How to manage mobile game advertising during COVID-19

As more people stay home in response to COVID-19 and the changing global landscape, interest in games has risen. Searches for "game app to" grew globally by over 100% between the second and third week in April.1 This increased engagement with mobile games is a great reminder to take a closer look at the strategies you are using to reach new players.

Here are a few ways mobile games marketers can tune their App campaigns to respond to the changing conditions.

Reach new players with the right bidding strategy

  • With so many people looking for new games, titles that appeal to a broad audience should focus on reaching the most possible new players with their ads. Using target cost per install bidding (tCPI) can help you get the most installs for your budget. App campaigns will work to get the most intalls possible at your set bid. Additionally, our new max conversions bidding type, still in beta, will work to get the most installs possible within your budget without the need to set a target CPI bid.
  • Games that rely on highly engaged players should use target cost per action (tCPA) bidding to find players who will complete a specific action in your game. This strategy ensures your marketing budget will be spent reaching the right users out of the influx of people looking for new games.
  • With the global landscape changing day to day, keep a pulse on changing player behavior, campaign performance, and competitive landscapes to inform your decisions. The new games report from Google Analytics is a great way to start measuring your key metrics. Be ready to adjust your bids and budgets across all campaigns if needed. 

Align your creative strategy with player motivations

  • People are turning to games as a way to connect socially while physically apart. So much so, that searches for “online games to play with friends” increased 20xfrom February to March. Ads are the best way to show potential players what they will love about your game. Use your creatives to emphasize how the social aspects of your game meet this need.
  • To tailor your new creatives towards what is top of mind for players, use Google Trends to find connections between what people are searching for and the features your game offers. 
  • Use ad groups to keep different creative themes separate. For example, you could have one ad group focused on social features, another that highlights new trends, and one for your best evergreen creatives.

Increase engagement for new and existing players

  • Give players more ways to connect by posting on social media, engaging with YouTube creators, or connecting with players on community forums.
  • You can still engage players even if your game hasn’t launched yet. Direct players to pre-register in Google Play for a future launch to give them something to look forward to and build up excitement.
  • Offer players more ways to access your premium game content. Consider diversifying your monetization strategy by using both in-app purchases and ads monetization to give players more ways to unlock paid features, help maintain a positive ROI, and improve player retention.

In addition to these gaming-specific recommendations, you can also check out our best practices for navigating your campaigns through COVID-19.



1. Google Data, Global English, Apr. 12-18 vs Apr. 5- 11.

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