8 Mobile Games Marketing Trends for 2015

What a difference a year makes in mobile.

2014 has seen the birth of true native advertising within mobile apps from all verticals, emerging markets such as Latin America starting to build momentum and Asia’s mobile gaming market growing exponentially, with Japan in the lead and China hot on the heels of the US to become the second largest mobile games market.

What will 2015 bring in terms of mobile games marketing trends?

And as 2014 reaches its twilight, the thoughts of mobile games marketing professionals are shifting towards what 2015 will bring. We’re in Q4 now, and it’s only natural to wonder what’s around the corner in terms of trends and developments. What will matter most next year in mobile games and how can we stay ahead? AppLift have compiled a list of our own predictions as well as those of other industry minds:

1. A stronger focus on video
As well as video previews now being available in the iOS 8 App Store, we expect to see TV and YouTube continue to boom, as well as mobile video advertising. The latter is currently the fastest growing category in mobile advertising, and video eCPMs (effective cost per thousand impressions) are eight times higher than banner ads.

2. Social features and social media virality
We will see many more social features added to games, just like King’s new Candy Crush Soda Saga. Our VP Strategic Development, Maor Sadra, predicts word of mouth, especially leveraged through social media platforms, will create a virality-based ecosystem which puts users in the driving seat and vindicates their preferences. This will increase supply and improve ROI for advertisers.

3. Western publishers partnering up with local firms to take on global markets
As Latin America and the Middle East gain ground and industry giants penetrate Asian mobile games markets like China, we will see more publishers partner with local firms in emerging and mature markets to take piece of the cake, such as PlayPhone, who recently partnered with a Saudi Arabian firm to take their mobile games to the Middle East.

4.Ads abstracting away from traditional advertising dynamic (Eric Seufert, Head of Marketing at Wooga)
The App Install Ad format will fundamentally evolve, so that we see more natural and native advertising. Retargeting and deep-linking will allow for less obtrusive ads like in-feed and search engine ads, while new ad formats will break away from the norm with users being paid to watch ads and asked to rate ads to help filter the ads they see.

5. App Store chart position inflation caused by ‘app constellations’ (Eric Seufert, Head of Marketing at Wooga)
Due to apps by Facebook and Google occupying several spots in the top 20, plus companies like Spotify and Pinterest transporting their massive existing user bases to mobile, earning a top 20 position – already a mean feat – just got harder. Now, for example, the amount of downloads required for a #1 position will only allow an app to reach #2.

6. Overall monetization on the rise (Eric Seufert, Head of Marketing at Wooga)
While tablet shipments are falling, phablet shipments are on the rise. This is a good thing for app developers, Eric says, because either way, phablet is a bigger screen and users spend more money on bigger screens. Additionally, CPMs are trending upwards, meaning more ad monetization revenue for publishers.

7. More user control over ads (Ran Avrahamy, Head of Marketing at AppsFlyer)
Users know more and more about what they want in terms of ad consumption, and might be more receptive to ads if they are incentivized or rewarded for opening them. Ran says marketers should enable users to personalize their own experiences, giving them the option to choose the types of ads they see, how they receive them and when.

8.Microtargeting (Ran Avrahamy, Head of Marketing AppsFlyer)
There is technology available which allows marketers to understand what users want. Granular targeting via social media advertising campaigns and across ad networks In this way, marketers can optimize their mobile marketing depending on engagement levels and show ads only to a relevant and responsive audience.

For more trend predictions, read Ran’s post on Mobile Marketing Trends to Look Out for in 2015 and check out Eric’s full presentation on the 5 Trends in Mobile Games Marketing for 2015.