Gaming apps to spend $48.5 billion on user acquisition by 2022

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Gaming is the trailblazer throughout the cellular business, and it has adopted a exceptional trajectory fueled by savvy advertising groups and a classy, aggressive strategy to gathering and deciphering information. It’s an extremely aggressive area, and it reveals no indicators of slowing down.


Table of Content

In accordance with evaluation, app set up advert spend* in gaming totaled $22 billion in 2019. We challenge that spend will greater than double by 2022 when gaming app entrepreneurs will allocate $48.5 billion in the direction of user acquisition (UA) worldwide.

First, the general context: We just lately launched a international app set up advert spend projection that signifies a strong progress in UA budgets throughout all verticals, which we anticipate to hit $118 billion in 2022. That’s virtually one third of whole cellular advert spend (which incorporates in-app and cellular net advertisements throughout show, video and so forth).

However throughout the general app financial system, the gaming vertical is in a league of its personal. A deep-dive reveals a projected 30% year-over-year progress by 2022, with gaming UA attracting about 40% of all app set up acquisition budgets.

We challenge that each area will expertise wholesome progress from 2019 to 2022.


The state of gaming app advertising

Key findings per area


Pushed by large gaming markets like China, Japan, and Korea, APAC’s gaming UA spend is the world’s highest, and is anticipated to double from $12.8 billion in 2019 to $25.8 billion in 2022.

Though China is the #1 app market when it comes to spend, it’s significantly difficult to measure as a result of there are a whole bunch of third celebration Android shops as an alternative of a single Google Play (which isn’t obtainable in China).

Nonetheless, advances out there’s measurability have enabled us to incorporate the nation in our forecast for the primary time. As such, we estimate that gaming UA spend in China reached at the least $5 billion in 2019.

Gaming powerhouses Japan and Korea boast the best consumer LTV on this planet. Because of this, the price of media is the best globally at $2.8 per gaming set up in Japan and $3 in Korea. This pushed whole gaming UA spend in Japan to surpass $800 million in 2019, whereas Korea attracted budgets totaling roughly $700 million.

As a result of hardcore video games are extraordinarily well-liked in these markets, 25% of non-organic installs in gaming are on this style. It’s due to this fact no marvel that whole gaming spend in Japan and Korea is so excessive provided that it prices almost $10 to accumulate a hardcore gamer in these nations.

North America

UA gaming spend in North America is a distant second in whole spend however we forecast it should develop quicker — particularly, 135% from $5.3 billion in 2019 to $12.4 billion in 2022.

The area’s massive consumer base and its excessive price of media (about $2.2 per gaming set up due to excessive consumer LTV) qualify the market as tier 1 for sport builders throughout the globe (in contrast to China, Japan and Korea the place localization is a major problem; if it weren’t for this problem, spend figures would have been a lot greater in these markets).

Inside genres, informal gaming installs dominate the US market with over half of non-organic installs. At greater than $1.5, the price to accumulate an off-the-cuff gamer within the US is the best on this planet.

Though the price of buying hardcore avid gamers within the US was excessive at about $5 in 2019, solely 7% of non-organic installs within the nation belong to this style. The US can be the world’s largest social on line casino market, the place CPIs surpass $4, thereby attracting vital spend.


This fragmented market will take pleasure in a major 156% progress in gaming app set up advert spend from $3.7 billion in 2019 to $9.5 billion in 2022.

In Western Europe, the UK and Germany paved the way with a whole bunch of thousands and thousands of non-organic gaming installs and a CPI of about $1.4. Complete gaming UA budgets in 2019 hit $560 million within the UK and $530 million in Germany.

Russia is the biggest market in EMEA with virtually 500 million non-organic gaming installs in 2019, however the price of media out there is low at about $0.45 per installs. Because of this, general spend on gaming UA in 2019 was simply $220 million.

Latin America

The area as an entire, and significantly Brazil, has seen vital progress within the final couple of years, reaching large scale. Nonetheless, the price of gaming installs in LATAM is extraordinarily low (round $0.25 per gaming set up), making whole spend comparatively small.

Nonetheless, its anticipated progress will high all different areas — from $300 million in 2019 to $800 million in 2022 or 165% greater.

Rise in app set up advert spend in Gaming defined 

Cellular gaming is exploding, however so is the competitors

In accordance with App Annie, client spend in cellular video games (smartphone and pill) surged to greater than $80 billion in 2019, and is anticipated to surpass $100 billion in 2020.

Billions of customers now have a cellular system to play on inside attain. The rise in entry and utilization has pushed gaming apps to develop their consumer base, placing heavy strain on entrepreneurs to satisfy demand.

