Midcore gamers have emerged as a highly valuable user segment. In the mobile gaming industry, midcore games are the dominant revenue generators, with about 60% of the global player spending on mobile games for the first half of 2022.
With fierce competition among developers to capture this lucrative market, crafting and executing effective user acquisition strategies becomes crucial to stand out from the crowd.
However, to achieve success, you must also understand user behavior and how retention is vital in this category. Research from Adikteev shows that repeat purchases by users make up 97% of all in-app revenue for the midcore and hardcore genres, with 64% of users falling into this category. On the other hand, the remaining 36% of users who make only a single purchase account for a mere three percent of total revenue.
So what can be done to refine your UA techniques to effectively connect with your target demographic and make the most of your advertising budget?
Define the Right Target Audience
Before launching your UA campaign, it’s essential to identify the characteristics of your ideal user, such as age, gender, interests, and behaviors. Different countries or markets may have different target audiences, so it’s crucial to tailor your advertising campaigns accordingly. For example, the ideal target audience for a midcore game in the US differs from that in China, given the differences among spending power, preferences, app store ecosystems, and payment methods. Therefore, understanding the target audience in each market is crucial for optimizing your UA strategies.
Once you’ve identified your target audience, use this information to create targeted advertising campaigns that reach your intended audience. This can help increase engagement and conversions while minimizing ad spend.
Set Up & Optimize Your Campaign KPIs
Setting up and optimizing your campaign KPIs is crucial before launching any UA campaign. Defining your KPIs and optimizing the campaign based on different metrics will help you achieve your desired results. When optimizing your UA, consider the ROAS and LTV of the users you’re acquiring. On the other hand, if you are optimizing towards installs, focus on getting the lowest CPI possible while considering both ad revenue and ad LTV. For example, craft a user acquisition campaign based around the game’s core players who tend to have the highest ARPPU and target with an optimized creative strategy.
Develop your campaign strategy in different segments. This allows for a more structured approach to the campaign development process. By breaking down the campaign into manageable phases, it becomes easier to identify the key objectives of each phase and allocate resources accordingly. This can lead to more effective planning and execution of the campaign and a clearer understanding of what is required to achieve the desired outcomes. Below are some phases we highly recommend:
Continuously Optimize Your Creatives
Be sure to localize your campaign creatives and do A/B testing. Identify which creatives work best for your target audience in different markets and optimize and refresh your UA creatives based on the testing results.
A/B Testing for Ad Creatives and Campaigns: Regularly test different ad creatives, targeting options, and bidding strategies to identify the most effective combinations for acquiring high-value midcore gamers. Implement the learnings from A/B tests to optimize your user acquisition campaigns.
Ad Creative Strategies for Midcore Games: Design ad creatives that showcase the unique gameplay elements, graphics, and challenges that midcore gamers crave. Use a mix of video, playable ads, and in-game footage to communicate the game’s value proposition and generate interest effectively. For example, live-action videos have been performing well, as they can showcase real people using the game naturally and authentically, which resonates with the audience.
Enhancing Marketing Campaigns with In-Game Events
Live-ops events can be a powerful tool for boosting player engagement and retention in your mobile game. Launching seasonal packs, content, and offers within the game can maximize your marketing campaign’s performance. Here are some effective strategies for retaining your players:
Social Features: Create a sense of community within your game by encouraging player interaction through in-game chat, friend lists, and social media integration. Fostering competition motivates players to keep playing and feel more connected to the game.
Reward Systems: To recognize and reward players for their time and effort, implement a progression system that includes daily login bonuses, achievement systems, and unlockable content. By providing tangible benefits, players are more likely to stick with your game and become long-term users.
Leverage Other Marketing Tools to Maximize Campaign Performance
ASO (App Store Optimization): When promoting your midcore game, ASO is crucial in increasing visibility and driving organic installs. To optimize your app store listing, incorporate relevant keywords that potential players may use to search for games like yours. This can improve your game’s search rankings and make it more discoverable to interested users. Additionally, high-quality visuals and compelling descriptions showcasing your game’s unique features and benefits can make your listing stand out and entice users to download and play your game. Optimizing your app store listing properly can improve your game’s chances of success and increase its reach to a wider audience.
Social Media: Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, etc., has always been a fundamental way to expand a game’s reach. There are many different strategies you could consider.
- Leveraging Community and Social Media: To improve the visibility of your midcore game and encourage organic user acquisition, it’s important to create and maintain an active community on social media platforms and gaming forums. This can be achieved by sharing regular game updates, engaging with players, and encouraging user-generated content. You can enhance player involvement and establish a devoted player base by cultivating a sense of community.
- Influencer Partnerships: Identify gaming influencers and content creators who cater to the midcore gaming audience and collaborate with them to reach a wider audience, increase brand credibility, and acquire users through trusted recommendations.
- TikTok: With over a billion active users worldwide, TikTok is quickly becoming one of the most popular and powerful social media platforms for increasing brand awareness. You can leverage TopView ads, influencer marketing, and branded hashtag challenges to reach a wider audience and boost credibility. As TikTok’s popularity grows, it’s becoming increasingly important for midcore game developers to utilize the platform in their user acquisition strategies. Take, for example, one of our past successes using TikTok:
Shop Titans: By implementing a branded hashtag challenge on TikTok, Shop Titans successfully increased brand awareness in the Japanese market. The challenge encouraged users to create and share user-generated content (UGC) videos, resulting in over 27,000 videos being produced. As a result, Shop Titans generated over 56 million total video views and received over 4.6 million UGC video engagements.
Considering your Marketing Channels
When considering marketing channels for your midcore game user acquisition strategy, looking at high-performing ad networks well-suited for your target audience is important. Identifying ad networks with experience promoting similar midcore games will increase the likelihood of successful user acquisition. Additionally, it’s also important to select an ad network with a broad geographical reach if you plan to target players across multiple regions or countries, as well as focus on networks that can deliver high-quality users with strong retention rates. Mobvista subsidiary, Mintegral, for example, has performed extremely well for midcore gaming retention and in-app advertising – reaching the top 2 globally and top 4 in North America on AppsFlyer’s latest Performance Index.
Midcore games have gained significant popularity and account for a considerable portion of mobile gaming revenue worldwide. Optimizing UA strategies for midcore games requires developers to identify the target audience, set up and optimize campaign KPIs, develop effective campaign strategies, continuously optimize creatives, and leverage other marketing tools such as ASO, social media, and influencer partnerships. Furthermore, enhancing marketing campaigns with in-game events can boost player engagement and retention, leading to a devoted player base. By adopting these key strategies, developers can create effective midcore UA campaigns and maximize ad spend while acquiring high-value midcore gamers.