February 19th, 2019

The Genres That Drove Growth And Other Insights From App Annie’s 2018 Mobile Monetization Study

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Mobile game monetization hit new record highs in 2018 as battle royale and hyper-casual games competed for supremacy.

In the mobile marketing world, this is the time of year when most networks crunch their 2018 statistics to get a big-picture view of our industry. As marketers, that means we’re spoiled for exciting reading material, with a multitude of new reports that highlight interesting perspectives and insights. Of these studies, few are more comprehensive than App Annie’s 160-page “The State of Mobile 2019”, which analyzes every trend and app category and offers detailed predictions for the future.

We at Tapjoy were especially excited to read App Annie’s take on mobile gaming, which saw a tumultuous 2018 with the rise of two prominent genres: hyper-casual and battle royale. Here are some key gaming insights that are worth highlighting:

Mobile games monetization is on the rise

Monetization in the mobile games space continues to show year-on-year growth, reaching record heights yet again for 2018. In fact, mobile gaming remains the fastest growing sector of all gaming markets, including consoles, PC, Mac, and handheld platforms. Games currently account for 74% of all consumer spend within apps stores, with China, the US, and Japan controlling 75% of that spend. Mobile gaming is expected to reach 60% of total market share in 2019.

Players love battle royale and hyper-casual games

While mobile gaming is growing faster than console gaming, in terms of actual titles they aren’t so different. The hugely successful battle royale genre leapt from console to mobile platforms thanks to games like Fortnite, PUBG Mobile, Rules of Survival, and Free Fire. Battle royale games did exceptionally well in Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean markets that reflect a competitive online gaming culture. Meanwhile, hyper-casual games continued to top the charts thanks to Voodoo’s impressive app library.

Mobile success stories are shared between gaming incumbents and newcomers

2018 proved there’s room for both established games and up-and-coming apps to succeed. App Annie’s measurements of monthly active users revealed that Pokemon GO and Candy Crush Saga are still going strong years after their initial release. Meanwhile, new releases like PUBG Mobile and Helix Jump gained massive user bases during their 2018 launch windows.

Domestic growth in China was limited, but overseas markets are seeing higher results

China’s mobile games industry is facing a period of uncertainty while the nation considers its stance on game licensing regulations, which has limited domestic year-on-year growth to 4% compared with 2017. When combined with overseas markets, however, a different picture emerges. Non-APAC gaming markets have seen significant growth for Chinese publishers, with the Americas seeing notable gains of 140%. License approvals for new game titles will resume in 2019, so domestic and overseas growth is expected to continue moving forward.

We’d like to tip our hats to the folks at App Annie, who generated a fascinating and engaging summary of mobile marketing in 2018. You can download the full report to find more insights across every mobile app genre and category.

Want to brush up on more mobile app marketing fundamentals? Check out “What Is In-App Marketing?”and take a deep dive into tips for developing your own unique campaigns.


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