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Puzzle Mobile Game Advertising: Ad Examples and Statistics for 2021

(This article was originally published on Udonis’ blog.)

Many puzzle mobile games are not financially viable. It’s not so much about how good the game is, but how well it’s advertised.

Mobile game marketing is the crucial link between developing a superb game and monetizing it.

That’s why you need to master puzzle mobile game advertising.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What are the top puzzle mobile games and publishers

You might also be interested in our casual mobile game advertising guide!

Top 10 Puzzle Mobile Games by Downloads

  1. Fishdom (Playrix)

Top Puzzle Mobile Game Publishers in 2021

Now let’s take a look at some of the most successful puzzle mobile game publishers.


Known for puzzle games like Toy Blast and Toon Blast, Peak is one of the top publishers in this genre.

Peak earned $33 million just in February 2020 and got over 3 million downloads (Toon Blast is the most popular with 900k downloads last month).

In 2019, Peak reached 1.2 billion in lifetime player spending, which is huge.

What’s interesting is that Peak has a total of 34 iOS and Android games, but only Toon Blast and Toy Blast are profitable.

To give you a better idea, those two games make up for 99% of Peak’s profits, and just 1% comes from their other titles. Lost Bubble — Pop Bubbles, their third most popular game had only 9k downloads in the last month, while all other has less than 5k.

Small Giant Games

Now here’s a different example of a puzzle mobile game studio.

While Peak has multiple games, Small Giant Games scored big with just one game — Empires and Puzzles: Epic Match 3.

Back in 2018, Small Giant Games spent more than $80 million on user acquisition. But it was worth it. This studio has earned more than $500 million in lifetime revenue.

Its CEO, Timo Soininen, says the appeal of Empires and Puzzles is, “simple casual mechanic of a “match-3” puzzle was appealing to casual gamers, but the rest of the game’s depth also made those players want to come back for a deeper meta experience.”

What’s interesting is that 80% Small Giants Game was acquired by Zynga for $560 million. That resulted in Zynga’s stock doubling in 2019 and its revenue increasing.

Tactile Games

Tactile Games is another successful puzzle mobile game publisher with titles like Lily’s Garden, Cookie Cats, and Bree Brilliant Blast.

This studio has 34 games and over 1 million total downloads. Their most downloaded and top-grossing game is Lily’s Garden. In February 2020, Lilly’s Garden was downloaded 800k times and earned $3 million in revenue.

All other Tactile Games titles have less than 5k downloads and have earned $10k or less. Similarly to Peak, Tactile Games earn 99% of their profits from one game. This seems to be a trend among mobile game publishers.

How to Acquire More Users: 5 Puzzle Mobile Game Advertising Tips

Here are some simple user acquisition tips for puzzle mobile games.

1. Understand What Engages Puzzle Players

As with any advertising campaign, it’s essential to know your target audience. Puzzle gamers have specific interests and attitudes towards gaming.

Basically, puzzle players fall into the category of casual gamers.

They’re drawn towards easy to learn, but hard to master games they can play on the go. In short, something to pass the time. That’s how you should represent your game if you want to appeal to a casual audience.

Puzzle gamers don’t care about gaming trends or search the app stores for interesting games to play. On the other hand, hardcore gamers are skilled and take gaming very seriously — chances are they might not be so interested in puzzle games.

2. Come Up with Ad Creatives that Convert Users

Puzzle mobile game advertising is all about superb ad creatives — it’s what makes users install a game.

The key is to give users a taste of the game as well as explain how it works. Is it a twist on a match-3 game? Math puzzles? A detective mystery where you need to find clues to solve the case?

Whatever it may be, you need to make it clear in video ads. The easiest way to do that is to have gameplay aspects in your ad.

Furthermore, highlight your USP, i.e. what makes your puzzle game different and better from others. That gives people a reason to download and install the game.

Of course, you need to make the ad attention-grabbing and engaging. There are many ways to achieve that — make the video colorful, add fun music, play around with different layouts, include something unexpected, etc.

3. (Split) Test Your Creatives

Here’s the thing about creatives.

It’s near impossible to predict which one will bring better results. And it’s not something you should guess.

All creatives should be tested.

This includes testing different assets, visuals, ad formats, layouts, copy, etc. Simply run multiple versions of your ad and then analyze the data to see which one performed better.

Later in the article, I’m going to breakdown top puzzle game ads and what makes them successful, so make sure to keep on reading.

