4 tips on how to market mobile games in the privacy-first era

By Liyana Aina, Senior Brand Copywriter



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March 26, 2024 | 7 min read

New regulations on user data tracking limit marketers' insights, but while this doesn’t make ad targeting any less effective it does change the way it works. This article looks at leveraging mobile audience data while respecting privacy, using mobile games as an example, and offers content ideas for nurturing loyal users.

The mobile gaming scene can be unforgiving if you're a marketer — on top of having to compete with thousands of similar titles, you have to constantly come up with ways to keep your users playing. Often enough, the performance of a marketing campaign lies in the tech, like bidding efficiency, sophisticated targeting algorithms and audience segmentation. However, you also have to take the user experience into account, and leverage the storyline, script, and features of your game/app. After all, your users will only notice your ad if it’s attractive, and perhaps if there is a reward after the click.

A user-centric approach, combined with adaptive creative strategies, can significantly impact re-engagement rates. With privacy measures like Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) and Android’s upcoming Privacy Sandbox initiative, it’s even more important to identify the content that your target audience will respond positively to, rather than bombarding them with a one-size-fits-all message.

Based on a recent Apptivate podcast interview with gaming industry specialist and CEO of App Agent Peter Fodor, this article uncovers the intricacies of what makes a gaming app enjoyable for players, why app marketers should rethink their advertising strategy in the privacy-first era, and how to stay afloat amid the sea of countless gaming apps.

1. Don't join the copycat club

There are over one million gaming apps available on the App Store. In this case, being unique is not just a matter of taste — it’s your game’s survival at stake. “How do you make sure that your app has a unique positioning, with its audience defined, and can attract players who otherwise might feel lost in the app marketplace?”. Those were the questions that Peter raised when discussing how best to plan a marketing strategy. 

A well-crafted brand identity not only attracts users but also builds emotional connections, making your game more memorable and increasing the likelihood of word-of-mouth. While it might be tempting to piggyback on popular themes and aesthetics, it will be tough for your users to tell your game apart (not to mention, the potential lawsuits). The intention to use graphics that are familiar to the mass audience might attract more eyeballs in the beginning, but soon enough, gamers get bored because they can easily get the same experience, if not better, from a more established title.

Instead, try creating an ecosystem around your game that provides value, entertainment, and a sense of community. This can be achieved through regular updates, in-game events, and social features that encourage player interactions. By fostering a unique community around your game, you can enhance user engagement and loyalty, which are critical for long-term success.

2. Quality, not quantity

Gone are the days when churning out a high volume of creatives could guarantee user engagement. Today's landscape demands a nuanced understanding of your audience segments. When it comes to crafting your creative strategy, Peter recommends a tailored approach. “The spending of a teenager is very different compared to a 50-year-old woman, who not only has plenty of time to play, but also plenty of money to spend. They probably enjoy different parts of the game, too.” 

Zooming in on several audience groups and developing creative directions that cater to their tastes can teach you a lot about which message is dominant and what works from a monetization standpoint. This requires a fusion of skills, from creative teams and strategists, to user acquisition managers – all working in tandem to craft messages that highlight the unique aspects of a game.

3. No more third-party data? Go for first-party data

A particularly interesting point discussed during the podcast episode was the use of first-party data to tailor game experiences and marketing strategies. In a post-privacy era, directly engaging with users to understand their preferences can be a gold mine of information. This approach can help developers and marketers fine-tune their products and campaigns to match user expectations. Peter reflected on his days in advertising when he would seek first-party data in the real world: he would hit the streets to talk to the kids that were consuming his client’s products. 

“We no longer do this because our app’s audience is global, but what we can do now is introduce some form of survey to get closer to our audience”, he explains. His move to source first-party data instead of third party cross-app data proved to be effective in getting a better, more complete understanding of the players’ motivations and tastes. As a result, his team can design their products and campaigns with far richer and more current insights. 

It’s also never too early to reach out to your users — interacting with your audience from the moment they open the app is critical for generating future in-app revenue. For starters, you can target 100 people to fill your survey. You might get a 20% response rate. Multiply that number by the amount of daily active users, and within a few days, you’ll receive hundreds of responses. By asking the right questions and pushing them at the right time, you will soon spot patterns in the completion rate and learn so much that it will influence your decision-making process in the long run.

4. Rethink and relearn what makes a strategy sustainable

The predictability of the mobile industry pre-ATT is a thing of the past. All the valuable historical data that you once extrapolated to forecast future trends is no longer relevant. Thanks (or no thanks) to this privacy shift, it’s not just app businesses whose predictive models are affected — but also the models used by their advertising partners’. 

Now, more than ever, it's crucial to delve into the details and remain aware of the shifts that could affect KPIs like campaign profitability. Consider investing more time future-proofing your strategies by drafting a systematic action plan and identifying opportunities for growth. This way, you can immediately react to, and capitalize on industry trends the moment they emerge.


Developing an effective creative strategy for your gaming app doesn’t need to be rocket science. It has more to do with understanding primal human behavior. We respond to signals and messages that relate to our experiences in life, and the best-performing ads and gaming storylines feature just that. Once you get these basics right, you’re set to capture the attention and devotion of more gamers around the world. 

To help your quest for expansion and learn how retargeting can level up your mobile app or game, check out Remerge's Games Gone Global guide.


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