Making Sense of Mobile Game Marketing

Mark Stephens

Bored with the same old marketing methods? Website and social media sites not delivering the results you expected? Current campaigns nothing more than a damp squib? Times are changing quickly and any marketers who haven’t yet considered mobile game marketing might be interested in paying close attention to what their audience is doing, because advertising and branding tends to follow where the crowds go. A compelling case is building for businesses to shift focus towards mobile applications and we look at some of the key drivers here.


Mobile Device Uptake

In some countries now the number of mobile phones exceeds the population – Australia being an example.

Within the mobile phone sector the fastest area of growth is in smart phones; that’s Internet-ready, game-ready devices that are portable offices and portable and personalised entertainment centers!

A statistic we heard on a mainstream European News Channel recently said that 50,000 iPads are sold every 12 hours. That seemed pretty amazing. While we couldn’t get that figure verified anywhere else here are a few well-known stats about iPad sales:

  • The original iPad sold 300,000 units on the day it first hit the stores (April 3, 2010)
  • iPad sales were over a million units in its first month.
  • iPad 2 sold an estimated 2.5 million units in its first month of sales earlier this year.

Those are pretty serious sales figures and growth and it’s not confined to iOs-based devices. The kindle Fire tablet racked up 250,000 pre-ordered units within 5 days of its release being announced.

This really just backs up what we can see with our own eyes – LOTS of people are getting their hands on tablets, spending more time connecting to the Internet out of their home and essentially “going mobile” with far more than making telephone calls and texting these days. So what are they doing, mainly?

The Increasing Popularity of Mobile Games

They are doing many things on their mobile devices – local search, chat, email and online video, of course; but then there’s mobile gaming.

All evidence points to huge surges in both the amount of mobile gamers and the amount of time they are playing games on their mobile devices.

It remains an important domain for kids, but a whole new demographic of mobile gamers has been born by the popularity of iPhones, iPads and Androids etc.

Mums, dads, uncles and aunties also have their eyes on mobile games these days – and they may also hand their phone or tablet to their kids for an hour to play with, because of all the entertainment available on them these days.

A recent report by the NPD Group indicates that the share of kids and teens playing mobile games rose by 30% in the past 2 years.

Reuters recently reported that Angry Birds has been downloaded over 500 million in the past two years – a frightening statistic for pigs and also one that should leave you in no doubt about the potential here.

As mentioned before, marketers generally head to where the sheep are flocking to … and right now (and for the foreseeable future) they are heading to mobile devices and all the gaming opportunities that are opening up.

Using Mobile Games & Apps for Marketing

There is a whole dedicated area of marketing that uses SMS to push products and services out to the huge mobile phone market; if you’ve received these in any quantity you’ll understand how annoying they can be!

Local, targeted mobile marketing can be more useful,if you have local service providers sending you promotions and offers – it can even be highly location-based so if you pass a certain store and they have an offer on you can receive a text.

mobileBut there is a more subtle approach to positioning your business through games and apps.

We’ve already established that more people are turning to games and using their mobile devices for entertainment purposes. This opens a whole new world, where developers can either create games around a product or incorporate an ad into an existing game. Obama did it years ago…why can’t you?


There is an increasing likelihood that, if you operate a small business, a large percentage of your market owns either a smartphone, a tablet or some portable device that they can play mobile games on.

Find out what types of games your customers are playing; surveys can be done; then consider developing a game based around your product, to set you apart from your competition, or placing an ad inside a game. It could be a great way to brand yourself.