Who Plays Mobile Games and When?

Understanding how your game benchmarks against other games is vital. To understand how to best optimize your audience’s life time value, it’s important to measure the demographics of your most active gamers, as well as the ones who spend the most on in-game purchases. Using our mobile audience measurement service, Verto Content Watch, we take a look at who is playing mobile games when, at what frequency, and how gamers are engaging with individual titles. All data included is taken directly from Verto Content Watch and is based on April 2015 data.

Looking Beyond Downloads

Mobile games consistently rank high on the top app download lists, but it can be challenging to work out how individual titles are played vs. relevant competition, who spends the most time on specific game categories, and how to optimize audience acquisition budgets against the total lifetime value of gamers. There are many analytics solutions that report game downloads and player activity, however, there is little available data available on the gaming audience, reach, frequency, or engagement of individual titles. For example:

  • How much time people actually spend on games?
  • What are the demographics that are playing mobile games?
  • For how long and how frequently do they play games?
  • What other content they consume on their digital devices?

Measuring mobile gaming comprehensively remains important, given the industry is growing so quickly. Amidst the current tight competition, game publishers need to make hard calls to ensure they succeed not only in the short-term (acquiring the audience and optimizing their game-play dynamics), but also in the long-term (monetizing on their audience).

Looking at some of the exemplary research findings we published this week at the MRMW conference in NYC, mobile games can definitely be called a mainstream digital media category, as today more than half of the U.S. online universe plays games on mobile.

iOS vs. Android

Per the graph below, there is only a small difference between the number of iOS and Android users who play games on their mobile devices, with slightly more iOS mobile users playing games each month vs. Android.

Young Women Love Mobile Games

Today’s mobile gamers are more likely to be female, higher income consumers, and younger in terms of age, when compared to the generic online population.

Mobile Games Peak in the Evening

The chart below reveals that in terms of the “day-in-the-life” for the mobile gamer, there is a clear trend towards the evening for playing mobile games. This does not hold true for apps in general. The active mobile gaming audience doubles in reach in the evening hours compared to morning hours. “Day-in-the-life” dynamics are something that publishers should understand in the competitive context of other games, when measuring their relative time spent versus other game titles by the time of the day. Publishers, who win prime evening hours, will maximize their reach end engagement among mobile gamers.

“King” of the Monthly User Base

King is the clear winner in terms of actual active monthly user base, with seven different titles among the top 50 played mobile games across Android and iOS. Zynga holds a strong foothold among iOS users. However, as there are more Android users in the mobile universe, King leads the pack in the total numbers. Supercell, Electronic Arts, and Disney are all still among the top 8 mobile gaming publishers today (see below) with not much change for some time there.

The top mobile games played in the U.S. in April 2015 in terms of unique monthly users were: Candy Crush Saga (23.6M), Candy Crush Soda Saga (20.1M), Trivia Crack (16.8M), New Words With Friends (15.9M), Farm Heroes Saga (8.1M), Frozen Free Fall (5.8M) and Clash of Clans (5.8M). The top download list for games is not the same as the active gaming population. This is because the active user base drives more of the game publishers’ capacity to make money via in-game purchasing or advertising. Thus, the proposed audience measurement methodology, and hard measurement data on actual usage, provides more value for driving publishers’ revenues, than for example, survey research on user experience or app store centric analytics.

Recap

Understanding how your game benchmarks against your competitors is vital. Publishers need to measure the demographics of their most active gamers, as well as those gamers who spend the most on in-game purchases, in order to understand how to best optimize their audience’s lifetime value.

  • As of April 2015, more than 50% of all online users in the U.S. play mobile games monthly, and more than 70% of the total mobile audience does so.
  • Most gaming takes place in the evening.
  • King is currently the top mobile game publisher in the U.S., with seven different titles among the top 50 played mobile games on Android and iOS. King’s total mobile games reach 36.2M adults in the U.S. monthly (net reach), making King the 14th biggest mobile app publisher.
  • Supercell, Electronic Arts, and Disney are still among the top eight mobile game publishers in terms of the number of titles in the top 50.
  • The top mobile games played in the U.S. in April 2015 in terms of unique monthly users were: Candy Crush Saga (23.6M), Candy Crush Soda Saga (20.1M), Trivia Crack (16.8M), New Words With Friends (15.9M), Farm Heroes Saga (8.1M), Frozen Free Fall (5.8M) and Clash of Clans (5.8M).Looking for data like this to provide insights into your business strategy? Our mobile audience measurement service, Verto Content Watch can help. Subscribe to our newsletter to learn more about these and other findings, or follow us on twitter.

Interested in more information about Content Watch or other other digital measurement services? Drop us an email at sales@vertoanalytics.com and we’ll respond to you promptly.