Wondering how to advertise a casual mobile game and acquire more users?
We got you!
Here’s what you’ll learn in this guide:
- Best tips for casual mobile game advertising
- Top user acquisition strategies
- How to create ads for casual games (including examples of top-performing ads)
- Top casual mobile games and publishers
- Casual mobile game statistics
Here we go!
Top-Grossing Casual Games in 2022
- Candy Crush Saga
- Coin Master
- Puzzle and Dragons
- Royal Match
- Bingo Blitz
- Candy Crush Soda Saga
Data source: AppMagic. Get 3 days of free access to all AppMagic’s features, as well as 10% off, by clicking this link.
How to Advertise a Casual Mobile Game: 5 UA Tips
You’re probably wondering, how to get your game in the top charts? What makes top casual game publishers so successful?
One of the biggest factors is – advertising.
Yes, your casual game needs to be good, that should go without saying. But you would be surprised how big of a role advertising plays in all of this.
Here’s the thing.
You can develop the best casual game ever, but if you don’t advertise it, nobody is going to play it. It’s as simple as that.
Here’s what you need to know about advertising a casual mobile game.
1. Understand Casual Gamers
Casual gamers are not your typical gamers. In fact, they’re wildly different.
Here’s the thing.
Unlike hardcore or mid-core gamers, casual gamers play to pass the time and just have fun.
Know those people who play games while waiting at the dentist’s office or in the bathroom?
They would fall into the category of casual gamers.
This type of gamer is into mobile games that are highly engaging and simple to play right from the start.
Another thing to keep in mind is that a large number of casual gamers are women, and a lot are older than 30. (Almost 60% of Candy Crush Saga players are women.)
In order to advertise a casual mobile game successfully, you need to take all of this into consideration. The success of any ad campaign depends on understanding who the target audience is.
2. Learn How to Make Superior Creatives (Or Hire Someone to Do It)
Stunning and engaging creatives are crucial for casual mobile game advertising – they can make or break your game.
Here are a couple of key things that describe a good creative for a casual game. First of all, it should be simple and short – you need to captivate the audience’s attention right away.
Video ads are the perfect way to do that.
Make sure it’s exciting and fun, and that it showcases the best features of your casual game. You can do this by including gameplay introducing the characters, etc.
A high-quality copy should be included in your creatives because that’s what drives users to download the game.
It is also recommended to create multiple variations of your creatives and test them. That way, you’ll get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. When you find a creative that works, simply create a couple of different variations of that ad and test it again. This is an ongoing process and it’s essential for casual mobile game advertising.
However, if creatives are not your strong suit, it might be a good idea to hire someone else to do it for you.
Later in the guide, we analyze ads from top casual mobile games, so make sure you keep on reading!
3. Cross-Promote/Advertise Your Casual Mobile Game in Other Apps
If you have multiple games, it’s a smart idea to cross-promote.
Here’s the thing.
If a player likes one of your games, chances are they like your other game as well – especially if both of them fall in the casual category.
However, cross-promotion can also include advertising a casual game in other apps/games.
Here are some thoughts on cross-promotion from Stacy Capiro, founder of Growth Marketing.
“One tip for advertising a mobile game is finding other new mobile games that are starting to build a userbase similar in size to your own.
Then you can cross-promote each other’s mobile games on the home screen of each of your games to have a chance to gain access to a new audience that has a high likelihood of downloading your game since you know they have already downloaded and are using another similar mobile game.”
4. App Store Optimization for Casual Mobile Games
Unlike ads, app store optimization is a free way to promote your casual mobile game. It helps you boost the visibility of your casual game in the app stores and acquire new users. App store ratings have a direct influence on conversions.
Here’s what Tarun Gurang, Digital Marketer, iFourTechnolab Pvt. Ltd. has to say about ASO and casual game advertising:
“In my opinion, the best tips to promote casual mobile games are through ASO and making it free. The main reason for that is 90% of mobile gaming users want to play a free game. This is where casual mobile gaming comes in – it doesn’t require any fixed time to play it, you can play it whenever you want and from any place.
And through ASO, you can promote your game to more interested users and increase downloads. Though it takes time and effort to do it, it’s not an impossible task. The thing that matters is to get users interested to play the game.”
That’s what makes ASO an important part of your advertising strategy.
