Mobile gaming benchmarks of 2019

Whenever a new year starts drawing near, we begin thinking about things that marked the current one. In the mobile gaming world, this usually means observing the key performance indicators in order to make informed decisions in the future and gauge our monetization strategies. 

We went through a similar process with our Monetization Benchmarks Report of Q1 2019 (teaser – a new report is soon to be released), addressing the mobile monetization industry as a whole. Others have focused on the benchmarks that highlighted 2019 in the mobile gaming sphere, so let’s get a closer look at their deductions (first half and third quarter of 2019):

Retention, engagement, session length

First half of 2019:

  • Top 25% games in Trivia and Word had Day 1 retention of 43% – more than 35% is considered good.
  • D1 retention in the Social Casino genre was 32.2%, and 32.7% in Hyper-casual.
  • Top performing titles in the Card and Casino genre had day 7 retention of up to 18%.
  • Top 25% of games had D7 retention of 10-11%.
  • Classic games had the best D7 retention, with mid-core games keeping between 5-8%.
  • The top 25% mobile games had D28 retention of 4% – usually considered good, but classic games should aim for at least double than that.
  • Word and card games were the best performers in D28 retention, with top titles having D28 retention of 12%.
  • DAU-to-MAU ratio or stickiness was the best in the Classic category, with the top 25% of titles reaching 26%.
  • The top five performing genres were Board, Card, Casino, Puzzle, and Word games which had more than 20% stickiness.
  • The average session length reduced by around one minute.
  • Casino and Card games had the longest average session length – around 22 minutes per session.
  • The median mobile game session length was around 4-5 minutes.
  • The top 25% of mobile games got 7-8 minutes.
Q3 2019 MONETIZATION BENCHMARKS

Marketing and user acquisition

H1

  • The conversion rate was dropping, most likely because of the increase in ad-based monetization and drop in IAPs.
  • Role-playing games performed 3-4 times better in terms of conversion rates than other highest performing genres.
  • Role-playing and Strategy games converted 5-7 times more than the other categories.
  • The install-to-in-app conversion rate hit its second-highest point in the summer months from July to September and the cost to acquire a new user who makes an in-app purchase dropped to $27.09.
  • The median CPI for tier 1 countries was between ¢20-45.

Third quarter of 2019:

  • There were over 31 billion app downloads, of which games accounted for almost 40% or more than 12 billion titles.
  • Google Play’s download lead was significantly larger among game apps at 260%, but down 5% in comparison to Q2 2019.
  • Most of the download growth on Google Play was driven by Simulation, Casual, and Action games.
  • Simulation games had an exceptionally strong growth of 65% YoY.
  • Arcade, Puzzle and Simulation games drove the growth of the entire gaming category.
  • In terms of absolute size, Arcade, Action and Puzzle genres remained the largest by total downloads.

Game monetization and revenue

Q3 2019:

  • Fast climbing (as retention is high in the first days)
  • Trend tends to level out to a plateau after seven days as many users churn
  • App marketers often look at the first few days as an indicator for future performance
  • According to predictions made earlier this year, mobile gaming apps were expected to reach a 60% market share in gaming consumer spend in 2019. Mobile games outperformed those predictions, accounting for over 70% of all consumer spend across Google Play and iOS combined in Q3 2019 (the total app consumer spend was over $23 billion).
  • Consumers spent $16 billion on mobile games, 10% more than in the same period a year ago.
  • Consumer spending on iOS grew slightly faster (20% growth) than on Google Play (10%).
  • Games accounted for 65% of consumer spend on iOS, compared to 80% on Google Play.
  • Specifically, Strategy, Action, and Role Playing were the main categories that accounted for YoY absolute growth in consumer spend on iOS.
  • In terms of overall revenue, the charts were topped by Honour of Kings and Fate/Grand Order, while Dragon Raja and CrazyRacing KartRider recorded a powerful increase in consumer spend.
  • YoY consumer spend growth in Google Play mobile games was driven by Casual, Role-playing and Action games like BTS WORLD, which had the highest absolute revenue growth among Casual games.
  • By 2022, revenues in mobile gaming will reach $95.4 billion.

H1 2019:

  • ARPPU and ARPDAU both dropped by 15-20% for casual games, meaning players are spending less and the market is shifting towards F2P.
  • Multiplayer, role-playing, and strategy games have ARPPU up to $25.
  • Trivia and Word perform the worst in ARPDAU.
  • The median eCPM for hyper-casual games is around $5 (having an eCPM of $10 or more is exceptionally good for this genre).
  • The media for eCPM in China is $3.90, which is almost as high as in the US.
  • In tier 1 countries, the median eCPM for hyper-casual is between $2 and $4.
  • In tier 2 countries, the median eCPM for hyper-casual is between ¢25 and ¢50 (cents).
Q3 2019 MONETIZATION BENCHMARKS

Market research and demographics

H1

  • Mobile games account for 33% of all mobile app installs and 10% of all time spent using mobile devices. (H1)

Q3

  • Games accounted for a larger share of downloads on Google Play (40%) than on iOS (30%).
  • India, Russia, and Egypt recorded the highest growth in absolute downloads.
  • The most mobile game downloads came from India, Brazil, and the US.
  • The US, Saudi Arabia, and the UK were the drivers of the largest absolute growth YoY.
  • The US, China, and Japan were the largest markets for iOS downloads, with Japan marking the YoY consumer spend growth.
  • YoY consumer spend growth for Google Play mobile games was driven by the US, South Korea, and Russia.
Q2 2019 AD LTV BENCHMARKS

Strength is in numbers

Hopefully, these data assembled by our colleagues in AppAnnie, Liftoff, GameAnalytics, and Newzoo has helped you gain some insights into the inner workings and subtleties of the amazing mobile game market.

Ultimately, this should assist you in creating new user acquisition and monetization strategies and improving the existing ones. We at Soomla have made quite a few interesting reports on our own, like the ones addressing the ad LTV benchmarks and ad network comparison.

Combining all these reports and the strength of Soomla’s platform and expertise, you can get the most out of your mobile game (or any other kind of app, for that matter), starting today. So don’t be shy, reach out and hit us a message or request a demo. We’re here to help.

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