July 24th, 2019

Mobile Game Demographics – Who’s Playing In 2019?



It’s official: mobile gaming has gone mainstream.

Our latest survey of more than 18,000 mobile gamers from the Tapjoy offerwall has revealed mobile games are downloaded and enjoyed by users from all walks of life, even more so than social media. Parents are just as likely to unwind with Candy Crush or Quell+ as their children are to enjoy Pokémon Go or Fortnite.

Perhaps most compelling was the diversity of respondents from which we received answers. Survey participants came in largely equal measure from rural and urban backgrounds, high and low income, parents and non-parents, and much more. All of this points towards the sheer scale and variety of inventory available to marketers, especially those taking advantage of programmatic advertising strategies.

With only a few quick clicks, programmatic ad buyers can leverage the power of mobile gaming and the Tapjoy ad network to connect with almost any desired audience at scale. With more than 2.4 billion people playing mobile games this year, in-app advertising is an opportunity few marketers can ignore.

With such widespread adoption, we set out to identify some of the largest and most valuable market segments within the mobile gaming ecosystem. We distilled our findings into the Modern Mobile Gamer – 2019 Personas eBook to give marketers a clearer sense of the opportunities that exist.

The full report is available here, but here are some high-level insights we uncovered:

What most mobile gamers have in common

While modern mobile gamer demographics reflect a diverse range of backgrounds, there were a number of consistencies among respondents.

  • Modern mobile gamers are predominantly female
  • These users are highly engaged and follow consistent daily and weekly app usage patterns
  • The most popular mobile genres are puzzle, strategy, and role-playing games
  • Most players enjoy a wide range of gaming apps and encompass multiple IPs
  • Players prefer opt-in rewarded advertising over traditional interstitial formats
  • Respondents prefer mobile games over social media apps

Perhaps most important is the fact that identifying with mobile gaming as a cultural touchstone is becoming increasingly common. Roughly 60% of respondents self-identify as gamers, a 26% increase from a prior study conducted in 2017. Gaming is also ranked as one of the most common mobile activities, second only to texting in terms of overall usage. When asked which mobile apps they would be willing to give up, 69% of players claimed they would give up social networks or television before deleting their games.

To better our understanding of who’s playing mobile games, we took a deeper dive into three specific personas our research uncovered:

  • Millennial mobile gamers
  • Parent mobile gamers
  • High-income mobile gamers


Millennial mobile gamers are a market group primarily made up of educated females from densely populated areas throughout the United States. Roughly half of this group are married or in a significant relationship, yet the majority do not have children. 67% of millenial respondents said they would rather give up social networks or television before mobile games.

The majority of millennial mobile gamers pay more attention to mobile game advertisements than ads in any other medium. Only 10% avoid rewarded ads, while 76% prefer rewarded ads over interstitials. Roughly 68% of millennial respondents enjoying playing while relaxing at home, with 59% playing four or more times each day.

The top careers of millennial mobile gamers are:

  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Food and Beverage Services
  • Retail
  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Finance/Insurance

What does this mean for advertisers?

Millennial gamers don’t always have the disposable income of other demographic groups, but they do enjoy spending what they have on travel experiences and on demand services. Programmatic campaigns are a great way to get your app’s offering across to this demographic that has a higher than average response rate!


The mobile gamer parents group primarily consists of educated females in suburban areas with two or more children. Most have established careers, and are married or in a committed relationship. 62% of this group are employed full or part-time and most earn enough to enjoy some level of disposable income. Mobile gamer parents tend to engage with ecommerce, real estate, entertainment, and puzzle apps.

Mobile gamer parents are also quite likely to engage with rewarded video ads, with 93% of respondents preferring ads that connect with gameplay. A full 100% of parents enjoy playing mobile games at home, usually while watching TV or before bed. 87% of respondents play two or more times each day.

The top careers of mobile gamer parents are:

  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Food and Beverages
  • Retail
  • Government
  • Finance/Insurance
  • Arts/Entertainment

What does this mean for advertisers?

Advertisers should note that gaming parents don’t shop solely for themselves — 45% of respondents intend to make purchases for their children in the immediate future. Programmatic advertisements for back-to-school clothing or children’s entertainment is especially relevant to this demographic.


High income mobile gamers are equally split between men and women, most of whom live in urban or suburban areas. The vast majority of this group is highly educated and currently holds a senior career position. Most are in committed relationships and have one or more children. Many high income mobile gamers earn over $75K each year and engage with financial, ecommerce, travel, and entertainment apps.

A significant volume of high income mobile gamers — roughly 40% — recognize rewarded ads provide the revenue that supports game developers. Even when this fact isn’t recognized, 74% of respondents still prefer rewarded ads over other formats. An impressive 87% of high income mobile gamers will play two or more times each day, while a majority also spend time on traditional gaming consoles.

The top five careers of mobile gamer parents are:

  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Finance/Insurance
  • Government
  • IT
  • Computer Hardware/Software
  • Engineering

What does this mean for advertisers?

High-income professional gamers are primed to engage with rewarded advertising, even if simply to support mobile developers. Many are interested in financial services, and are willing to spend disposable income on expensive items like trips, game consoles, or entertainment outings. Programmatic advertisers should tailor their ad deployments to this market accordingly.

Mobile gamers come from a wide range of backgrounds, interests, and careers, but all are found playing games — often on a daily basis. What’s more, mobile gamers are highly receptive to branded messaging in their apps and will gladly engage with opt-in rewarded ad placements. By understanding the unique needs and interests of each gaming demographic group, advertisers can deploy engaging creative that converts players into loyal customers. Better still, marketers taking advantage of programmatic buying capabilities can connect with these and other demographic groups at scale through the power of the Tapjoy private exchange.

For the full results of our study and further mobile game demographics insights, download the full report today!

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