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Digital Ad Spend Now #1 in the US; Mobile Gaming Still a Powerhouse

Posted Apr 9, 2019

If you’re a developer with an app in the app store, or an advertiser looking to reach consumers, 2019 is going to be a good year for you. A few key reports came out last week from eMarketer and NewZoo with some strong insights regarding digital advertising and mobile gaming. Here’s what you need to know:

Digital Now More Than Half of Total Ad Spend
In many countries, such as the UK, China, Canada, and much of Scandinavia, digital is already the dominant ad medium, but according to a 2019 eMarketer report, the United States and The Netherland will now join those ranks, with digital accounting for 54.2% and 52.6% of total ad spend, respectively. Russia is creeping up as well and will hit 50% in 2019, declares eMarketer.

These shifts are all part of the sea change that is occurring in the advertising market, and we can see it clearly from the global numbers: in 2019, digital ad spend will rise by 17.6% to reach $333 billion. This means that for the first time, digital will account for half the global ad market – an enormous milestone for the digital ad industry. (This is almost as exciting as when mobile ad spend overtook desktop two years ago… but not quite.)

Mobile Games GrowthMobile Games Revenue Still On The Upswing

Around the same time, another significant trend became obvious: Mobile games are stronger than ever. And they’re making money – far more than their desktop and console counterparts. In fact, a report by Newzoo in 2017 noted that smartphone and tablet games combined were bringing in 42% of the gaming market’s global revenues. Console games accounted for 31% at the time, and PC games a measly 23%. This was the moment that we all realized how powerful of a category it was since few had predicted how quickly this medium could eclipse such popular, traditional platforms for gaming.

One reason why mobile games can (and does) generate so much revenue is that mobile gamers “are much more receptive to advertising than non-gamers,” according to Newzoo’s 2019 findings. The company estimated that 2.4 billion people will play mobile games globally this year, and those users are highly monetizable, more so than those playing on PCs and consoles.

A Rising Category – For All Types

Gaming is now the third-most-popular app type, the report noted, just behind social media and shopping apps, and tied with music. (For the younger set (18-20 years old) games are higher, though – #2 in the ranking. And, within the gaming audience, there is a fairly even gender split. The difference shows up a bit more when looking at game types:

  • 66% of puzzle mobile game app users are women
  • 63% of action/adventure games are men, as well as 74% of shooter-type games

Candy Crush Saga is nearly twice as popular as the next most popular games, and one in three mobile gamers have played it in the past month (Candy Crush Saga was released seven years ago). As those who follow the app charts, know well, maintaining the No. 1 position for any length of time is quite a feat, especially when we see recent global phenomenons like Fortnite, Pokémon Go and Angry Birds seemingly come out of nowhere to become all the rage among mobile gamers. That type of longevity at the top is proof positive that mobile games are a go-to activity for users of across demographics.

About the Newzoo report
Newzoo’s report was done in partnership with gaming company Activision Blizzard. “Betting on Billions: Unlocking the Power of Mobile Gamers” is the analysis of data from 12,300 app users over two weeks in December 2018, from the United States, the U.K., France, and Germany. *Note that the data does not include users from China, home to the largest mobile game market in the world.

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