The Ultimate Guide for Advertising Action Mobile Games in 2023

The Ultimate Guide for Advertising Action Mobile Games in 2023

by Andrea Knezovic

Looking for an extensive guide for advertising action mobile games?

You have come to the right place!

Here’s the thing.

The success of popular action games like PUBG Mobile and Brawl Stars might seem unattainable. Especially to indie developers.

However, you’d be surprised at what you can achieve with a smart advertising strategy.

To help you get started, I’ve put together an advertising guide that includes:

  • Practical tips for advertising action mobile games
  • Video ad analysis from top action games
  • Statistics for key mobile game metrics

Ready to get your action game to the top charts?

Top 10 Action Games

Google Play

Here’s a list of top-grossing action games on Google Play in the US. (SensorTower, free data)

  1. Garena Free Fire: Booyah Day (Garena International)
  2. Call of Duty: Mobile (Activision)
  3. Marvel Contest of Champions (Kabam Games)
  4. PUBG Mobile (PUBG Corporation)
  5. Dragon Ball Z (Bandai Namco)
  6. War Robots (Pixonic)
  7. Brawl Stars (Supercell)
  8. Garena Free Fire MAX (Garena International)
  9. Pokemon Unite (The Pokemon Company)
  10. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (Moontoon)

Apple App Store

This is a list of top-grossing action games on the Apple App Store in the US. (SensorTower, free data)

  1. Roblox (Roblox Corporation)
  2. Clash Royale (Supercell)
  3. Garena Free Fire: Booyah Day (Garena International)
  4. Clash of Clans (Supercell)
  5. Call of Duty: Mobile (Activision)
  6. PUBG Mobile (PUBG Corporation)
  7. Marvel Contest of Champions (Kabam Games)
  8. MARVEL Strike Force (Scopely)
  9. RAID: Shadow Legends (Plarium)
  10. Brawl Stars (Supercell)

tips for advertising action mobile games in 2020

5 Tips for Advertising Action Mobile Games in 2022

The action game market is extremely competitive. With games like PUBG Mobile that earn billions of dollars, the prospect of making it may seem impossible.

However, if your action game is actually good and you follow a smart user acquisition strategy, you can easily reach the top.

To help you get started, I have put together some tips for advertising action mobile games that make the perfect foundation for scaling up.

1. Identify the Type of Mobile Gamer You’re Targeting

The key to a successful user acquisition strategy is to identify the type of gamer who would be interested in playing your action game.

Since mobile action games can vary in style and difficulty, they can attract different types of mobile gamers. For example, an action game that’s easy to play would be more appealing to casual gamers, while hardcore gamers are most likely to gravitate towards more challenging action games.

Use this gamer groups cheat sheet to better define your target audience:

  • Casual Gamers – play to pass the time, want to be entertained, don’t care about game genre
  • Hardcore Gamers – take gaming seriously, play every day, highly-skilled, follow news and updates
  • Social Gamers – enjoy multiplayer games, love the social aspect of gaming, highly competitive
  • Midcore Gamers – skilled gamers, play occasionally, usually have one favorite genre, often former hardcore gamers

When identifying your target audience, you should also take demographics like location and age into consideration. This will give you a full picture of who you’re trying to reach with user acquisition campaigns and thus improve its effectiveness.

brawl stars video ads

2. Invest in Ad Creatives

Now that you know who you want to target with your user acquisition campaign, the next step is coming up with ad creatives that will speak to that audience. More specifically – video ads.

Here’s the thing.

Superb video ads are vital for advertising action mobile games and getting more users. They’re visually appealing and have the ability to draw people’s attention right away.

Not only that, but research shows that users acquired through video ads tend to be loyal, high-quality players.

But here’s the catch.

Creating high-quality ad creatives that will get you more users is not easy. Especially if you have little or no advertising experience.

To help you out, I have put together some tips that will get you started.

tips for creating a video ad for mobile games

How to Create a Video Ad That Converts?

Let’s start with the basics.

Generally speaking, short video ads (15 to 30 seconds) convert more users. However, if your action game is complex and needs more explaining, it is recommended that you go for the so-called explainer videos which can last up to 90 seconds.

Remember, the purpose of a video ad is to showcase the best features of your action game. Keep that in mind when making videos. That’s why it’s a good idea to include recorded gameplay – it’s the best way to present what your game is all about.

