launchmetrics, a social influencer technology company for the fashion, luxury, and cosmetics industry released a promising study last year stating 74% of surveyed companies thought it was useful in their marketing. (The State Of Influencer Marketing Report 2017)

BarBarQ developer working with The Family Gaming Team (FGTeeV)

The best advice I can share from my research is to make sure you take the time to understand whom to use and the cost of the influencer. Having sizable knowledge on those two things might increase the quality of the campaign. Also, plan out for the added expense of time and money you’ll need using online tools and research to find the perfect person for the right price.


I'm always looking for the next best solution to not only help marketers but also help gamers enjoy and be entertained by their ads. And the more they feel its less like an advertisement, the better both your lives will be. And maybe, the next trend you make creates a new meme in the process and gets viral.

If you are in San Francisco May 14 - 15 for PocketGamer Connect, Synative would love to come and talk to you about the biggest trends of 2018 and share some more of our thoughts. If not, please leave a message. We’d love to know your thoughts and feelings on the subject.

If you have an Android or iOS game you’d want generated into a playable ad in just minutes, please contact us at or you can meet with us at our booth at PocketGamer Connects on May 14-15.

April 24th, 2018