However with a whole bunch of 1000’s of gaming apps to compete with, discovery is a large problem, leaving entrepreneurs no different selection however to put money into UA to attract consideration to their sport. Because of this, greater than 57% of installs amongst gaming apps with a minimal advertising price range are non-organic.

Knowledge-driven to the core

Gaming app entrepreneurs should struggle for each set up whereas growing their UA budgets to generate progress. However they have to additionally drive profitability. With higher data-driven instruments, expert information analysts, and confirmed methods, sport entrepreneurs — greater than in another vertical — can confidently put money into advertising and drive return on advert spend.

This confidence additionally permits entrepreneurs to focus extra on the advertisements themselves. They will direct sources towards artistic and towards completely different advert placements after which arrive at the most effective technique to accumulate high quality customers, at scale and for the optimum worth.

Natural progress has taken successful

It’s very troublesome to succeed in new customers by generic key phrases when they’re typically overused in app shops and when new video games are launched each day throughout all genres. With countless choices to select from, the capability of any sport past the highest charts to search out its strategy to a consumer’s system is slim to none.

Progress on each ends of the style spectrum

Hardcore video games (e.g. technique, function enjoying)  are rising in popularity due to advances in system energy and {hardware} that may assist them, resulting in deeper and longer classes. Because of this, they entice at least 76% of client spend in Gaming, in response to App Annie.

Due to the excessive consumer LTV in hardcore video games, the price of media is excessive which is why it accounts for almost all of general gaming app set up advert spend (about 37% of world budgets vs. 32% in informal video games).

On the opposite finish of the spectrum are Hyper Informal video games. These easy-to-develop and easy-to-play video games depend on advertisements to drive income, and are attracting thousands and thousands of customers, a lot of whom didn’t beforehand play video games.

As a result of the margins of those video games are low, they depend on scale and should due to this fact make use of aggressive UA methods. Having stated that, the price to accumulate a hyper informal consumer is comparatively low, which implies the influence on general spend in gaming is smaller than with hardcore video games.

Rise of in-app advertisements, particularly rewarded video

The smarter use of advertisements within the sport movement and the truth that solely about 5% of gamers monetize by way of in-app purchases have made advert income a major income stream.

In accordance with a latest IDC report, in-app advert income is rising greater than 4 instances quicker than in-app purchases (26% per yr in comparison with IAP’s and paid cellular video games’ 6.2% progress). Improved monetization means more cash within the financial institution which might then be channeled towards will increase in UA budgets.

Cellular gaming game-changers?

Technological advances may have their very own seismic results on cellular gaming within the subsequent few years.

5G is coming

Certain, there are vital hiccups alongside the way in which and it’s removed from ubiquitous, however as soon as the networks are up and customers have adopted 5G telephones, cellular gaming shall be reworked.

Sport business consultants can’t predict precisely what impact 5G can have on gaming, however they do anticipate that will probably be a disrupter alongside the traces of Spotify and Netflix and transfer the gaming vertical previous free-to-play into subscription monetization fashions.

5G will, after all, ship richer content material and quicker supply, and allow extra social (group) gaming. Furthermore, hardcore video games and others with refined content material shall be extra moveable, with a “play anyplace” capability and a surge in numerous content material that may enchantment to a broad vary of gamers.

Cloud gaming can be coming

With 5G, cloud gaming on cellular can be anticipated to herald a brand new period in gaming. When video video games are coupled with the facility of the cloud, the info processing that underpins gameplay will happen on distant servers, fairly than on the gadgets (consoles or gaming PCs) themselves.

With cloud gaming, any consumer with a tool that has entry to the web will have the ability to join and soar proper right into a sport.


Word: The predictive modeling utilized on this forecast came about previous to the outbreak of the coronavirus. It’s nonetheless too early to find out the impact it should have on spend within the face of such financial uncertainty. As of March 15, 2020 we didn’t discover any vital change in cellular gaming advert spend this yr in comparison with earlier years.

We are going to revisit the mannequin later to find out whether or not an replace is so as.

Our mannequin is based totally on personal information, which included over 30 billion non-organic installs, $48 billion in advert spend, and 72k apps within the 2017-2019 pattern.

We additionally used different parameters, equivalent to third celebration cellular attribution market share information, price per set up prediction per area, variety of apps within the app shops, and the variety of installs.

Your entire set was divided into the next two classes: the attribution market share of non-organic installs (excluding Firebase and Fb analytics for apps) and the non-attributed market (marketing-driven installs that weren’t measured by a cellular attribution supplier). Word that this division was not proven within the report above, however was an element within the general methodology.

*App set up advert spend is the amount of cash invested in direct response promoting campaigns which can be geared toward driving customers to the app shops to obtain an app. It’s a subset of general cellular advert spend, which contains primarily of and contains primarily search, model and video show budgets geared toward driving non-organic app installs.


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