This article is part of a Gaming Insights series paid for by Facebook Gaming.

There’s a massive opportunity out there for mobile game developers: out of more than 2.8 billion gamers in the world, a full 2.5 billion are playing on their mobile devices[i], and mobile game spending reached $89.6 billion in 2021[ii]. But concern about privacy has escalated too — 54% of U.S. mobile gamers say they are uncomfortable sharing personal information with game developers. Alongside this, the industry has seen significant regulation to encourage consumer privacy, undermining the effectiveness of traditional mobile game marketing strategies.

To thrive in the new normal, games publishers and developers need to reimagine their marketing to drive performance and game growth.

The new gaming performance equation

With passive data collection through device IDs becoming less available, marketers will need to rely more on first-party data for performance. As people continue to download and play games, consume content, and connect with each other through games, this presents a new equation for performance to deepen the relationship between your game and players. But that will require marketing to evolve into a holistic business strategy. Here’s what the new equation looks like. 

Building a brand for trust

Discomfort around sharing personal information is high, so gaining player trust is imperative. This is where building your brand thoughtfully becomes more important than ever before. People are more comfortable sharing their personal information with a brand they trust.

In a survey by Edelman, 60% of people with high brand trust[iii] say they’re comfortable sharing personal information with the brand. A trusted brand also helps players develop a deeper connection with your company, which can fuel stronger engagement.

To build your brand, think about your player’s journey and how they engage with your game across various touch points, from in-game, which encompasses your game’s visual identity and your creator’s authentic voice, to the out-of-game ad creative your players may see. And when you consider your marketing across the funnel, look at both new and existing touchpoints as an opportunity to find creative ways to turn potential players into loyal fans who trust and respect your brand.

Owning the first-party data relationship

Along with building a strong brand, gaming advertisers need to invest in the backbone of games marketing redefined: first-party data. Using your first-party data in a privacy-safe way across your game lifecycle will be transformative, as long as you develop effective, secure ways to ingest, process, analyze, and apply it across marketing platforms and partners.

To make players comfortable with sharing their personal information, developers need to fully own the relationship with them. You can do that by rethinking how data is sourced in a privacy-safe way, and by offering an authentic value exchange.

In a survey of U.S. mobile gamers who said they were uncomfortable with sharing personal information — such as an email address — 45% said they’d be motivated to share data in exchange for in-game rewards; 35% said easier login/account creation would motivate them; and 35% cited promotions and deals in-game.

To learn how to create and own powerful first-party relationships with your players, download our free playbook now.

Future-proofing measurement strategy

While data loss may have made measuring direct response campaigns more challenging, growing player engagement is unlocking a more holistic definition of marketing success for games. In other words, a mix of measurement methods and metrics used together can uncover new opportunities.

Advertisers should embrace the tension between measurement models rather than trying to reconcile them into a single source of truth, which will allow them to capture the full picture of the effectiveness of their marketing.

That full picture allows you to reorient efficiently and effectively, pivoting where it’s needed most. A broader view of how your marketing is working in the world also means you’ll be better positioned to make more informed marketing decisions and unlocking new levels of focus. You’ll be able to make big decisions with larger, potentially more profound impact more confidently, and smaller, more agile decisions even faster.

Reduce layers between teams

These are foundational changes and to complete the new performance equation, a massive rethink across the board is required. A data-based strategy requires reducing the layers in between your user acquisition, brand, monetization, and game development teams to make communication and data-sharing between teams seamless across the business. Organizing around the player experience can also help produce a connected strategy and provide the flexibility to adapt to change.

As gaming continues to evolve in the wake of changes in the ecosystem, the way forward is clear: players need to be at the center. With that, it’s going to take a new performance equation for games to thrive. There’s a lot of work ahead, and Meta is excited to be a partner to marketers and developers to navigate through this evolution. Together, we have the power to build new technologies, systems, and processes that work for games and people.

[i] 2020 Newzoo Global Games Market Report [ii] Stephanie Chan, “Global Consumer Spending in Mobile Apps Reached $133 Billion in 2021, Up Nearly 20% from 2020.” Store Intelligence, Dec. 2021 [iii] The Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust in 2020, June 2020

Cheryl Savage is Director of Gaming, EMEA, Facebook Gaming at Meta

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