Furthermore, it’s crucial to keep users interested. As you might know, the first couple of seconds are the most important for a converting video ad. So make sure that you start off with a bang.

To keep users engaged throughout the ad, you can utilize different visual effects, captions, transitions, music, and sound effects.

Finally, it’s important to include a clear call to action at the end of the video ad – most commonly it’s “download now”. It directs viewers towards downloading your game.

If you need any help with creating high-quality video ads, don’t hesitate to contact us – it’s what we do best!

3. Start Running Ads on Social Media

According to AppsFlyer Performance Index, Facebook is among the top ad networks for advertising mobile games. I’m sure that doesn’t come as a huge surprise considering Facebook has a large global user base that’s very diverse.

Furthermore, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok are other big social media networks where mobile game publishers should advertise their games. It will result in a bigger reach and more effective user acquisition campaigns.

If you don’t know where to begin, I suggest you start with Facebook Ad Campaigns. Here are some tips you’ll find useful.

This is how you should structure your Facebook ad campaigns

How to Set Up Facebook Ad Campaigns for Advertising Action Mobile Games

When advertising an action mobile game on Facebook, it’s best to go with the Mobile App Ads Campaign.

You first have to register your game on Facebook for Developers site and install Facebook’s SDK.

When creating Mobile App Ads Campaign in Ads Manager, you can choose between two objectives – App Installs or App Engagement (Traffic and Conversions).

Choose App Installs as an objective if your goal is to get more installs.

If you want people to open your app, choose the Traffic objective. However, if you want users to take a specific action in the game, like make a purchase or complete a level, choose the Conversions objective.

In the Audience section, you need to select your target audience. Furthermore, you’ll need to set your budget in the Budget & Schedule section. In the Advanced Options, you can select automatic or manual bidding.

After that, you need to choose between three different ad formats – single image, carousel, or video. For advertising action mobile games, I recommend that you go for the video ad format since it’s the most effective one.

Finally, you need to add the video, choose a headline, and write the ad copy.

Your ad is now created!

tik tok ad network advertising

4. Expand to Other Ad Networks

Advertising action mobile games on social media platforms is a great start. However, in order to take your user acquisition strategy to a new level, you should advertise on other ad networks as well.

As you might already know, Google is a must. Its App Campaigns are highly effective for mobile game user acquisition.

Want to know the best part?

Google makes it easy for developers and publishers to promote their games across its properties like Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, Discover on Google Search, and the Google Display Network.

However, AppLovin, ironSource, and Unity Ads are also among the top ad networks for advertising mobile games, according to AppsFlyer Performance Index. So expand to those networks as well.

But first, let’s start with Google Ads.

google universal app campaign screenshot

How to Set Up Google App Campaigns

Unlike most Google Ads campaigns, you don’t need to create individual ads for Google App Campaigns.

Let me explain.

With App Campaigns, Google creates different ad variations across several formats and networks by using assets you have uploaded or assets from your app’s store listing.

Furthermore, Google also automates targeting and bidding.

To create a Google App Campaign, you need to access Google Ads and select New Campaign. Choose App Promotion as the campaign goal. Just like with Facebook ads, you can choose between App Installs and App Engagement – Google calls it “Campaign subtype”.

You also need to add your app from the list and choose a campaign name and target bids.

The assets are uploaded in the Ad Assets section.

You should upload at least two headline ideas and one description idea (I advise you to add 5 of each). When it comes to image, video and HTML5, you have the option to upload up to 20 of each of those assets.

Since video is the most effective ad format for mobile games, it’s best that you focus on that. However, make sure to upload your own video.

Here’s the deal.

If you don’t upload a video, Google will create a video using assets from your app store listings page.

And that’s not good.

The video quality will be subpar since Google will use random images and text from your app store page to create the video – you have no control over how it looks.

That’s why it’s imperative that you always upload your own video and other assets. It allows you to have full creative control over your ads.

Later in the article, I analyze video ads from top action mobile game publishers. So if you want to learn how to create kickass videos for action games, make sure to stick around!

mobile game ads split testing ab

5. Test Everything

If you want to reach the top charts, there’s no room for guesswork. Instead of going with your gut feeling, you need to trust the data. That’s what all top mobile game publishers do.

When I say test everything, I really mean everything. From your app store page listing to ad creatives and everything in between.

Testing ad creatives is particularly important because it can significantly improve the results of your user acquisition campaign. Better ads = more users.