4. Utilize Multiple Mobile Game Marketing Channels

Never rely on just one marketing channel to promote your puzzle game — this is a common mistake many studios make.

Smart puzzle mobile game advertising is about utilizing multiple channels — different social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.), Reddit, Quora, email marketing, influencer marketing, etc.

Facebook and Instagram ads are everyone’s go-to. However, TikTok is becoming quite popular for puzzle mobile game advertising. Many mobile game studios have successfully promoted mobile games on this up-and-coming platform.

If you want to learn more about TikTok, check out our TikTok advertising guide.

5. Become a Master of App Store Optimization

Looking for a free way to advertise a puzzle mobile game?

App store optimization is the answer.

Even though ASO is not advertising per se, it does improve the visibility of your puzzle game and gets you more users. In many ways, it’s a lot like search engine optimization.

A big part of ASO is market research — you first need to check out what your competitors are doing, find relevant keywords and notice current puzzle game trends. Big game studios analyze every detail — from game icon trends to best keywords to use.

Don’t forget that app store optimization is something you can split test. By that, I mean testing all the important ASO components — game title, game icon, keywords, description, screenshots, trailer, promo video, etc.

If you want to learn more about ASO, you should check out our app store optimization guide.

Bonus Tips

We have asked Mike Khorev, a marketing consultant for more puzzle mobile game advertising tips.

Here’s what he has to say.

“As a marketing consultant, I’ve handled several mobile developer clients in the past, and based on that experience, here are my takes. In my opinion, there are three effective ways we can use to promote a mobile app (more specifically a puzzle mobile game).

YouTube Ads
With various gaming channels and creators on YouTube today, many gamers and especially casual gamers are active on YouTube. Putting an engaging, targeted ad is a way to properly build awareness and engage your target audience. If your budget allows, you can also invest in Facebook Ads to diversify your ad campaign.

Influencer marketing

Work with influencers that specialize in casual gaming depending on your niche/sub-niche and let them promote your brand. The key here is to find the right influencer for your game, which can be very easy or very difficult depending on your game. That is, if there are existing games that are quite similar to yours, you can approach content creators that covered/streamed these games.”

Puzzle Mobile Game Advertising: 3 Ad Examples from Top Games

One of the best ways to figure out what kind of ads work for puzzle mobile games is by analyzing competitors’ ads.

Below, I break down ads from top puzzle games to show you what makes them so successful.

1. Toy Blast

Duration: 00:30

Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, Messenger

Video Ad Breakdown

Toy Blast is among the top puzzle mobile games at the moment. That’s largely due to smart advertising.

If you look at the example of a Toy Blast ad, the first thing you notice is that it’s very colorful and fun. At the beginning of the video ad, you’re invited to enter the magical Toy Blast world.

The video quickly turns into gameplay — showcasing the main features of this puzzle game. Even though the game mechanics are simple and nothing new, this ad does a good job of portraying how fun the game is.

We’re presented with different game levels and settings that show how simple it is to play the game. This goes back to what I was saying about puzzle gamers — they like easy-to-play mobile games.

Another thing you can see when we look at Toy Blast ads is that different video sizes are used. That’s something you should consider when creating video ads — you need to adjust it according to the platform.

Copy Analysis

  • Think You Can Do Better? 🤔 Make Sure You’re Up to New Challenges! 😎

These are some examples of Toy Blast ad descriptions.

As you might notice, the copy challenges users (“Think you can do better?”). This is a very common strategy many puzzle mobile games use — and it seems to work really well. It makes you want to install the game and start playing right now.

The second ad copy is basically a very direct call to action that represents Toy Blast as “the best puzzle game”.

2. Bubble Witch 3 Saga

Duration: 00:15

Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, Messenger

Video Ad Breakdown

Bubble Witch 3 Saga ad successfully showcases its match-3 game mechanics, as well as the storytelling aspects. The main character, Stella, is a witch who needs your help with defeating her enemy. That adventure is portrayed well in the ads.

The ad also highlights the unique challenge and features of this puzzle game — “Help Stella find the legendary hats and get permanent bonuses.” So there’s an incentive and a reward that attracts puzzle gamers.

In general, the ad is very short and simple, but it does the job well. Bubble Witch 3 Saga has managed to acquire thousands of users with these ads, which means they’re definitely working.

Another interesting technique can be noticed in Bubble Witch 3 Saga remarketing ads — they play on emotions to get users to play the game again and improve user retention.

Not just that, but the ad description says, “Free gifts are waiting for you in Bubble Witch 3 Saga! Claim yours now!” That’s another incentive to get users back to the game.

Copy Analysis

  • Free gifts are waiting for you in Bubble Witch 3 Saga! Claim yours now!

These are two main Bubble Witch 3 Saga ad descriptions.

Both, of course, include a call to action. However, in the first one, free gifts are the incentive that lure users in. In the second, there’s a challenge. Again, a common technique that’s used in puzzle mobile game advertising.

In the video ad itself, there’s “Help Stella find the legendary hats” and “Get permanent bonuses.”

These work in two ways. One — they’re specific CTA’s that invite you to play. Two — they highlight the main features and game characters.

3. Empires and Puzzles: Epic Match 3

Duration: 00:30

Platforms: Facebook, Audience Network

Video Ad Breakdown

This Empires and Puzzles ad focuses on game characters. That’s pretty smart considering this game is a mix of classic match-3, RPG, and strategy game. So starting the ad with character upgrades and RPG aspects is a great example of highlighting its USP.

In the second half of the ad, we can see the gameplay action — familiar match-3 game mechanics that puzzle gamers are attracted to mixed with tactical monster fights.

Most importantly, this ad showcases the variety of this game, which is what makes players download this game. It’s a great example of puzzle mobile game advertising.

Another important thing to note is the compelling imagery of Empires and Puzzles’ ads. A simple match-3 game instantly looks more inviting when you add a gorgeous and sexually alluring warrior in the mix.

Copy Analysis

  • Unleash your skills! Make the right moves! Beat your enemies in this match-3 RPG! ⚔️

This ad copy successfully highlights the main game features, as well its USP — a match-3 game with aspects of RPG and strategy.

Here are a few more examples:

  • BEAT puzzles and BATTLE like never before! CHALLENGE your enemies and WIN!

Both of these are very strong CTAs that invite users in the Empires and Puzzles universe.

Again, all different game aspects are represented in the ad copy. RPG (“Unleash your skills”), strategy (“Make the right moves”), and puzzle (“Put your matching tactics to the test”).

That way, users know what type of game this is right away.

BONUS: Best Ways to Monetize a Puzzle Mobile Game

So now you know how to advertise your puzzle game and what it takes to create a good ad.

Once you implement these techniques, the users will start coming.

But how do you actually make money off your game?

Well, there are a couple of ways you can monetize your puzzle game, two main ones being in-game purchases and in-game ads.

If you set it up in a smart way, in-game purchases can bring you a lot of revenue. Once players are hooked to your puzzle game, they might be willing to pay to get access to premium content, get more lives, unlock new characters or levels, etc.

However, in the last couple of years, more and more mobile game publishers are turning to in-game ads, especially for puzzle games. This model seems to work well.

What you need to be careful about is maintaining great user experience and placing it above everything. That means not spamming players with intrusive and irrelevant ads. Otherwise, you’ll lose players and then you won’t have anything to monetize.

If you want to maximize your in-game ad revenue, you need to learn about these mobile game ad formats.

Puzzle Mobile Game Statistics for 2021 That Will Blow Your Mind

No matter how good your mobile game marketing strategy is, you still need a way to measure its results.

Here’s what I mean by that.

By tracking key mobile game metrics, you can actually see how well your puzzle game is performing and what kind of potential it has. Then you can optimize it to get better results.

It’s also important to know how well your competitors are doing as well as current market trends.

However, it’s easy to get lost in all that data.

That’s why I have put together all the most important puzzle mobile game statistics you need to know in 2021. This data will show you how other puzzle games are performing and what numbers you should aim for.

The statistics include:

  • user retention

Puzzle Mobile Game User Retention Statistics

User retention is hands down one of the most important mobile game metrics. It allows you to know how many players keep playing your puzzle day after a certain time period has passed.

Most commonly, user retention is measured for day 1, day 7, and day 28.

Day 1 Retention Statistics for Puzzle Mobile Games

In general, mobile games that have 35% day-1 retention or more are doing really well. If it’s lower than 30%, it needs improvement.

It’s important to note that many big mobile game studios decide to discontinue the game if it has bad day-1 retention. That decision is not easy to make, especially for indie developers who have put their hearts and soul into one game.

But even if you don’t decide to kill your game, you need to make drastic changes if day-1 retention is low.

For the top 2% of puzzle games, day 1 retention in 2020 was between 49.97% in July, and 55.97% in February.

This comes as no surprise since the lockdown was keeping people indoors and playing mobile games. On the other hand, the virus wasn’t spreading as quickly in summer weather, allowing for phone-free vacations in July.

For the top 25% of puzzle games, day 1 retention in 2020 was between 30.78% in November, and 34.34% in January.

The median 50% of puzzle games had the lowest day 1 retention in November as well — 21.89%, and the highest in February — 25.52%.

The bottom 25% of puzzle games had their worst day 1 retention in November when it was 12.15%. Their best day 1 retention was in March, with 15.81%.

Day 7 Retention Statistics for Puzzle Mobile Games

This metric shows you the percentage of users to keep playing after 7 days. As you might expect, it’s lower than day-1 retention.

Classic mobile game genres like casino, board, and word, have the best day-7 retention (12% on average).

Day 7 retention for the top 2% of puzzle games was at its highest in June with 33.44%, then dropping down to its lowest point in August with 27.48%.

The top 25% of puzzle games had the highest retention in January with 12.34% and the lowest in November with 10.18%.

Retention for the median 50% of puzzle games varied between 6.35% in January and 4.82% in August.

The bottom 25% of puzzle games had the highest day 7 retention in January with 2.65%, and the lowest in October with 1.58%.

We can notice a general trend here as well — higher numbers at the beginning of 2020 that slightly went down as the year went on. The only exception are the top 2% of puzzle games that had their day 7 retention high point in June, and its low point just 2 months later in August.

Day 28 Retention Statistics for Puzzle Mobile Games

According to Business of Apps, 94% of players abandon a game after 28 days. The numbers are even worse for the bottom 25% of games — 0.5%. On average, retention rates have been dropping — it’s lower in 2019 than it was in 2018.

So what’s considered to be good day-28 retention?

4% or more is quite good. However, for classic games, it should be 8% more since those genres have the best day-28 user retention (12% for top-performing games).

Day 28 retention for the top 2% puzzle games stayed fairly high, reaching its highest point in January with 23.86% (nearly reaching this number in July and October), and its lowest point in May with 18.31%.

The top 25% of puzzle games reached their peak day 28 retention in February with 5.62%, slowly dropping with the lowest point in November — 4.28%.

The median 50% of puzzle games maintained a fair day 28 retention, ranging from 1.68% in January to 1.21% in September.

However, the bottom 25% of puzzle games didn’t do so well, with 0% retention rate showing up a lot, and the highest retention being at 0.06% in February.

So far, it seems that the beginning of 2020 was better for puzzle games when it comes to retention.

How to Improve Puzzle Mobile Game User Retention?

On average, puzzle mobile games have better user retention than arcade, action, adventure, racing, simulation, racing, sports, and RPG.

However, there’s still room for improvement.

You need to make sure that your puzzle mobile game is not repetitive and boring after a while. That can really kill user retention. Try to switch things up and allow players to unlock new levels that will keep them interested.

It’s also important to make each level a little bit harder — players want to be challenged by puzzle games, it’s what keeps them coming back. However, don’t make it too hard — it will frustrate players and they’ll give up.

Aim for that balance between challenging and addictive, but not insanely complex.

Also, don’t forget about bonuses and rewards — that’s a great way to entice players to keep playing.

Here’s what Stacy Capiro, Founder of Growth Marketing has to say about improving user retention.

“One way to improve mobile game user retention is to have a goal the user is working toward in the app. When people know they have made progress toward an in-app goal, they are more likely to log back in and use the app again to complete the goal, especially when there is an award attached.”

Another thing that influences user retention, besides the quality of the game, is the ads that are shown. If users are harassed with irrelevant ads, there’s a big chance they will stop playing and uninstall your game.

The key is to strike a good balance between monetizing your puzzle game by earning ad revenue and maintain a great user experience.

Puzzle Mobile Games Average Session Length Statistics

User retention is not the only important thing — you also need to track average session length.

It tells you how much time users spend playing your puzzle game. The average session length is counted from the moment a user opens the app to the time they close it.

In 2020, the session length for the top 25% of puzzle games remained stable at an average of 9 minutes, with exceptions in January and March when it dropped to 8 minutes.

The median 50% of puzzle games held steady with a session length average of 5 minutes until mid-August when it increased to 6 minutes where it remained.

