Here is AppGrowing's analysis of the global mobile game advertising markets in December 2023, based on advertising data from 25 global media platforms in 50 countries/regions.
The year-end sprint of game publishers is continuing. Except for Week 1, the Mobile Game Ad Volume remained above 2M every week in December. The App Volume remained above 16K, down from November, and the weekly trend of Creative Volume was stable, basically above 500K.
On a single-day basis, Ad Volume peaked in the early days, with more than 1.34M on December 10th. App Volume peaked in the later days, with 18,607 mobile game ads on December 26th.
In terms of markets, the Top 3 regions were North America, Southeast Asia, and Western Europe, with North America's Ad Volume share growing further to 36.8%. Latin America and the Middle East also accounted for more than 20% of the Ad Volume, with game publishers advertising more in emerging markets in December. In terms of the Top 10 regions, the Top 3 were the USA, France, and Germany, with the share of ads in the USA growing to 30.8%.
In terms of categories, Puzzle surpassed Casual to take the No.1 spot with 14.9% of Ad Volume. In terms of App Volume, Casual stayed No.1, with a 16.9% share. Apart from the two, Role Playing ranked No. 3 with 10.6% of Ad Volume, and Simulation ranked No. 3 with 10.9% of App Volume. In addition, the Top 5 categories in terms of average ad volume for a single app were Music, Word, Strategy, Role Playing, and Action, with Music down 20.4% MoM.
Looking at the media, AdMob, which accounted for 39.2% of the Ad Volume, remained No. 1, and the Top 2-5 were still dominated by Meta Media, consistent with November, with all accounting for more than 30% of the Ad Volume. As for the categories on AdMob, Puzzle, Casual, Action, and Simulation are the main ones, with the Top 3 accounting for more than 10% of the Ad Volume.
In terms of mobile game developer regions in December, China's Mainland still ranked No. 1, with 33.6% of ads and 21.2% of apps. Vietnam ranked No. 2 in terms of Ad Volume, but its share dropped to 11.9%, while its App Volume ranked No. 3. France was second in terms of App Volume.
In December's Top Developers, Matchingham Games dropped to No. 5, with SayGames, OneSoft, HOMA, and Playrix rounding out the Top 1-4. Chinese publishers on the list were IGG and SPGames, both of which specialize in midcore and hardcore mobile games.
Among the Most Advertised Mobile Games on Google Play, the Apps on the list are mainly in the Lightcore and Midcore categories, with 4 in Casual. In the Hardcore category, 3 Strategy games made it to the Top 15, with IGG's 2 Strategy mobile games maintaining a steady ad volume, Lords Mobile at No.4, and Viking Rise at No.7. Yotta Games' The Grand Mafia came in at No.12. In addition, miHoYo's Genshin Impact was heavily advertised and made it to the list in December.
On the App Store, SPGame's new game 《源進化 (Source Evolution)》 took the Top 1 position in terms of Ad Volume, while the previous winner《MONOPOLY GO!》 ranked No.2. There were more Hardcore games on the list, with Top Games' Evony moving up to No.4, followed by TFT: Teamfight Tactics. Other Hardcore games on the list include Hero Wars: Alliance, Top Eleven BeFootball Manager, Clash of Clans, and Wukong M: To TheWest. Also making the list is SPGame's new Casual game 《作死火柴人（Tricks with Stickmen）》, which took the No.1 spot on the App Store's Top Pre-registration last month.
In terms of Top Pre-registrations, 「聖闘士星矢レジェンドオブジャスティス(Saint Seiya Legend of Justice)」 took the No.1 spot on App Store, which is another manga-based mobile game targeting the Japanese market. 「黒子のバスケ Street Rivals」, which is also a manga-based game, ranked No. 7 on the list, with Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan of China as its pre-registration regions.
The Role Playing mobile game 《吞吞龙大冒险(Dragon POW!)》 was ranked No. 2 in Top Pre-registrations, with Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore in pre-registration. Developed by Flow Entertainment and published by Leiting Games, the game is an Anime-style shooter mobile RPG. Vietnamese publisher VNG's wuxia-themed MMORPG 《天上碑M(Heavenly Monument M)》 also made the list, with pre-registrations in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan of China.
On Google Play, Yotta Games' sci-fi-themed new SLG Nexus War: Civilization took the No. 1 spot, and also ranked No. 3 on App Store chart. NetEase's new PUBG-like game Blood Strike (analysis here) maintained steady pre-registration advertising and moved up to No. 2. In addition, Tencent's Honor of Kings came in at No. 3, with pre-registrations in regions mainly in the Middle East market.
According to AppGrowing, SPGame's new game Source Evolution started pre-registration in Taiwan of China on December 1st and officially launched on December 27th. The cyberpunk-style mobile MMORPG entered the Top 5 of iOS Top Grossing in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan of China in just one week after its release. SPGame has released mobile RPGs such as 《暮色双城(Twilight Twin Cities)》 and 《月光魔盗团(Moonlight Thieves)》 in the 3 regions in 2023, all of which have achieved satisfactory results.
From the advertising strategy before and after the launch of this game, the data shows that Source Evolution took the Taiwan market as its main destination during the pre-registration period. The creative format is mainly video, accounting for more than 70% of the total. The creative strategy during its pre-registration period was "spokesperson marketing", which is common in Hong Kong and Taiwan of China. Source Evolution invited local star Luo Zhixiang as its spokesperson, and combined the pre-registration rewards, gameplay, and related content to produce creatives.
The video is the star spokesman sharing game tips. Combined with in-game screens, it shows selling points such as theme and art style. The spokesman enhances the ad's credibility and the final battle scene with rapidly increasing values delivers a thrill that stimulates pre-registration.
After the official launch of the game, the advertising regions were expanded to Hong Kong & Macao of China, Singapore, and Malaysia, targeting the global Chinese audience. The proportion of video creative increased to 73.1%, with horizontal and square dominating.
Creatively, Source Evolution continues the previous distribution idea of appealing to audiences with mostly live-action elements. Beauties are an indispensable element of the MMO games advertised in Hong Kong and Taiwan of China, with strong appeal to male players. Layering a prize draw on top of this further enhances the appeal of the ad, and gets people excited to try it out.
Leiting Games' Dragon POW! is an anime-style shooting mobile RPG currently in the pre-registration advertising stage. According to AppGrowing, the Top5 regions for the game's December ads are Taiwan of China, Korea, Hong Kong of China, Turkey, and Iraq. In terms of creative format, video dominated, accounting for 78.7%.
Creatively, Dragon POW! followed the theme highlights to produce content and attracted users with colorful and cute dragon images. The following video begins with a cute baby dragon to attract attention and then shows the unique devouring gameplay - the more you devour, the faster you grow. As the level rises, the young dragon evolves to a cool advanced form, revealing its superb combat strength.
Some of the creatives for showing gameplay incorporate the preferences of users in the target market. For example, users in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan of China favor content with real people and real scene elements. Therefore, the video is shot with handheld devices to emphasize the realism of WYSIWYG. It shows the in-game screen, combined with a voice-over explaining the special gameplay. The end of the video highlights the game's outstanding achievements such as over a million pre-registrations and high ratings to increase its appeal.