What you need to know about mobile game advertising

Mobile game consumer spend reached $116 billion in 2021 -- up $16 billion from the year before

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Last year Apple and Google decided to make identifier for advertisers (IDFA) an opt-in choice for users and that changed everything for marketers. IDFA, which had been enabled by default, made it relatively easy to measure and target mobile gaming ads. The result has been a resurgence in more traditional types of ads, like banners, videos and pop-ups. It has also seen an uptick in playable ads — interactive ads that let users try out the core functionality of an app or game — like a free demo.

There is still some hope for gaming advertisers though. A study by Facebook Gaming found that U.S. mobile gamers who are uncomfortable with sharing data can be persuaded to do so. Nearly half said they would consider it if offered in-game rewards, while 35% would do so in exchange for easier log-in/account creation and/or in-game deals.


Here are some other essential facts to know:

  • There will be more than 150 million monthly mobile gamers in the US in 2022, amounting to over 89% of all digital gamers. (Source: Insider Intelligence)
  • In 2020, mobile games revenue in the U.S. reached a record $10.73 billion. (Source: Statista)
  • Mobile game consumer spend reached $116 billion in 2021 – $16 billion more than in 2020. (Source Data.ai)
  • User penetration is expected to hit 28.5% by 2025. (Statista)
  • Mobile gamers play 10+ hours a week, on average. In fact, 57% say they play more mobile games than they did five years ago, with the biggest increase being among parents (68%). (Source: Tapjoy)
  • Nearly half of all respondents say they play mobile games multiple times a day. Parents (58%), Gen X (54%), and women (52%) are the most likely to play at this frequency. (Tapjoy)
  • Rewarded video ads remain the top ad type among mobile gamers (preferred by 53%), while support for other ad types is growing; survey ads have increased in popularity from 8% in 2017 to 17% in 2022) and playables increased from 9% in 2017 to 16% in 2022. (Tapjoy)

Why we care: Consumers love their phones and want to be distracted, especially these days. Marketing to people via mobile games is already huge and going to get even bigger.

This is also another example of consumers being persuaded to give up some of their data as long as they perceive a value exchange.

About the author

Constantine von Hoffman
Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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