Here’s the headline: Gamers are playing longer and spending more than ever. For mobile gaming from 2016 through 2020, 75th-percentile player retention at day 30 grew by 7.1%. In-app purchase conversion rates rose by 7.7%. Mobile gamers spent more money, more often. And since 2020, mobile ad revenues are up more than 8%.
But the competition is also thicker than ever, and the studios that profit most from these improvements are the ones that plan and take a disciplined approach to monitoring genre trends and monetization techniques.
The hyper-casual genre continues to dominate download charts, and according to Adjust’s Hyper casual gaming in 2020 report, it’s likely to continue growing to a nearly $100B market by 2022. Traditionally, hyper-casual gaming is defined by puzzle, word, and card games, plus a seemingly infinite number of variants that are lightweight and instantly understood for easy play. However, many define hyper-casual as any game that’s free to play (F2P) and that makes most of its money from ad monetization rather than conversions.
The top downloads in 2020 are a good clue to how genres are likely to shake out in the next few years: mostly hyper-casual, but with clear inroads from mid-cores, especially as bandwidth and device performance improve. The #1 and #3 top downloads were battle royales, while the rest were hyper-casual, with the exception of a virtual pet app.
Any F2P game requires skillful follow-up for monetization, and in-app purchases (IAP) and rewarded ads will continue to be the primary approaches. Ads will also generate consistent monetization results for nearly all mobile gaming categories. Rewarded ads, content that gamers have chosen to watch in exchange for a game advantage of some sort, have the highest effective cost per thousand impressions (eCPM) and return significantly better click-through rates (CTRs) than banner ads.
The opportunity: Take advantage of monetization tools
The gaming industry is like any other: The keys to success are developing robust plans and aligning your tech stack accordingly. Gaming is a mature industry, relatively speaking, and you can leverage a wealth of best practices to keep your key performance indicators on the uptick.
These best practices include using AI-enabled analytics that provide player insights quickly, so your team can more deeply understand trends and rapidly iterate and update. Optimizing ad placements and in-app purchase configurations, preferably with a tool tightly integrated into the development platform, is another essential best practice for driving revenue.
How Unity can help
- Unity provides integrated and in-depth analytics capabilities for key insights into gameplay, monetization, and more to help you hone your games’ player experience. Unity Analytics are a built-in feature of the Editor, while deltaDNA is an add-on Unity product that provides deeper insights with greater customizability.
- Unity’s monetization suite gives you comprehensive tools and analytics to grow your game and drive the most revenue. Working within the Unity Editor, you can integrate powerful Unity Ads mediation. You can also quickly set up IAP with a single, unified API that saves you significant engineering hours.