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Mobile Monday: $7 of Every $10 in Ad Revenue are Mobile, Marvel is the Largest IP-Based Mobile Game Brand in the U.S.

Posted Apr 11, 2021

Mobile gaming has become a common pastime around the world and games based on established franchises (IP-based games) have been on the rise. Apple’s privacy changes could change the way developers acquire users so many of them are jumping on IP-based games that have loyal audiences. A new report from Newzoo goes deep into IP-based mobile games and reveals the top franchises. Meanwhile, IAB’s report details how much mobile advertising earned last year. Learn all about these reports in this week’s Mobile Monday!

Mobile Video Wins the Year in Ad Revenue

IAB’s recently published their Internet Advertising Revenue Report disclosed that mobile advertising revenue in 2020 reached $98.3 billion, representing a 13.4% increase from the $86.7 billion in 2019. Although desktop had its highest recorded advertising earnings in over 10 years, the majority of revenue belongs to mobile. According to IAB, $7 out of every $10 in revenue are attributed to ads on mobile devices (smartphones or tablets). The organization predicts that mobile will continue to surge as digital consumption and ecommerce transactions have become the new normal and as 5G unlocks new innovations in ad formats.

Mobile internet advertising increased only slightly from 69.6% in 2019 to 70.3% in 2020 indicating only a slight increase. Despite mobile’s maturation causing a slowdown of growth, the platform still saw 13.4% growth in mobile revenues year-over-year. Mobile compound annual growth rate in 2020 was 66.5% (a drop from 73.8% between 2010-2019), while desktop growth remains modest at 4.6% CAGR. Mobile video came out ahead of search and display in terms of revenue. Digital video earnings went up by 25%, totaling $18.5 billion in 2020. Market share increased from 17% in 2019 to 19% in 2020 which means this format will continue to be the one to watch for further growth.

IP-based Games Will Have a Vital Role in a Post-IDFA World

Newzoo partnered with Apptopia to do a deep dive on IP-based mobile game franchises and their pivotal role in the global market. The report says that developers increasingly rely on major franchises in order to acquire users for their games. For context, Newzoo’s definition of an “IP-based” game does not include brands that began in gaming such as Pokémon. Their data revealed that the top-earning IP-based mobile game franchise in the world is Journey to the West which made the majority of its revenue, 99%, in China. Between January 2015, Journey to the West mobile titles generated $5.4 billion in revenue.

Marvel ended up in the no. 2 spot for top franchises and made $2.2 billion, while Onmyoji sits at third with $1.1 billion in revenue. Star Wars and Three Kingdoms rounded out the top five IP-based mobile games franchises with $1 billion in earnings each. The report stated that Disney’s Marvel Universe was the largest brand in mobile games in the U.S. and its titles brought in $175 million in revenue. Two more Disney-owned franchises, Star Wars and classic Disney games, are also in the top-earning game brands in the U.S. Newzoo’s report also revealed that the game brands that made the most money didn’t necessarily gain the most downloads. According to the report, the top five most downloaded IP-based franchises were Despicable Me, Marvel, Strawberry Shortcake, Transformers, and classic Disney.

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