Here’s how you do it.
The first step to successful app store optimization is coming up with relevant keywords for your casual game. Ask yourself, what keywords best describe your casual game? You can use tools like Ubersuggest to help you.
Once you decided on the keywords you want to use, it’s time to implement them.
Here is where you should place the keywords:
- game title
- game subtitle (iOS only)
- keyword field (iOS only)
- promotional text (iOS only)
- description (Google Play)
Next is uploading an eye-catching icon. This step might not seem important, but did you know that a good icon can increase downloads 560%? (Source: SplitMetrics)
You also need great screenshots and promo videos – those also increase conversions and are crucial for casual mobile game advertising.
To learn more about ASO, check out our app store optimization guide.
5. Test and Track Everything
The key to advertising a casual mobile game is to test everything. And I mean everything – creatives, target audience, game trailers, icons, screenshots, etc.
An analytical and scientific approach is crucial for the success of your casual mobile game.
Furthermore, you need to track different metrics like retention rate, CPI, DAU, MAU, ARPDAU, etc.
Here are the most important mobile game metrics you should track.
Bonus Tips from Industry Experts
We have asked Josh Loveridge, managing director of Stratton Studios and Loveridge Designs for his thoughts on advertising a casual mobile game.
Here’s what John has to say.
Use the “Give, Give, Get ” mentality.
“The Give, Give, Get mentality offers gamers access to premium online content in return for opt-in brand engagement. This allows advertisers a unique way to capture a wide and highly captivated audience.
The Give, Give, Get model has worked stunningly time and time again on mobile because players are not only spending lots of time in games, but they are also very engaged in their mobile activities.
Recent studies by Google show that nearly 82 percent of players recognize mobile ads. With the above model giving conversion rates as high as 89%+, with click-through rates to sites up to 30%.
As more cashflow and competitors enter the gaming industry, it will become more challenging to connect with users, which in turn means that engaging ad formats such as the “Give, Give, Get” model will be at the forefront of the industry, connecting brands and players alike.”
Jesse Lempiäinen from Geeklab says, ”Casual games are games that are usually meant to be easy to pick up and play while commuting with a short session and less deep meta. Generally speaking, you are not selling a fantasy with these games, but the core game instead. Because of this, the main motivations and psychological hooks around the ads in this genre are often built around visual satisfaction and completion, resulting in success or failure.
We’ve seen puzzle games like Homescapes run ads with ”fake-gameplay,” where they are selling a fantasy that does not exist in the game. While the ads themselves can perform well, the in-game KPIs such as retention will most definitely take a hit on the performance, as the users are bought in with a fantasy that the game is not delivering. To fight this, Homescapes have introduced mini-games that provide the experience from the ads.
To sum up: Casual games are privileged to be able to sell the game with the actual gameplay. While adding these ”fake” gameplay features to the mix can be tempting, you need to pay close attention to your ingame KPIs to make sure the trade-off isn’t too big.”
Advertise a Casual Mobile Game: 3 Ad Examples from Top Casual Games
Creating top-performing ads for your casual mobile game is essential for your game’s success. There’s no better way to learn how to create top-notch ads than by analyzing competitor’s ads.
That’s why we have decided to break down and dissect ads from top casual game publishers.
Ready to find out what makes a great casual game ad?
Keep on reading!
1. Angry Birds 2 Ad Example
Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger
Video Ad Breakdown
In the first couple of frames of this Angry Birds 2 ad, you can see Red about to be catapulted as a huge hand pulls back the slingshot.
What does that do?
It creates tension and suspense. You’re wondering what will happen next?
It makes you want to continue watching the ad instead of scrolling past it.
So what can we learn from the first second of the video ad?
You need to grab people’s attention – by any means necessary. The beginning of your casual mobile game video ad should be highly dynamic and engaging. Give people a good reason to watch the ad.
Once you get them hooked, it’s crucial to keep users engaged throughout the length of the video ad – you don’t want them to lose interest half-way through.
In the Angry Birds 2 ad, the excitement increases as Red is sent flying through the air.
When it hits the target, the green pigs explode in a cloud of smoke – another very engaging and satisfying scene. Not only does it showcase main game mechanics, but it also creates excitement.
As the camera moves away, we see the game on a smartphone screen as well as the player – who is a young woman that doesn’t look anything like the stereotypical ‘gamer’.
