As a mobile gaming company you rely on a very small percentage of your population to drive the vast majority of your revenue. Perhaps 1% of your total addressable audience drives 80-90% of your revenues. The iOS14 changes have made re-targeting your users incredibly difficult and now is the time to shift your mobile marketing strategy and advertising plans.

We’ve Had to Shift Marketing Strategies Before

In the early 1990s everyone was creating their first email address at Hotmail, Yahoo and AOLOnline. With this new digital connection point marketers realized they had a direct channel. Marketers didn’t have to rely solely on direct mail, tv and print advertising, they now had your email address. And that’s when the spam messages started.

Email owners were bombarded by emails with no way to unsubscribe. It became so difficult to weed out real emails from spam emails that governments stepped in. In the US the CAN-SPAM act was created and in Canada the CASL was introduced. Online customers could finally UNSUBSCRIBE from businesses and even report repeat spammers to shut them down. 

Marketers had to pivot and implement unsubscribe features to their email newsletters and could only email people who’d given consent. At the time many marketers believed that digital marketing was dead. It wasn’t. We adapted.

A young woman is looking down at her phone. A speech bubble coming from the phone says "unsubscribe".

Marketers had to adapt when governments enacted anti-spam legislation by implementing unsubscribe features.

We’re at this precipitous cliff again and this time marketers are claiming that re-targeting is dead. It isn’t. We’re adapting. Let’s take a look at key action items you can be doing right now to improve your mobile game marketing and become a mobile studio that builds trust and revenue with their users.

Old School Mobile Marketing is Back

It’s back to basics for most mobile marketers and there are a number of tools and techniques to brush up on.

Loyalty Marketing & VIP Customers

VIPs are going to be even more important in a world where it’s tricky to re-target users. Your VIP customers are a perfect seed list to build look-a-like audiences for targeting across your ad platforms, since you can’t use a pixel based audience anymore. This list of golden VIP customers are the most likely to convert, so make sure you’re segmenting them properly and understanding their needs and how you can personalize content and offers.

New VIPs

Understanding your existing VIPs means you’ll be able to identify new game user VIPs as they come into your funnel. Use this knowledge to guide your new users through your loyalty program so they can achieve VIP status.

Contextual Advertising

There is going to be a return to contextual advertising. Advertisers will choose to place an ad inside your mobile game because the context makes sense. For example a meal prep service is going to choose to advertise in an idle game targeted at moms, rather than a mobile arcade game for teens. Advertisers are really going to think about the context that their ad lives in. You should also be thinking about the same for your ad placements in other mobile apps.

Limited Personalization

Until you’ve implemented a robust first-party data strategy you’ll be working with limited first-party and second party data combined with your own marketing science. Understanding your data and modeling out scenario’s is going to be vital to your mobile game advertising success.

First-Party Consent

You won’t be relying on the ATT prompt from Apple to help you understand your users. You’ll be asking your mobile games users to join you so you can build your loyalty programs and your lifecycle marketing journey. The context and the benefits that sit alongside your prompt will show your users you can be trusted. There is a huge opportunity to develop an open and transparent relationship with your users. Just be honest and outline what’s in it for them. We like to call this the Digital Handshake.

Graphic showing how AE Connect works

AE Connect, our customer identity and access management (CIAM) tool, gets explicit consent from your end-user to share their data.

Predictive Personalization

You’ll explore how AI can leverage anonymous user data to predict personalization. This can be an interesting area to explore but within the next 5-10 years we predict all anonymous data will dry up, so don’t rely heavily on this strategy.

User Acquisition Through Deep Linking

You’re going to be meshing perfect creative and messaging in your advertisements and then using a deep link to send the user to exactly the right place. Context is everything and any disparity between your creative message and then the experience a game user has post download will result in a user who doesn’t return. Link deeply and link with purpose.


Don Draper is lighting a cigarette because creative is going to be even more important than before. Creative is going to become a larger piece of your game marketing story. You have to cater your creative to where the user is in their journey. You’ll be testing and testing your creative again to really understand what message resonates with where the user is in your funnel. Understanding that creative is a key piece of the puzzle will keep your mobile game brand in a strong position. 

Incremental Changes

You’re going to need technology and MarTech partners who can help you run tests. Make sure you’re working with a provider who can test your creative and see what messaging works. This slow, but steady process will help you optimize for the best results.

The Future of Mobile Games Marketing

Understanding who your mobile game customers are is critical to your studio’s success. This shift to loyalty marketing with a focus on users you already have an established relationship with is going to be the winning strategy. Game studios who understand this shift and start making changes today are going to be the game studio leaders of tomorrow.

We’re here to support you

Reach out and chat to our first-party data experts if you need a sounding board: