Over 70% of mobile game users churn on Day 1, but it’s okay

In a competitive industry like Gaming, scaling isn't easy—but there are three pain points where App Retargeting can really make a difference for mobile games.

Melisa Rocío Fernández

September 13, 2021

If you’re part of gaming studio, you know this by heart. If you’re in the marketing industry, you’ve seen this in almost every report out there: mobile games are booming. 

  • There are 3.0 billion gamers in the world, and 96% of them will play on a mobile device this year (that’s right, 2.8 billion mobile gamers!) [1]
  • Total consumer spending for mobile games is expected to reach $120 billion in 2021 [2]
  • Users downloaded 30% more mobile games per week in Q1 2021 than in Q4 2019 (over 1 billion games per week) [2]

But with great growth comes great competition. Not to state the obvious, but specially in free-to-play games, ad spend needs to stay under in-app spend. Once the user downloads the app, they need to keep coming back: playing, watching rewarded videos, clicking on ads, buying game coins and extra lives. Spoiler alert: this is where App Retargeting comes in. 

Why should mobile games leverage App Retargeting campaigns?

Scaling in competitive industries is no easy feat. When it comes to gaming, there are three pain points where App Retargeting can really be a game-changer (no pun intended).

Over 70% of mobile game users churn on Day 1

Some players get frustrated when they realize it will take a lot of effort to unlock the character they want, others drop out once they run out of lives—there are endless reasons for a user to leave a game.

This also affects non-organic installs. Gaming studios focus on getting more gamers through User Acquisition, but less than 30% of new users remain after Day 1. [3]

User Acquisition is costly

While ​​market benchmarks for paid installs vary both by game genre and region, User Acquisition costs have increased. Some genres are more likely to require paid promotion than others. Casino, Match & Hypercasual in particular see around 40-45% of their downloads coming from paid User Acquisition. [4]

Given the cost of User Acquisition and the fact that the majority of new players churn after Day 1, it is really difficult for games to achieve sustained growth without App Retargeting

Not all players became payers

According to an AppsFlyer report, in most markets and categories, retargeting campaigns increase the share of paying users. In Gaming apps, in particular, Mid-Core games saw the biggest boost of paying users with retargeting, followed by Casual and Social Casino games. 

Different games will implement different strategies, but all benefit from increasing retention to maximize the value of the users they worked so hard to acquire.

In our platform, we’ve seen both Social Casino apps and mid to hard-core strategy games like Pocket Gems’ War Dragons generate 30% more conversions with App Retargeting.


How can App Retargeting help gaming apps grow? 

Increase user retention

App Retargeting is the key to secure long-term growth for mobile games. When done right, this solution can help optimize LTV by identifying the moment to target users and the right message to encourage them to move forward in the game—for a variety of goals: 

  • Re-activating inactive players 
  • Motivating active users to play more often
  • Turning players into paying users
  • Encouraging paying users to conduct more in-app purchases


Unlock incremental revenue 

App Retargeting leverages performance data from past campaigns to identify and target valuable users who are likely to convert after seeing a timely ad. 

When running App Retargeting, mobile games are seeing Average Revenue Per Paying User (ARPPU) scale across all markets, making up a global uplift of over 121%. [3]

Reach the top of app store rankings—and stay there!

Branding is not enough to take your mobile game to the top of the charts. As Alexis Bonte stated in Jampp’s App Marketers Unplugged: If you’re on a scale to become a top 500-200 game, [performance marketing] it’s really necessary. If you want to go and break into the top 100, I’d say it’s essential, because there's no way you can get in there without having successful performance marketing. There was a time when you could have a great game, get featured on Apple and Google, and you could get away without doing too much performance marketing. [...] Nowadays, it’s very unlikely.

Performance marketing is especially relevant in the Gaming industry, where users constantly shift from one game to another, across devices and genres. App Retargeting plays a key role in making a game stand out from the lot and keeping it top-of-mind across users. This competitive advantage is driven by the fact that this solution prevents users from churning and encourages them to spend more in the game, more often.

Wrapping up 

Engagement strategies will vary based on the type of game, its user base size, and monetization strategy, but most games can benefit from App Retargeting. Given the cost of User Acquisition in competitive industries, App Retargeting is a no-brainer for leveling up engagement and ROAS.
Ready to run App Retargeting on programmatic? Get in touch with our dedicated gaming squad, or check our website to get to know how Jampp is helping mobile games unlock incremental performance.

Get in touch to scale your game the profitable way


[1] “Global Games Market Report,” Newzoo, 2021.

[2] “Gaming Spotlight: 2021 Review,” App Annie and IDC, 2021.

[3] “The State of Gaming App Marketing,” AppsFlyer, 2020.

[4] “2021 Mobile Gaming Tear Down,” App Annie, 2021.

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