The turkeys are gobbling. The air is crisp. You’ve moved beyond pumpkin spice everything to gingerbread everything… the end of 2022 is upon us and you’re thinking about your 2023 mobile game marketing strategy. And we are marketers, and therefore like every Q4, we have to start making grandiose statements about the upcoming year and how to make 2023 the best one yet (mobile growth-wise. I think it’s fair to say “best year yet” peaked sometime in the 90s when the world didn’t constantly feel like it was on the brink of doom.)
Now, let’s take for granted the mobile landscape is still in a perpetual state of change. And there are more apps than ever so competition is, of course, fierce. AND there’s a recession, so let’s just assume that this will make your job even harder.
But don’t let the gloom take over! All of this lays the ground for innovation and creativity. Below are a few of our expert tips to jumpstart your mobile game marketing strategy to get your juices flowing for 2023.
1. Optimize Your Mobile Game Funnel Contextually
When thinking about your mobile game marketing strategy, it helps to start with your funnel. You know the standard funnel; here it is at its most basic:
Discovery: getting users to find your mobile game app (UA, ASO, Influencers, TV ads, other super-cool-near-impossible-to-measure branding efforts)
Conversion: getting users to download your app (Product page design and messaging, good reviews, what-have-you)
Loyalty: retaining/engaging quality users (Onboarding, In-App Events, Lifecycle Marketing, game not being garbage, etc etc)
You know that you should optimize every stage of this funnel because otherwise, you’re likely to be out of a job because your mobile game makes no money.
However, in 2023, this funnel is not one funnel. I mean, it really wasn’t ever one funnel, but there wasn’t that much you could do about it. Users are not an amorphous mass with identical needs and identical pathways. Optimizing only one funnel means you’re inherently losing users because you are choosing one message to guide them through.
Without the ability to identify individual users and let your ad network do all the targeting legwork, you must segment your users into audiences. And you really need to understand those audiences and tailor your creatives and messages towards them at each and every step. The platforms (Google and Apple) are supporting this more by offering Custom Product Pages and Custom Store Listings. They’ve come to accept that different audiences simply cannot convert effectively if you have to use the same messages and creatives for everyone.
Optimizing contextual funnels for mobile game marketing means more work – understanding where users are coming from, what their motivation is at the time of arriving, what’s driving them to play, how to design creatives that speak to those motivations, and how you design events and down-funnel messages that will catch them at the right moment.
But this extra work is key to actually seeing meaningful impact instead of chasing tiny, temporary performance boosts that aren’t replicated again later.
2. Build Your Media Mix Model
To get the most out of your mobile game marketing efforts, you need to embrace media mix modeling (MMM).
If you’re not familiar with the term, media mix modeling, sometimes referred to as marketing mix modeling, is a data analysis technique to enable app marketers to measure the impact of specific advertising campaigns and harder-to-measure efforts, and evaluate which elements contributed to success.
Armed with this information, app marketers can then optimize their mobile game marketing campaigns more effectively and ensure their time and ad dollars aren’t wasted on losing strategies. And they can take over the world.
Why is MMM so important in 2023? Like everything else you’ve heard for nigh on two years now, Apple and Google’s newfound commitment to user privacy has changed the game. Look, attribution was always problematic for anyone who wasn’t a UA manager – how do you confidently attribute users with no tracker? (You know we have our methods here but go read one of our other posts about organic attribution/influencer methodology/tv ads and so on.) It just got WAY more important when UA tracking got less straightforward.
When you have countless efforts from various discovery channels all going on at the same time, how do you know what your ROI is on each? How do you decide how to wisely distribute your budget? Enter MMM.
Will I solve MMM for you in this post? Of course not. It’s incredibly complicated and requires a whole lot of 1st party knowledge you haven’t shared with me. Also I’m not a data scientist. Also this is a collection of quick tips, not a massive academy piece.
But I will say: to build a worthwhile media mix model in 2023 for your mobile game marketing, you need to incorporate as much data as possible. That means including SKAN, ASC, and in-game information whenever possible. And it means you need some stellar data scientists and analysts.
3. Use CPPs For Better Measurement
Apple’s Custom Product Page (CPP) feature, introduced with iOS 15, allows app marketers to customize up to 35 unique versions of their product pages in the App Store.
Most app marketers see CPPs in a purely creative light. They can create multiple product pages, send each one to specific segments of their audience, then see which perform best. Are heavy social casino players more likely to install when the first screenshot pushes free coins over a rewards wheel? CPPs make it fairly easy for app marketers to answer this question.
But if this is all you use CPPs for, you’re definitely selling yourself short. Hey hey, remember all that talk of measurement challenges in the new privacy area? We mentioned it above (and in about 75% of our marketing material since 2020).
CPPs can (and should!) be used to combat privacy data loss, too.
How does this work you ask?
Well, you can track the performance that comes from each CPP. And you can put a CPP in a specific campaign or campaigns. WHICH MEANS, the performance of that CPP is the performance of that campaign/campaign cluster. Now, you still need to be smart in this since you only have 35 CPPs and can’t put a unique one on every single campaign, but this is a powerful hack for accurate ROI measurement when done right
Feel free to read up on CPPs with this piece.
4. Try Your Hand at TikTok Marketing
Social media has always been a viable app marketing strategy, especially for mobile games. But Facebook has been hit hard by the changes in measurement and throwing your whole budget in ends up pricey and risky
TikTok has grown leaps and bounds the last few years. It now boasts over one billion users in 150+ countries around the world. If your game is designed for humans between the ages of 13 and 60, you can find your target audience here. Therefore, TikTok can be a great medium for your mobile game marketing campaign.
The trick to succeeding on TikTok is to make your content look like content, not a bunch of ads. Think about ways you can run giveaways, sponsor stunts, create music videos and skits, and show off a few fancy dance moves—all while promoting your game(s) at the same time.
One of the best (and easiest!) ways to do this is to work with influencers, who create entertaining content for a living. But this will require more budget and isn’t the only solution.
Remember though – TikTok may be a social network, but it’s a specific kind of content consumption channel. Holding it to the same KPIs as more traditional networks isn’t necessarily the right move for your mobile game strategy. TikTok ads can have the same effect as brand campaigns – keep an eye on your Search metrics after pushing a campaign live, you’re likely not seeing your actual CPI in reported metrics.
We’re still colonizing Mars here. While there are best practices and ABCs in mobile marketing, the landscape has and continues to change so dramatically, that it pushes the door open for innovation and experimentation. My advice: don’t keep doing the same exact thing for your mobile marketing game strategy and expect magic performance surges – break ground and find what works for the new frontier.