The secret is in producing a large number of ad variations. I don’t mean 5 or 20. I mean hundreds.

Then you go through extensive A/B testing and analyze the data.

Here’s what will happen – you’ll notice certain ads don’t perform well at all, while others produce astonishing results.

The next step is simple – get rid of underperforming ads and focus on the ones that work, i.e., create even more variations of the top-performing ads.

Test again.

Clear patterns will emerge and you’ll have data from which you can identify the winning ad formula.

Simple, right?

mobile action games ad examples analysis

Video Ad Examples from Top Action Mobile Games

Still not sure how to create a winning video ad for your action game?

Don’t stress.

In this section, I analyze video ads from the most successful action mobile games. You’ll be able to see real ad examples and why they work or don’t work. It’s basically competitor research, which is really important when coming up with an advertising strategy.

Let’s begin.

Brawl Stars (Supercell)

The mega-popular Supercell action game, Brawl Stars, has been downloaded more than 100,000,000 times just on Google Play. It’s famous for its fast-paced 3v3 battles and the ability to play against players from all over the globe.

Let’s take a look at some of the techniques Supercell uses to advertise this notorious action game.

Video ad duration: 00:19

Platforms: Facebook, Audience Network

Ad Copy: Download now for 3v3 mayhem!

Brawl Stars Video Ad Analysis

What’s instantly clear when you look at any Brawl Stars video ad is its high-production value. Granted, that level of video production is probably unattainable for a lot of developers. However, there are still some great lessons to be learned from Brawl Stars video ads.

What’s unique about the ad above is that it begins with Supercell branding. Notice that there’s not just the logo, but sonic branding as well, i.e., an audio logo.

If you have no clue what I mean by sonic branding – cue “Netflix sound”. Get it now?

There’s also a reference to other Supercell games – “From the makers of Clash of Clans and Clash Royale.” However, if you’re not a recognizable, world-famous brand like Supercell, this is kind of unnecessary.

brawl stars video ad
Tip: create multiple ad variations in different dimensions

Then we really get into the ad and mayhem ensues. We see gameplay footage of Brawl Stars’ epic battles, and we also get introduced to some of the characters.

The thing all Brawl Stars video ads have in common is lots of action. This makes sense – if you made an action game, it’s only logical to create a video ad that’s packed full of dynamic action scenes.

You’re probably wondering: how to portray that feeling of excitement in the video?

There are a couple of techniques you can use.

First of all, it’s important to choose gameplay footage that represents the most exciting parts of your game. Furthermore, the scenes need to be very short and edited in a dynamic way. You’ll notice that individual scenes in this Brawl Stars ad don’t last more than a few seconds. Also, the entire video lasts for only 19 seconds.

This results in a fast-paced video ad you can’t take your eyes off of.

Another important tip is to use music and sound effects to your advantage – you’ll notice it plays a big role in all Brawl Stars ads. Imagine if Supercell went with slow-paced piano music instead of this trendy electronic song full of energy?

The ad would be boring and nobody would watch it. As simple as that. No matter how well you edit the video, music can make or break your ad. 

Finally, always finish up video ads with an end card that consists of branding and a call to action (download for free, install now, etc.). Remember that you always need to tell the audience what to do – direct them to take the desired action.

Call of Duty: Mobile (Activision)

Call of Duty is a popular first-person shooter that finally came to mobile in October 2019.

Here’s how Activision advertises this world-famous mobile action game.

Video ad duration: 00:18

Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, Messenger

Ad Copy: Take the adrenaline-fueled action of Call of Duty with you wherever you go!

Call of Duty: Mobile Video Ad Analysis

This Call of Duty: Mobile video ad is a good lesson in mobile game influencer marketing, which is known to be very effective for mobile games.

In the ad, we see two influencers, The Spratt and MarleyThirteen play Call of Duty: Mobile and comment on it – it looks like a typical gamer video.

Considering YouTube and Twitch gamer videos are very popular, especially with the Gen Z audience, this is a good way to leverage their influence to promote your game. When you collaborate with influencers, you’re basically getting access to their audience, which is highly valuable.

What’s great about gaming influencers is that they have excellent gaming knowledge and real authority in the industry. They’re the new celebrities.

