young woman on an armchair smiling at her phone with a decorate line chart in the background
Mobile Games , User Acquisition

How to Leverage Mobile Gamer Seasonality in Your UA Strategy

If you’re reading this article, you’ve almost made it through another busy and demanding year in the mobile gaming ecosystem.

That can only mean the Christmas budget is upon us. A time for festive cheer, LiveOps and themed events, double rewards, and longer gameplay. 

But to what extent should mobile advertisers take advantage of this high-traffic period? Or should they instead wait for traffic to become cheaper and less competitive?

Our team investigated mobile gamer seasonality by analyzing in-app purchase (IAP) and session length trends – which both translate to ROAS and retention performance – for the top-100-grossing games in the US and Europe between 2021 and 2023. 

What’s in a Week?

Mobile gamers in Europe and the US typically have more time for gameplay from Friday through Sunday. These days are considered non-working days for most people, unlike several countries in the Middle East, for example. 

Our Business Intelligence team found that the average value of IAPs follows this trend. Values are highest over the weekend and followed by Monday blues at the beginning of the week. The difference between the lowest and the highest IAP values over one week is over ten percent. 

line graph showing mobile gamer seasonality per weekday with rises around the weekend

adjoe regularly hosts double-reward weekends with select publishers that have integrated the rewarded ad unit Playtime. This not only ensures publishers maximize revenue from this increased user engagement – advertisers can also maximize their yields on weekends – and their ROAS.

The chart above excludes special promotions, such as double-reward weekends. This means that advertisers might even expect a difference of up to 20 percent in user engagement if they did participate in these weekends. And users acquired in peak times are more likely to deliver higher ROI in the long term. This extra revenue can be put toward a more aggressive bidding strategy.

Our budget tip: Weekends are a good time to invest in getting the most from your players who participate in double rewards or special promotions.

Our testing tip: It’s important when testing new traffic or segments to look out for regular fluctuation across two consecutive weekends (ideally not holiday weekends). This will help you better understand your campaign performance.

What’s in a Month?

Zoom out a bit further than a week, and you’ll also see that the average value of IAPs is highest at the beginning of the month and at the end of a month – typically around payday.

This trend is more prominent among European mobile gamers – perhaps because more people in the US receive their salaries on a biweekly or weekly basis. These are not usually, however, users with the highest purchasing power.

line graph showing mobile gamer seasonality – or in-app purchase values – over a month

If advertisers leverage these periods of higher in-app purchase activity at these times of the month, they can expect higher ROAS. 

Our budget tip: Never cut budgets or stop campaigns at the end or beginning of the month. You could lose out on cash-loaded users.

Our testing tip: Run your tests for a sufficient amount of time to analyze mid-month performance as well. You ensure that ad distribution algorithms boost your campaigns more effectively on key fiscal days if you keep your campaigns live throughout the month instead of only launching during peak periods.

What’s in a Year?

There are more than just weekly and monthly fluctuations to consider. UA teams also need to align their strategy with fluctuations around special holidays, like Christmas or Easter.

And that brings us to the ultimate question about mobile gamer seasonality. To what extent should advertisers increase their budgets to acquire high volumes of holiday traffic?

With IAP revenue in Europe and the US reaching their peak around Christmas, there is no better time to seek users who will boost a mobile game’s ROAS KPIs.

Our team has also seen session lengths increase throughout the Christmas season – for the rewarded ad unit Playtime alone – especially in the US. This is a time when gamers in these two regions have significantly more time to play, engage – and spend – in mobile games.

But that’s not to say this is the only window advertisers can work with to boost their KPIs. Our team saw IAP revenues increase around the following times of year.

  • New Year’s Eve (December 31)
  • Lunar New Year (January 22 or 23)
  • Valentine’s Day (February 14)
  • Easter (March or April)
  • Halloween (October 31)
  • Black Friday and Thanksgiving (November)
  • Christmas (December 24 and 25)

Our budget tip: Invest and focus your budget on the relevant markets during peak times for traffic and IAP revenues. Once you do this, you should bid aggressively to get top-quality users and update your creatives based on the season. Doing this can lift your ROAS, LTV, and retention considerably, although this will differ depending on gaming genre. During off-peak times, you should focus on other markets, segments, or GEOs – or take advantage of cheaper CAC to enjoy some affordable scale. 

Our testing tip: Avoid testing new features or segments during peak times. This might hinder you when you try to set performance goals. You can carry out testing during off-peak times to take advantage of lower costs, but you need to adjust your KPIs accordingly – ideally, based on your own historical data.

Should You Pay Attention to Mobile Gamer Seasonality?

Bidding and budgeting strategy is not a sprint – it’s a marathon. 

App session lengths and IAP numbers come and go with the seasons. The question is to what extent should an advertiser’s budget follow them?

Once advertisers better understand how their target audience behaves throughout the week, the month, and the year, they can focus their budgets and efforts on times when it pays off the most. When ROAS KPIs will be affected most. 

Quieter times allows advertisers to dive into testing, analyzing, and strategizing – so that they can come out on top when it matters.

Find out how to optimize your campaign performance

Talk to us