8 Best Practices for Mobile Gaming User Acquisition

opinionThe following is a guest contributed post from Maïwenn Joncour, Campaign Manager at AdBuddiz.

This study presents the lessons learned from 10 interviews of major gaming advertisers on mobile. The goal is to identify key success factors and new trends within the mobile UA (User Acquisition) space. The following summary aims at helping any individual wanting to acquire gamers on mobile today. You will find the full report here.


  1. Try Various UA Partners

Most of the studios we interviewed work with 5+ UA partners: 4 of them said that they have between 5 and 20 partners.

  1. Find Transparent & Direct Partners

Advertisers mainly work with 2 types of UA partners to get transparent and direct traffic: ad networks (like AdBuddiz) and social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter).

Transparency is a key factor when choosing a new partner. 3 out of 10 advertisers require the app names of the publishers when choosing an UA partner. 5 out of 10 do not recommend working with affiliation platforms.

  1. Optimize Your Campaigns

All 10 advertisers keep track of several KPIs to optimize their campaigns : in-app purchases, retention… 2 main optimization tools are identified : blacklist/whitelist publishers and apply a different (Cost Per Install) per publisher.

A 3rd tool, automatic optimization, is highly appreciated. 7 out of 10 advertisers use post-install event optimization, meaning that the UA partner automatically pauses traffic sources that don’t reach the KPI target.

  1. Dabble In Video Ads

8 out of 10 advertisers declare that video is the best ad format in terms of performance (volume of installs) and KPIs (retention, in-app purchases).

2 ad formats co-exist: rewarded and non-rewarded videos. With a rewarded video, the user earns some virtual item in the app he is using in exchange for viewing the video ad. Advertisers notice similar performance on both ad formats.

  1. Maximize Cross Marketing

Cross Marketing is a way to promote your other apps within your own app.

There are various ways to do Cross Marketing: banners within the game, emails, push notifications… Some studios set a specific CPM (Cost Per Thousand) floor under which they prefer to do cross-promotion rather than monetizing their traffic through advertising.

  1. Prepare For RTB Take Off

7 out of 10 advertisers have launched RTB (Real Time Bidding) campaigns. Only 1 of them considers it a success. The interviewees told us that RTB is not ideal for them as they are used to CPI acquisition. However, everyone agrees to see a high potential in the future for RTB.

  1. Investigate Retargeting

The goal of retargeting is to reengage high-quality users who stopped playing a game, by displaying ads to them. As a studio, you can choose to promote among these high-quality users the same game they stopped playing, or a new similar game of yours. You can do it via Facebook or RTB.

  1. Target Tier 2 And 3 Countries

In advertising, targeted countries are usually divided into 3 categories with different pricing.

Although most advertisers focus their UA efforts on Tier 1 geos (US, Canada, Australia…) because they can potentially generate higher revenues, 6 out of 10 advertisers have bought traffic from Tier 2 (Europe, Taiwan…) or Tier 3 geos (Southeast Asia, latin America…). They can benefit from lower competition and CPI.


Quality is a big focus : advertisers are definitely going towards less, but transparent and trustworthy partners. In addition, acquiring new users is equally as important as reengaging its users through new tools like RTB, retargeting or Cross Marketing.