Tips for Choosing the Right Gaming Influencer:

  • Consider micro-influencers.Even though they have fewer followers, they get 41 percent more engagement than mega and macro-influencers.
  • Check influencer’s target audience and demographics. Ask for screenshots of their social media analytics page.
  • Ensure that the influencer creates top-notch content and posts regularly. Does their content provide value to the followers?
  • Check the engagement on their social media profiles. Does their like to follower ratio seem good?
  • Notice whether they have a great relationship with their audience.Do they communicate with the audience and start conversations?
  • Assess influencer’s storytelling and content creation abilities. Can they make people excited about playing your action game?
  • Consider whether they’re a good fit for your brand. Does the influencer have similar values?
  • Who are the developers and publishers this influencer collaborated with in the past? Are they your competitors?
  • Does the influencer follow the rules of sponsored and paid posts?
  • Ensure the influencer has authority in the gaming nicheand can actually influence his/her followers. More than 60% of users trust advice from their favorite creator.
  • Be respectful to the influencer.According to Crowdtap, 54% of influencers report they will only work with brands that show them respect.

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (Moontoon)

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is one of the most popular MOBA games, famous for adrenaline-fueled 5v5 battles against real opponents.

Let’s take a look at how it is advertised.

Video ad duration: 00:29

Ad Copy: Over 300 million players have chosen to play! Perfect Balance! Plenty of heroes to use! The most friendly MOBA game – Mobile Legends: Bang Bang!

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Video Ad Analysis

Similar to the Brawl Stars ad, Moontoon has included Mobile Legends: Bang Bang logo (visual and sonic) at the beginning of the ad.

Then the action begins.

We’re introduced to Lesley – a badass female character that demands attention. Moontoon has also taken this opportunity to remind users that a new skin for this character is available.

Considering the fact that players love customizing their characters and that this drives in-app purchases, it’s a good idea to emphasize these things in the ad.

Then we move on to the gameplay footage – a crucial part of any video ad. It is beneficial to show people what the game actually looks like and give a taste of what it’s like to play it.

As it was mentioned before, music and sound effects are very important for mobile game video ads. This Mobile Legends ad uses upbeat guitar music and strategic sound effects to amplify the gameplay scenes and make them more exciting.

At the end of the video, there’s an interesting slogan instead of the classic “download now” call to action button – “We didn’t invent the smartphone, but we invented the MOBA for it.”

Above you can see an example of a Mobile Legends: Bang Bang video ad that could use some improvement.

Here’s the thing about this ad.

The beginning is great – the ad starts with a fun song and we hear the words “Let’s go!”. A majestic Mobile Legends character with golden wings is flying through the air and shooting enemies on the ground.

Cool, right? It’s definitely an attention-grabber.

But then…nothing happens.

The character just keeps on flying in a continuous shot and then the ad just ends with an abrupt cut. No end card or nothing.

It gets kind of awkward.

So while it’s great to start off with a bang (the first few seconds of a video ad are crucial), it’s also important to maintain that energy and excitement throughout the ad.

People get bored fast. Don’t let that happen.

Action Mobile Game Marketing Statistics You Need in 2022

The final step is to benchmark your action game with the mobile game market and competitor analysis.

The following statistics come from GameAnalytics and are a great way to measure the success of your action game as well as set realistic goals.

In this section, I analyze statistics for all key mobile game metrics like user retention, average session length, stickiness, average revenue per daily active user, and many more.

Let’s start.

User Retention Statistics for Action Mobile Games

User retention is an important KPI because it reveals the percentage of people who keep playing a game after the first day and beyond.

Usually, you’ll find that user retention is measured after days 1, 7, and 28. However, you can measure it after any period of time.

day 1 user retention statistics for action mobile games in 2021

Day 1 User Retention Statistics for Action Games

Day 1 user retention is the first sign of how well your game is doing. If most players don’t come back after the first day – you’re in trouble. This means that it’s probably best to cut your losses and move on to the next project.

For the top 2% of action games, day 1 retention rates were consistently high throughout 2020. However, they were the highest during March – June (an average of 46%).

Day 1 retention for the top 25% of action games peaked at 29.06% in April – most likely due to the lockdown caused by the pandemic. 

For the median 50% of games, day 1 retention was slightly lower overall, ranging from 19% to 20.59%. Furthermore, it was the highest in the first half and the lowest in the second half of 2020. 

