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shutterstock_511987513.jpgAccording to a recent Pew Research Center study, 77% of  Americans own smartphones; smartphone ownership is practically ubiquitous among 18- to 29-year-old people, and it's rising significantly adults over 65. But what are all of these people DOING with their smartphones, other than making calls?

You might be surprised to learn that gaming apps generated the most overall app store revenue in 2016, bringing in 75% for the iOS App Store and 90% for Google Play. Not social networking apps, not productivity tools, but games. The wild success of games like Pokemon Go and Candy Crush isn't a fluke, but a sign of new trend.

People are using their smartphones for gaming at an unprecedented level. What does that have to do with marketing? Read on to learn more about how mobile gaming has taken the marketing world by storm.

Mobile Gaming Reaches a Wide Audience

Did you know that 87% of people use their mobile phones while they watch TV? And that 70% of those people are playing games because they're "engaging" and "relaxing?" With their attention focused on their mobile devices, people are paying little to no attention to traditional advertising mediums.

You might think that that mobile games are for kids, but research shows that's simply not the case. People representing every demographic are playing mobile games, with women favoring casual puzzle games, such as Bejeweled Blitz or Candy Crush, and men preferring to dedicate more time per session playing games such as Clash of Clans. 

With a little research, you can easily determine the type of game your targeted demographic prefers; once you obtain this knowledge, it's up to you to  get your brand in front of your audience in a way that will be fun and engaging as well as profitable. 

Mobile Gaming Offers Opportunities for Innovation

The trend of "dual screens" is forcing marketers to stretch their creative muscles. Gone are the days when your audience would sit and watch commercials or listen to radio ads, and the rise of ad blockers means that it's becoming more difficult to to advertise online, too. So, what's a marketer to do? You've probably heard the old saying, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," right? Never has that trite phrase been more applicable than now. 

Mobile gaming leaves your audience in a relaxed, receptive frame of mind— in other words, the ideal state of mind in which to communicate with you. Here are some fun and unique ways you can leverage that feeling with in-game ads and giveaways that will not only generate a positive response to your brand, but also play into our old friend, the reciprocity principle

  • In-App Videos — These videos allows mobile game users to watch a video ad at any time, with the knowledge that watching the video will help them earn rewards within the game. These are popular in games that feature items for purchase using the game's particular form of currency— for example, you can buy a new decoration or structure for your habitat within the world of the game. 
  • Mini-Games — A branded mini-game continues the experience of gaming even as it delivers the message you want to convey. It emotionally connects players to the game, thus strengthening the player's affinity for the brand that created the game.  (And? It's fun!) You could even offer a "reward" for anyone who "wins" the mini-game, making the user even more invested in playing. 
  • Be Clever — Users appreciate a good joke, and you're more likely to make a positive connection when you're willing to laugh at yourself. Don't advertise within a mobile game simply because you think it's the hip thing to do— make sure that your product has a connection to the game. For instance, back when Farmville was all the rage on Facebook, Green Giant was one of their top advertisers. 

Create Your Own Mobile Game

You don't need to latch onto an established game's coattails to make mobile gaming work for you. Many established brands have created fun and interesting mobile games that are part of their larger marketing strategy. These games varied from puzzle games to silly race games, and some offered rewards for playing while others simply gave the player the satisfaction of the win. Regardless, all of the games were creative and enjoyable for users to play, winning the brands a lot of positive emotional investment. 

Are you ready to reconfigure your marketing strategy to reflect the way people are consuming media? Contact us today to schedule a free marketing consultation! We'd love to help you take your marketing to the next level!

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