2022 is a year when the global mobile game industry enters a downward cycle. Various market research institutions generally predict negative growth in global mobile game revenue in 2022.
AppGrowing’s data monitoring of the mobile advertising market outside mainland China also found that the proportion of mobile game advertisers in 2022 declined year-on-year, which reflects the contraction of the global mobile game industry.
In order to help practitioners in the mobile game industry more fully understand the changes in the global mobile game market, AppGrowing released the "2022 Mobile Game Advertising White Paper", which interprets the 2022 mobile game marketing situation from the perspectives of market trends, category analysis, and top advertiser cases.
The following is a summary of the white paper, and the download link of the white paper is attached at the end of the article.
01 Mobile Game Advertising Trends
In 2022, the proportion of mobile game advertisers remained at around 45.0%. In the first half of the year, it fell by about 4.2% HoH and by about 2% YoY. Although there was a 0.2% HoH increase in the second half, it still fell by 4% YoY.
This shows that most mobile game advertisers have already begun to tighten media buying in early 2022, and have not relaxed.
After experiencing the rapid growth brought by the epidemic, the global mobile game market saw a correction in 2022. And mobile game companies have shown a more cautious attitude towards advertising and marketing.
Casual Games accounted for 20.8% of the total number of advertising games. Puzzle Games, which also belong to lightweight games, accounted for 12.9%.
The representative categories of medium/hard core games, Role Playing and Strategy, are in the middle of the ranking, accounting for 5.8% and 4.2% respectively.
Comparing the proportion of ad volume of each category in 2022 and 2021, lightweight games showed a clear upward trend. Casual and Puzzle are the only two categories whose proportions have increased by over 2%.
The category with the highest decline is Role Playing, and the proportion of ad volume decreased by 4.7% YoY.
Another category worthy of attention is Board. This lightweight category accounted for a YoY decrease of 3%.
Comparing the proportion of mobile game ad volume in major markets in 2022 and 2021, emerging markets show a more prominent growth. With a 6.4% increase, Latin America becomes the market with the highest YoY growth in 2022. It is followed by Africa, with an increase of about 4.5%.
As the growth of the global mobile game market slows down, the problem of high UA spends in traditional popular markets has begun to emerge. More and more advertisers have increased their ad budgets in emerging markets in order to find new traffic.
The game category with the highest ad volume on the three selected representative social media platforms in 2022 were Role Playing.
For Role Playing or similar hard-core games, media buying often needs to be combined with community and content marketing. Facebook is an important channel for community building, while YouTube and TikTok, as representative stream media, have stronger content attributes.
In the first half of 2022, medium/hard core games have shown strong competitiveness in the media buying market. Of the 15 most advertised games, more than half were RPG, SLG or Tactical Arena Games. In the second half of the year, lightweight products began to increase their ad volume, and gradually occupied 10 of the Top 15.
From the perspective of advertisers, lightweight game advertisers have seized more traffic. Top Games, which ranks fifth, is the only advertiser among the Top 5 that mainly advertises hard-core games, and it is also the Chinese company with the highest ad volume.
From the perspective of country distribution, among the Top 15, Chinese advertisers account for 5 seats, and the main competitors in media buying come from Europe and Southeast Asia.
02 Mobile Games from China
Among China’s mobile games going global in 2022, low-threshold casual games are still the category with the largest number of Apps, accounting for about 20.3%.
Role Playing and Strategy account for 16.7% and 9.5% of China's overseas mobile game products, which are significantly higher than the average level of global markets. At the same time, these two categories are also the categories where Chinese mobile game advertisers create the most ads.
In 2022, 28.2%of the ads created by Chinese mobile game advertisers covered the North American market. For mobile game companies which intend to enter the English-speaking world, North America is unavoidable.
The regions ranked second, third and fourth are Southeast Asia （25.4%）， Hong Kong, Macao & Taiwan of China （17.7%） and Japan & South Korea （17.0%）. The similar cultural background makes these markets the first choice for Chinese game companies.
However, the Latin American and Middle East markets, which have shown strong growth momentum, were not be favored by Chinese mobile game companies in 2022.
03 Competition Analysis of Categories
In 2022, the number of Casual games in advertising campaign is fluctuating and rising. In the first half of the year, there were about 3,900 Casual games in a single month on average, and in the second half that number grew to around 4,500.
The three main sources of Casual games are mainland China, Turkey and Vietnam. The relatively low threshold for research and development makes the Casual game a genre that a large number of small and medium teams are willing to try.
The number of Action games fluctuates in the range of 1,700~2,000 per month, which is less than half of Casual category. Among the top 1,000 action games, products from mainland Chinese companies accounted for 16.0%.
Action category is a large category covering a wide range. In addition to games that require hand-eye coordination and quick action, some lightweight games such as casual parkour will also carry Action tag. Products such as "Sniper 3D", "Brawl Stars" and "Zooba" have both traditional hard-core gameplay and casual design.
Casino category had a concentrated rise from June to September 2022, and a large number of products have entered the media buying market during this time period.
In terms of the source of advertisers, products from mainland China accounted for 20.0%, followed by the United States and Taiwan of China.
As a category with high R&D and UA costs, the monthly average number of Strategy games is only around 1,100, and there is no significant fluctuation throughout the year.
However, its high-investment and high-return characteristics have been sought after by Chinese companies. 397 out of the top 1,000 strategy games are from mainland Chinese companies, which far exceeds the second Vietnam (6.5%) and the third Russia (3.5%).
04 Advertiser Case Analysis
Tencent Games (Level Infinite)
In 2022, Tencent Games developed its strength in the global market. The star product "PUBG MOBILE" continued its high-level media buying. On the other hand, a number of new products have achieved outstanding results, such as "Tower of Fantasy" and "GODDESS OF VICTORY: NIKKE".
After the launch of "Honor of Kings", the ad volume of "Arena of Valor", which was previously regarded as the overseas version of HOK, has gradually declined, but the massive amount of ad it put out in the year still ranked third, showing Tencent's interest in MOBA.
As a developer focusing on SLG products, tap4fun’s main advertising products in 2022 are almost all SLG games. However, there are still significant differences in themes and gameplay forms of different products. "Kingdom Guard", which has the highest amount of ads, endows the product with lightweight features through tower defense and merge gameplay. The second "Age of Apes" attracts players with a unique "ape" theme to achieve outstanding market performance.
Behind the two product strategies are the two main development directions of the SLG category in the past years, namely exploring new themes or integrating casual gameplay.
The Marvel-themed collectible card game “MARVEL SNAP” released by NUVERSE is one of the most anticipated new games in 2022. Judging from the advertising data, “MARVEL SNAP” was the product with the highest ad volume under NUVERSE in 2022, even though it has been launched for less than half a year, which shows the high marketing spending.
On the other hand, many of NUVERSE’s advertising games are adapted from IPs, including DC Universe, Ragnarok, and Hatsune Miku. Obviously, NUVERSE has already figured out a method for the publishing and marketing of IP-adapted mobile games.
To get the full PDF file of "2022 Mobile Game Advertising White Paper", Please Click Here.
More intelligence on the advertising market can be found on the official website of AppGrowing Global.
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