That’s very significant.
As I mentioned before, 58% of Angry Birds players are female so it’s important to represent that demographic since it’s their target audience.
In the last few seconds of the video, we can see the most important information about the game – game title, smartphone screen with Angry Birds 2 gameplay, the main character, and of course, call to action (download now).
The video sound is another important aspect here.
The music is kind of in the background, but there’s a narrator whose voice leads us through the ad. “Angry Birds 2, it’s bigger, better, and angrier than ever,” – which is quite catchy, just like a good copy.
That brings us to the next part of the Angry Birds 2 video ad breakdown.
Angry Birds 2 Copy Analysis
An outstanding copy is another essential part of a mobile game ad that converts.
In this Angry Birds ad, there’s no text in the video itself, but there is in the ad description – “It’s not bad to get mad.”
Their other ads include text like “Weather report for today: sunny with a chance of Angry,” “Anger management in five easy steps,” and “Can you pass these levels?”
The last one is indicative of the game itself – it’s easy to play, but it’s very hard to master. That’s what makes it so addictive and engaging. It also poses a challenge to the users.
Another important thing to note that all Angry Birds ads have multiple versions. The ad is dynamic which means the advertiser can add up to 10 images or videos and up to 5 text assets. The audience is shown the version that will produce the best results.
According to Facebook, dynamic creative ads can lower CPI while increasing conversions and app installs.
Sounds perfect, right?
2. Coin Master Ad Example
Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Audience Network
Coin Master Video Ad Breakdown
Coin Master went in a different direction with their ads and collaborated with J.Lo and the Kardashians. You have probably seen those ads pop-up all over Instagram and Facebook.
This a brilliant idea because it’s an influencer marketing campaign at its core.
J.Lo is a huge star and she has made a comeback recently with her Super Bowl halftime show. People just love her. And the Kardashians are still very much in the spotlight. Love them or hate them, you know who they are – the whole world does.
So showing J.Lo and the Kardashians as Coin Master players enables Moon Active to reach a whole new audience. It’s a smart user acquisition strategy.
Granted, we can only imagine the ungodly amount of money Moon Active had to dump in this campaign. It’s not something a small game studio can afford.
However, studios with a smaller budget can learn from the general idea of influencer marketing. You don’t have to hire huge celebrities and macro-influencers like the Kardashians – there are micro gaming influencers you can collaborate with.
The essence of this campaign is the fact that users trust recommendations from other people. If they see J.Lo or some gamer they like from YouTube play a certain game, they’re inclined to play it too.
Another good lesson you can learn from Coin Master ads is localization. For example, they have Spanish versions of all of the ads that run in the United States (since there are a lot of Spanish-speaking users in the US).
Moreover, there are subtitles on all Coin Master ads (both English and Spanish). That’s a good idea considering most people mute videos on social media and the conversations in these ads are crucial for understanding it.
There’s also a couple of different versions of each ad, which is a smart thing to do. You should always have multiple creatives for your casual game which you then test. If one version of the ad performs better than others, you go with that and create more creatives that are similar.
So much of casual mobile game advertising is about split testing. It’s not like Moon Active created perfect Coin Master ads that convert right off the bat – it takes a lot of time, testing, and analysis.
Coin Master Copy Analysis
Let’s look at the are three different versions of the J.Lo ad copy:
- 🎵🌟OMG! J.Lo is Getting Louder At The Supermarket! 🎤 Attack Your Enemies 😈 & Steal Their Coins 💰 Play Now! ⭐️⭐️🐷🐷
- Don’t be fooled by the Coins that she got, she’s still Jenny from the Block! 😎 Has J.Lo attacked your Village yet? 😍🎉
- 🎵🌟J.Lo is waiting for tonight to Raid your Village! 😍💰 Attack Your Enemies 😈 & Steal Their Coins 💰 Play Now! ⭐️⭐️🐷🐷
Also, J.Lo posted this on her social media:
Ain’t it funny you thought you could attack my village on Coin Master and get away with it?! 😆 Download Coin Master now for free in the App Store and Google Play. #coinmaster #DidYouJustAttackMyVillage ✨
All of them are quite simple but exciting and fun with all the emojis. It, of course, highlights the influencers. A very direct call to action is included which invites users to play now.
3. Homescapes Ad Example
Video Ad Breakdown
Homescapes is an editor’s choice casual game on Google Play, and it’s wildly popular.
All Playrix’s ads have the same idea behind it – they don’t portray the main aspects of the gameplay, but a separate puzzle.
Now, you might be wondering why that is? Wouldn’t it be more effective to show actual gameplay? It kind of seems misleading.
But here’s the thing.
These ads work!
Think about it.
Would a huge mobile game studio like Playrix spend a ton of money on ads that are not bringing them new users?
Of course, they wouldn’t.
But the question is why do this type of ads work? Who are they targeting?
In the case of casual games advertising, ads that are simple and hook you with some type of challenge or a puzzle perform well. Plus, all Homescapes ads end up with a fail – this makes viewers think they can do better. In other words, it poses a challenge to them.
As it was mentioned before, in order to successfully advertise a casual mobile game, you need to understand casual gamers.
Casual gamers don’t want to spend hours understanding and learning the game – they want to play it immediately, wherever they are.
These types of ads speak to that audience of casual and puzzle players who just want some quick fun.
What can be noticed in Homescape’s copy is that creates a challenge for the users – “Think you can do better?”
This is a simple, but effective trick that draws users in and makes them download the game.
Casual Mobile Game Statistics You Need to Know in 2022
When it comes to advertising a casual mobile game, it’s crucial that you’re familiar with all the metrics and statistics.
That’s why we have decided to put together all the most important casual mobile game statistics including retention rate, session length, session count, playtime, and install ratio.
Data source: GameAnalytics
User Retention Statistics for Casual Games
Getting a lot of installs for your card game is one thing, but the tricky part is getting users to keep playing.
That’s what makes user retention so important.
Since user retention is typically measured after days 1, 7, and 28, we’re going to focus on statistics for those days.
Day 1 User Retention Statistics
- Top 25% of games: around 30%
- Median 50% of games: around 21%
- Bottom 25% of casino games: around 12%
Day 7 User Retention Statistics
- Top 25% of games: around 6%
- Median 50% of games: around 3%
- Bottom 25% of games: around 1.3%
User Retention Statistics: Day 28
- Top 25% of games: around 2%
- Median 50% of games: around 0.7%
- Bottom 25% of games: around 0%
How to Improve Casual Mobile Game User Retention
So how to get a good retention rate for a casual mobile game?
We asked Mike Khorev, a marketing consultant with experience in mobile games.
Here’s what he has to say about improving casual mobile game user retention.
“I’ve handled several mobile developer clients in the past, and I am also an avid gamer so I’ll answer this based on experience.
I think there are several factors that are really important in maintaining and improving user retention:
1. First Impression
To keep gamers coming back, it’s very important to give them a great first impression and user experience. There are games that can bounce back from bad initial launch, but it’s typically more difficult. Make sure your game is well-polished during launch, and provide a good interactive tutorial.
Also, a huge aspect of a great first impression is the game’s overall designs and gameplay.
2. The balance between “fullness” and DLC content
This is why managing retention is sometimes tricky. On the one hand, you’ll need to give users the feeling that they do get a finished game on their hands, but on the other hand, we’ll need to update them with new content from time to time. This can be very difficult to maintain in the long run.
3. Realistic microtransaction
Microtransactions and gachas are getting all the backlash nowadays, but at the same time, we all know it’s how game developers (especially mobile game developers) make money nowadays.
In my opinion, it’s better to be honest with the microtransaction options (especially if it involves RNG/gacha), their % rates and overall don’t be too greedy. Give players affordable (or even free) ways to get something valuable out of your games so they can still have fun when they can’t spend a lot on microtransactions.”
You can read more about user retention here.
- Top 25% of games: around 27 minutes
- Median 50% of games: around 12 minutes
- Bottom 25% of games: around 8 minutes
- Top 25% of games: 6 minutes
- Median 50% of games: 4 minutes
- Bottom 25% of games: 3 minutes
- Top 25% of games: around 4
- Median 50% of games: around 3
- Bottom 25% of games: around 2
- Top 25% of games: around 56%
- Median 50% of games: around 35%
- Bottom 25% of games: around 17%
Final Thoughts on How to Advertise a Casual Mobile Game
Now we want to hear from you!
Which casual mobile game advertising tip will you try first? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!
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