App Marketing vs Game Marketing

Feb 12, 2018 · 4 min read

Games are the most popular app category on App Store. No surprises here — however hard we work or work out, we still love a good dose of entertainments and relax in our daily smartphone usage.

But what does this popularity mean for mobile game developers?

Two things:

1. Their potential audience is immensely large and offers unlimited opportunities in raising awareness around their games.

2. The competition is skyrocketing and you have to be very precise in marketing your game.

Now, we all know (or at least have hear of) how to market and run user acquisition in mobile apps. But are games any different from the general mass of apps? Let’s see.

1. When to Start

Whether you’re launching a business app, a pace tracker or a game — you start marketing it early — in fact, as early as you can. Just remember — in a game it’s of utmost importance to orient UX around the users, not the other way round. Make sure your dev team has created not only an awesome gameplay, but also the easiest and the most user-friendly on-boarding and first-launch experience.

2. What to Aim At

It’s no secret that retaining a user is 5 times cheaper than acquiring one. With this fact in mind — it becomes obvious that you should not concentrate on user acquisition alone. You should work relentlessly to keep those users who’re already on board. Particularly in a game, where user engagement is your way to success.

3. Whom to Target

It’s equally important to do user segmentation the right way and determine who your target audience is for both gaming and non-gaming apps.

But a certain difference still exists — user segmentation in mobile games requires a much deeper focus. You have to agree — you won’t be targeting a wide age group of, let’s say, 25–55, with a game. You could pull that stunt with a business app, for instance. But your age groups in games would be a lot more specific. The same goes for all other segmenting factors.

4. How to Deliver

Of course, you have to be creative regardless of the category your app belongs to — or at least make sure that your UI looks presentable.

But creativity in game marketing is the first offense point. You have to be creative in everything — your home page, your collaterals, your ad banners — everything — should scream: “Hey, this is an awesome app! You’ll be a loser if you skip it”.

5. Where to Promote

Every single app deserves as wide coverage as possible. But in case of mobile games, there are not only much wider opportunities for promoting an app but also a hot necessity in doing so. Thematic forums, game review sites, game publishers, classic mobile ad services — they all have their faithful audience you can successfully use to promote your game.

And don’t forget about the appropriate social media — if you’re marketing a game, you’re not likely to go for LinkedIn promotions, the way you’d probably do for a business app. You’d rather stick to Instagram and Snapchat, since that’s where your target audience is most likely to be.

6. How to Analyze

Games are the most feature-rich and UX-oriented apps out there. Unlike calculator apps, where you can keep track of the installs and stay happy with it, in mobile gales you have to analyze incredible volumes of data — installs, retention, LTV, average time in session and many many others.

In order to do it right, you need help and automation — attribution analytics, app store analytics, in-app analytics — there’s a wide choice of tools to select from for all of them. You just need to find what suits your particular case best.


Even though your marketing activities across all app categories are pretty similar, promoting a mobile game always requires more efforts and greater creativity. Seek out new ways and sources, think the way your users do and aim at the places they’re most likely to come by your game. And analyze your every move and every click your users make. Timely response to KPI fluctuations and deep understanding of your user segment will help you keep a healthy balance between user acquisition and user retention, which is the main thing you have to be aiming at, after all.