Naturally, the bottom 25% of action games had much lower day 1 user retention, ranging from 11.11% to 12.67%. 

day 7 user retention statistics for action mobile games in 2021

Day 7 User Retention Statistics for Action Games

This metric will tell you the percentage of players who come back after one week of playing. Expect that it will be lower than day 1 retention since some users tend to lose interest in games pretty quickly.

Day 7 retention for the top 2% of games peaked in the first two months of 2020 – 17.31% in January and 17.39% in February. It was the lowest in August (16.03%). 

We see the same pattern for the bottom 25% – they had peak day 7 retention during January and February. It was the lowest in August (5.43%) as well. 

Once again, the same trend was reflected when it comes to the median and the bottom 25% of action games. 

day 28 user retention statistics for action mobile games in 2021

Day 28 User Retention Statistics for Action Games

Retaining users for a full month is everything but easy. As you might expect, day 28 is even lower for all mobile game genres.

As expected, day 28 retention was lower for all action games than day 1 and day 7 user retention. 

For the top 2% of action games, it ranged from 7.17% to 8.31%.

Day 28 retention for the top 25% peaked in February (1.8%). It was the lowest in September (1.5%). 

The median 50% of action games retained the most users in January and February (0.65% and 0.67% respectively). The lowest day 28 retention for median action games was in September (0.51%). 

How to Improve User Retention?

Here are some actionable tips for improving user retention for action games:

  • Make a fun, well-designed action game – if your game sucks, there’s not much you can do to improve user retention.
  • Remind users to come back – this can be done by using push notifications.
  • Reward loyal users.
  • Regularly add new game content – it’s what keeps it interesting.
  • Add daily challenges and leaderboards.
  • Nurture the community around your board game and encourage user-generated content.
  • Most importantly, avoid repetitiveness – it kills user retention.

average session length statistics for action mobile games in 2021

Average Session Length Statistics for Action Mobile Games

ASL tells you how long people play on average, and it’s another important KPI for developers.

Average session length for the top 2% of action games was incredibly high – it went up to 47 minutes!

We noticed a big drop in ASL when it came to the top 25% of action games. The longest was 6 minutes and 39 seconds, which was significantly shorter than the ASL for games in the top 2%. 

For the median 50% of action games, ASL was half the ASL of the top 25% action games – it averaged at 3 minutes and 42 seconds. 

The average session length for the bottom 25% of action games ranged from 2 minutes and 25 seconds to 2 minutes and 33 seconds.

arppu statistics for action mobile games in 2021

ARPPU Statistics for Action Mobile Games

A question all developers and publishers have is – how much do users spend?

Average revenue per paying user, is a metric that answers that question.

ARPPU for the top 2% of action games was quite high – it ranged from $98.23 to $109.14.

ARPPU dropped off significantly for the top 25% of action games. The highest revenue these games got was $13.98.

For the median 50% games, it was even lower. It ranged from $5.70 in January to $4.60 in December.

The bottom 25% of action games got very little revenue per paying user – about $1.5 on average. 

arpdau statistics for action mobile games in 2021

ARPDAU Statistics for Action Mobile Games

ARPDAU tells us what is the average revenue generated from an average active user.

For the top 2% of action games, it was between $0.97 and $1.37. It was the highest during the last four months of 2020. 

The highest ARPDAU for the top 25% of action games was in January ($0.07) and the lowest in November ($0.05). 

When we got to the median 50% of action games, ARPDAU was even lower – $0.01 on average. 

The bottom 25% of action games got almost no revenue per daily active user – $0.002 on average. 

conversions statistics for action mobile games in 2021

Conversion Statistics for Action Mobile Games

Last, but not least – conversion statistics!

Conversion data is the percentage of users who made a purchase that day.

For the top 2% of action games, conversion rates ranged between 2.94% (July) and 3.88% (January). 

Furthermore, for the top 25%, conversion rates were between 0.77% and 0.85%. 

For the median 50% of action games, conversion rates were the highest in the second half of 2020, reaching 0.35%. 

The bottom 25% of action games naturally had very low conversion rates – an average of 0.13%. 

Final Thoughts on Advertising Action Mobile Games

Congrats on making it this far – you’re one step further to mastering mobile game marketing.

Was this article helpful? Did I miss anything?

Let me know in the comments below!

And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to get important updates on the mobile gaming industry.


About Udonis

Udonis is an independent full-service mobile marketing agency that acquired more than 200,000,000 users for mobile games since 2018.

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