A new report from Social Peta says mobile game advertising saw a steep decline in the number of advertisements in 2022. While the reports says the number of advertisers did not change much YoY in the first half of 2022, the total number of mobile game creatives dropped nearly 30% to 15.8 million.
Casual games are leading the pack. Not only was there a significant increase in percentage of casual game advertisers – accounting for 26% of the total advertisers, up nearly 5% YoY. This also means that casual games had the most monthly advertisers. According to SocialPeta’s research, there were over 6,300 casual game advertisers per month. This is followed by puzzle game and then simulation game advertisers. (Learn more about game genres here.)
This narrowing market seems to have put an emphasis on quality over quantity. Along the way, the report highlighted a few trends in mobile game ad creative. Let’s explore.
1. An emphasis on ease of play
SocialPeta reports casual puzzle games contributed the most advertisers, while RPGs seem to have the most creatives. This distribution led to creatives that featured lots of casual gameplay. People love casual games, and other genres took the cue to create ads that feature lightweight gameplay. These ads aims to make role play and strategy games seem easy to play so as to attract more audiences to download the games. Creatives emphsized ease of play and entertainment value rather than complicated storylines or high-quality graphics.
Hyper-casual games often use this same tactic. The formats for this genre tend to be more diverse than other game genres. They feature pin pulling puzzles, live action, and more, but they all end in failure. Why? Well, users who find themselves frustrated by the virtual player who can’t figure out the easy answer may be compelled to download and give it a try themselves.
2. Short videos take center stage
RPG games, on the other hand, turned to short videos in what SocialPeta categorizees as an attempt to make the games a more popular topic of conversation on social platforms. Influencers were core to this strategy as RPG advertisers created high-quality short video creatives – mainly featuring fake VLOG short plays. They also turned to real people to act out game play, taking full advantaged of short-form video on popular apps like TikTok.
3. Drama queens
Simulation games took another tactic, adding drama to their creatives. Asking users to help mothers repair a rundown house for her kids helps play on potential players’ sympathy. These same ads often incorporate easy gameplay – like familiar match three formats – to entice new users.