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Get your Christmas season wrapped up | Pocket Gamer.biz

Sneha Vaidyanathan and Finbarr O’Mahony are Vertical Strategy Leads on Facebook.

It’s safe to say that 2021 had its challenges. From the news that the global game industry will shrink slightly after unprecedented growth in 20201, down to the hurdles associated with the removal of the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), it was anything but normal for game advertisers everywhere.

Add to that the plethora of business and operational problems that remained after the pandemic, it has been a year to remember.

That said, 2021 has conjured up a few pleasant surprises out of the hat. Gaming reached an all-time high in popularity as more and more people sought ways to escape, chat, or maintain social connections during the pandemic.

Today there are an estimated 2.96 billion players worldwide1, and that number continues to grow. Mobile gaming is also one of the winners of 2021: 2.8 billion of the nearly three billion players worldwide will play on a mobile device this year1.

There is still a long way to go before we say goodbye to this year’s ups and downs. That said, there is still time to take advantage of the holiday season and get the most out of 2021. Read on for global trends and insights to help you grow your vacation downloads and increase your year-end sales.

Unlock the key to more sales

Trend 1: Historically, the Christmas season and mega sale days are key periods for gaming

Over the past five years we have observed that most mobile game downloads occur during the holidays2. One reason for this is that more and more devices are going online; People are either getting new equipment or upgrading.

This trend is similar on both Google Play and the iOS App Store. In addition, the auction dynamics on our platforms are more favorable for providers of digital goods such as apps as soon as retailers have stopped their seasonal advertising activities after the last dispatch day for holiday orders. These two factors provide a path to more downloads with less expense.

In 2020, mobile game downloads increased as expected, but did not reach download peaks due to COVID-19 and global bans2.

However, due to the ongoing shipping delays due to the pandemic, a larger than usual gap is expected between the last shipping date and Christmas, giving game companies an opportunity to gain more downloads during the holiday season.

Another good news for game advertisers is that our internal analysis shows that cost-per-1000 impressions (CPMs) are steadily declining in key markets after Black Friday. This gives you the opportunity to generate more sales with cheaper campaigns.

The world is optimistic

Trend 2: Consumer sentiment and financial optimism are rising

At the start of the buying season in the fourth quarter (Q4), consumer sentiment was more positive than ever and reached an all-time high according to the Global Consumer Confidence Index. We are currently an impressive 17 percentage points above the value of the previous year3rd – the highest measured optimism since the beginning of the survey.

While the 2020 holidays felt like a canceled season for many, consumers now feel more financially secure and are more optimistic about the 2021 holidays3rd. Furthermore, consumer spending intentions have flipped and people are eager to unleash their savings to pamper themselves and others4th.

The rise of the cell phone

Trend 3: Demand for mobile gaming remains strong

Mobile gaming continues to gain momentum and its large fan base is growing. In the first half of the year, weekly consumer spending on mobile games increased 40 percent from pre-pandemic levels and is now at $ 1.7 billion5. In addition, people around the world spend a whopping five billion hours playing mobile games every week5. It’s also worth noting that while installs and time spent have decreased from the high levels of 2020, purchases have remained stable, suggesting that new players are keen to keep playing while things return to normal5.

Make the most of the 2021 holidays

We firmly believe that Q4 has the potential to be the strongest yet. To help you increase your downloads and maximize year-end chances, we’ve rounded up the following seasonal tips:

Tap into audience growth

The gaming audience has grown exponentially and is now extremely diverse1. At the end of the year, adjust your marketing strategies to reach these growing target groups, expand your targeting, diversify your optimization and expand internationally. You can combine many of these steps with our Automated App Ads (AAA).

AAA uses powerful machine learning and automated systems to help your app install ads get more results that you value, scale campaigns with sustained performance, and ultimately run more efficiently.

Create messages and creativity around key moments

With more than 13 major events around the world, there are plenty of ways to tailor your messages and creativity to the holidays and reach a wider audience between November 4th and New Years. Use themed creatives for the relevant regions as part of your creative mix.

With Creative Prototyping, we’re providing a framework that you can use to experiment with your ads and see which Christmas creatives really work. Additionally, we recommend considering seasonal in-game events and partnerships to improve player loyalty and encourage in-app purchases.

Preparation is key, so get organized now

Perhaps the most obvious, but also the most important tip: Get started now! Plan your campaigns in advance and set them up several weeks in advance to activate them as soon as CPMs drop to avoid unanticipated ad creation mistakes. Build relevant creatives and have your creative pipeline ready so you can iterate as needed.

Last but not least, make sure you have extra budget to take advantage of favorable seasonal trends.

For more information on how to maximize your year-end sales, visit our interactive insight finder.


  1. Newzoo 2021 Global Games Market Report, July 2021
  2. SensorTower, Mobile Game Downloads from the App Store and Google Play, 90 Countries, Sep. 2016 to Sep. 2021
  3. Global Consumer Confidence, The Conference Board, Member Driven ThinkTank, April 2021
  4. PWC consumer sentiment survey, March 2021
  5. App Annie, Mobile Gaming Tear Down, August 2021


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