Understand and connect to a casual gamer.  Part 2

Understand and connect to a casual gamer.  Part 2

In 2016, mobile games generated 75% of App Store and 90% of Google Play revenues (App Annie, 2017). That is yet another fact shouting  out: mobile games is the place to be for brands. Thankfully, more and more marketers see that it is quite easy to connect with casual gamers and monetize.

Let us introduce you to those gamers, who are likely to open up their wallets and spend a dollar or two in a game.

Since a game app has to appear on their device first, it is nice to know how they start playing. Well, casual players usually get a tip from a friend or notice it on a ranking list. But if we look at mobile spenders specifically, the channels they find trustworthy to get information on new games are: social networks (68%), photo/video services (59%), chat apps (54%), and word-of-mouth (34%) (Facebook IQ, 2016). That means the current social media channels can be employed to attract the money-bringing-players.

Of course, it is not only the downloads which bring revenue, but rather the so-called stickiness or retention rate. A consumer can delete a game after 10 minutes or play it for the 2 next years. Obviously, the more gamers spend time in a game, the more likely brands can cash in, and thus this time we are going to present the spending patterns of casual gamers.

How people spend money in games? What are the revenue models?


The first type of mobile games is completely free to play, and that is of huge interest to sponsors. Obviously, players do not spend any money, but brands can when they sponsor in-game advertising or the whole game. In-game advertising concept can be called rewarded advertising — players watch ads and get rewarded with prizes (e.g. extra lives).


This model is very popular and attracts loads of players because it is also free to download, but later on, gamers can spend their money to enhance their gaming experience. That can be in-game advertising removing, or other in-app purchases like level-ups or power-ups. This model usually generates the most revenue, compared to others.


The third revenue model works the old-fashioned way  –  you purchase once and play endless. Due to a huge variety of free-to-play games, its popularity among casual gamers has been decreasing over years.

Who are the spenders and what are the patterns?

Naturally, not all playsumers are willing to spend money for this activity, but those who do, are responsible for the biggest share of revenue as you can see in the graph below. 10% of top mobile game spenders bring 90% of total game revenue and around 70% of in-app revenue (adweek, 2016).

Revenue stream distribution from mobile games (Slice intelligence, 2016)


The segment of heavy spenders is called ‘whales’, and 64% of them are males, who play 10 hours per week and make around 7.4 in-app purchases per month, reaching up to $50 (Eedar, 2013). However, the average time for spenders to complete an in-app purchase may take around 16 days, and later on they tend to be strategically planned. Thus, brands should not freak out if a player does not open a wallet right after downloading a game.

Moderate spenders

If we look into the rest of casual players, the spending habits are more moderate. Research shows that 64% of them make one in-game purchase per month (Wired, 2016) and spend up to $10 (Eedar, 2013). On average, 56% of female gamers are willing to spend money compared to 44% of male players (Wired, 2016). This audience makes in-app purchases spontaneously, most likely when they need an extra live and want to experience more game content (Eedar, 2013)

Why spenders stay in the game?

The key reason to stay in the game is to beat friends, and that is three times more often among spenders compared to non-spenders. Other common reasons, which keep in-game spenders playing, is a sense of community and a wish to level up quickly (Facebook IQ, 2016).

What’s the best model for my brand?

A small number of players make up the majority of spend across mobile gaming, but casual gamers are becoming more comfortable with in-app purchases too, bringing up revenues across the industry. Thus, the answer is a free-to-play game on a Pointvoucher platform, which pays itself back through in-app purchases. On top of all usual benefits for casual players, on our platform they get rewarded for their in-game time. This model has proved to bring new permissions, boost in-store traffic, enhance loyalty and much more.

So what kind of game fits my brand?

Well, after all, players’ time in a mobile game is determined by a preference of game category and genre, because casual gamers are attracted by a specific gameplay, that defines different game categories or genres. Therefore, different segments can be attracted if a game is accurately targeted to their specific needs and habits.

The Part 3 of this series is going to present Top 4 game categories and the audiences they attract. Stay tuned.

In Pointvoucher’s Let’s play blog, we’ve dedicated our time and space to give our readers in-depth articles on using gamification as part of marketing strategy. On top of that, we’ll bring you insights on what is happening in casual gaming, the basics of building a brand universe in games, the psychology behind gaming in marketing, case stories on branded entertainment and much more.

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