The average session length for the bottom 25% of puzzle games remained the same throughout the year, at 3 minutes.

We can notice a huge difference between the bottom 25% of puzzle games with an average session length of 3 minutes and the top 2% of puzzle games with average session lengths that lasted over an hour — puzzles can be very engaging, they just need to be set up properly.

Puzzle Mobile Games ARPPU Statistics

The average revenue per paying user, or ARPPU, is calculated by dividing revenue and paying users.

ARPPU has been steadily declining over the years. That’s mostly because more developers are turning to ad-based monetization and less on in-app purchases.

So, how much users spend on puzzle mobile games?

For the top 2% of puzzle games, ARPPU declined throughout 2020. The highest weekly ARPPU was in March, with $92.03, and the lowest in June, with $52.06, reaching nearly that level again in November, with $52.89.

The top 25% of puzzle games held a steady weekly ARPPU throughout the year, with the exception of the bump in May when it peaked at $11.23. The lowest point was at the beginning of the year, in January, with $9.09.

The median 50% of puzzle games was even steadier, ranging from $6.43 in May to $5.25 in January.

We can find a nearly flat line for the bottom 25% of puzzle games whose weekly ARPPU ranged from the highest point of $3.39 in November to the lowest of $2.63 in January.

The biggest fluctuations were happening with the top 2% of puzzle games, while the rest mainly had a steady ARPPU throughout 2020.

So how to get users to spend more and increase ARPPU for your puzzle game?

Here are a couple of tips you can try:

  • Perfect the gameplay

Puzzle Mobile Games ARPDAU Statistics

Wondering how much money you earn from a user in one day?

ARPDAU can show you that — it stands for average revenue per daily active user. Just like ARPPU, ARPDAU has been declining over the years for all genres.

RPG and strategy games have the highest ARPDAU (almost $0.30, while trivia and word games have the lowest ($0.01).

The top 2% of puzzle games’ ARPDAU ended up fairly close to where it started, with its highest point being in September 2020 with $0.68, and lowest in January 2020 with $0.38.

ARPDAU for the top 25% of puzzle games started and ended the year at $0.06, had its highest point in September with $0.08, and the lowest in January with $0.05.

The median 50%’s ARPDAU was steady at $0.02, with jumps to $0.03 in May, July, August, September and October.

The bottom 25%’s ARPDAU remained the same for the whole of 2020, at $0.01.

We can notice that ARPDAU was much lower than ARPPU, and the fluctuations were smaller, or in some cases, non-existent.

The thing is, users will probably never spend as much in a puzzle game as in an RPG, for example. However, there are ways to increase ARPDAU for puzzle mobile games.

Knowing who your players are is the first step — you need to know what they like and how much they can spend. Then you need to split test different pricing for in-app purchases and see what works best.

Also, be strategic about what type of in-app purchases you offer. Make sure they’re relevant to the game, not an afterthought.

Puzzle Mobile Games Conversion Statistics

Conversion data represents the percentage of players who made a purchase. Like ARPPU and ARPDAU, conversions are steadily declining for all genres due to in-game ads monetization.

Once again, RPG and strategy games convert the most users (1.2% — 1.3%).

The conversion rate for the top 2% of puzzle games ranged between the highest weekly value of 8.53% in November 2020 and the lowest of 3.81% in January 2020.

For the top 25% of puzzle games, it ranged ranged from the highest value of 0.91% in September to the lowest of 0.74% in March.

The conversion rate for the median 50% of puzzle games moved between 0.47% in May and 0.36% in November.

The bottom 25% of puzzle games had the lowest conversion rates, going from the high of 0.19% in the first half of the year, to the lowest point of 0.15% in July.

Data Source: GameAnalytics

Average Puzzle Mobile Game CPIs in Tier 1 Countries

  • Australia: $1.54 (iOS), $0.87 (Google Play)

Final Thoughts on Puzzle Mobile Game Advertising

Now we want to hear from you!

What’s your experience with puzzle mobile game advertising? What aspect of it do you find the hardest? If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.

And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to get more updates on mobile game advertising!

About Udonis

Since 2018 until today, Udonis Inc. has acquired over 150 million users for mobile apps & games. We’re recognized as a leading mobile marketing agency by 5 major marketing review firms. We helped over 20 mobile apps & games reach the top charts. Want to know how we make it look so effortless? Meet us to find out!



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