While the pandemic of 2020 adversely affected many industries, mobile gaming experienced a dramatic growth. Ad and marketing intelligence platform SocialPeta has shared an update on the state of the mobile gaming market:


Fiona Long, SocialPeta

The Pandemic Drove the Growth of the Mobile Game Industry in 2020

2020 Revenue Statistics

  • 77.2 billion U.S. dollars in revenue for 2020
  • 12% increase in the number of players to over 2.5 billion players
  • $19 billion spent in the 2020 second quarter alone
  • 25% iOS downloads and 21% Android Apps

Mobile Game Media Buying Trends

In 2020, mobile game media buy experienced massive growth. For instance, the number of mobile game advertisers grew 9% from the prior year to 60 thousand. These advertisers made up a large chunk of all mobile app advertisers at 24%.

Top 10 mobile games ranked by impressions

Mobile Game Creative Trends

Statistics point to puzzle games as one of the 2020’s biggest winners. SocialPeta analyzed 12M creatives within the year. 25% of them were puzzle game creatives. After this came role-playing game creatives and then arcade.

Moreover, while strategy games rank 4th by the number of creatives on the platform, advertisers in this segment have the most purchasing power. The average strategy game advertiser runs 359 ad materials in one year.

Cost Intelligence

The mobile gaming industry presented many business opportunities in 2020. This was most evident in CPM, which rose by 166.27% between January and December of the year.

As usual, the United States topped the charts. The country still has the highest advertisement costs, with a peak CPC of  $3.41 and CPM of $40.09.

For more exclusive advertising intelligence on mobile apps and games, please check the 2020 White Paper on Media Buying in the Global Mobile Market by SocialPeta.

Mobile Game Trends Prediction in 2021

Trend #1: Simplify the operating model and reduce unnecessary costs

One of the mobile game trends companies are jumping on in 2021 is simplifying the current operating model. Besides improving their game development process and working more efficiently, this will allow them to avoid unnecessary costs.

One effective way to reduce the cost of your development process is to conduct an early CTR test. This is especially true if you are in the hyper-casual game sector of the mobile game industry.

What is a CTR Test?

CTR stands for click-through rate. Conducting this test on a game idea you have will enable you to determine whether it will succeed or not. It will help you answer questions like:

  • Will this game appeal to gamers?
  • Will it retain them? In other words, will they keep playing it after their first experience of it?
  • Will it generate revenue?

Providing answers to these questions will inform whether you should go ahead and commit the resources to that game idea or not.

Trend #2: In-game ads, the key to Monetizing gaming apps

Another trend among mobile game developers in 2021 is game monetization through in-game ads. Several statistics support this approach. Some of them are:

  • 74% of the United States mobile gamers would watch an in-game ad if they get an in-app perk in return;
  • 82% of mobile gamers prefer free mobile games with ads to paid mobile games without them.

These statistics clearly show that free mobile games with in-game ads have more chances of success than paid mobile games.

Trend #3: Invest in marketing intelligence tools

The final trend we will cover in this article involves mobile game developers investing in marketing intelligence tools. This tactic aims to improve distribution efficiency and, consequently, increase game firms’ long-term savings.

Gametech Helps Games Grow

Gametech refers to software, tools, and services that mobile game developers use to manage a game’s lifecycle.

  • In 2021, expect to see game development engines like Unity and Unreal improve their offerings allowing developers to take more control of the game development process, further explore their creativity, and develop more engaging products.
  • We can also expect to see top game platforms like Epic Games and Roblox make gaming more entertaining and immersive. Expect them to exhibit more innovation by infusing more music and film into games.
  • Finally, we expect to see improvements in ad-tech and other monetization tools. With this, developers will be able to derive more profit from their products.


More data of the mobile game industry can be found in SoicalPeta’s 2020 White Paper on Media Buying in the Global Mobile Market .

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