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Leveling up: Regional insights for building successful global mobile gaming campaigns

Jimmy Morrow
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March 25, 2024

Key takeaways

  • Mobile gaming generates the majority of revenue for the mobile app industry and is still expected to accelerate by 2030, particularly in countries like India, Brazil, and Indonesia.
  • A successful global marketing strategy takes a deep understanding of unique regional trends and users' preferences.
  • Machine learning-powered ad solutions frees up advertisers’ time to focus on strategic initiatives.

Having a global strategy for your mobile game is no longer a "nice to have" but a "must-have." Building a successful international campaign strategy requires an in-depth understanding of regional marketing trends and user preferences. While navigating these complexities presents its challenges, it unlocks vast opportunities. Although daunting, venturing into the global market is a strategic move with the potential for exponential growth and broader reach.

Insights into the global market opportunities

The 2024 State of Mobile Gaming report from provides an insightful look into the state of mobile gaming, highlighting diverse opportunities for growth and expansion in the global market. Here’s what they’ve uncovered:

  • The United States continues to lead in total iOS mobile game downloads.
  • Japan has taken the lead in consumer spending on iOS games.
  • Google Play accounts for 80% of all game downloads, with India, Brazil, and Indonesia as leading markets.
  • Total consumer spending in the mobile gaming industry reached $107.3 billion.
  • The hyper-casual games genre leads the charge in downloads.

This is a stark reminder that marketers and advertisers are overlooking opportunities for growth without a targeted global expansion strategy.

Creative best practices for regional success

Today's leading advertisers are identifying and bundling regions with ads that reflect their shared interests, and mobile advertising has evolved from broadly promoting the best-performing creative across countries to more advanced strategies that segment creatives based on geos. With this in mind, here are the creative best practices our internal Moloco Studio has identified and seen success across various regions:

  • EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa): Ads featuring game characters in challenging situations or integrating compelling narratives are particularly effective.
  • The United States: Emphasizing tangible rewards, like "Win $1,500,000," significantly increases ad effectiveness.
  • US and APAC (Asia-Pacific): Promotional content is highly compelling in both regions, while gameplay demonstrations are effective in the US.
  • APAC: Focusing on character upgrades and enhancements is a popular and effective advertising tactic.
  • Global trend: Video formats are the most preferred for ads globally, with banners as a close second.

Global strategy success cases 

Success in global marketing strategy goes beyond developing region-specific creatives. It involves understanding regional nuances, adapting strategies accordingly, and utilizing machine learning (ML) for automated global user acquisition. This approach enhances campaign efficiency and allows advertisers to focus on strategic initiatives. Here's how three regional case studies used machine learning to drive global growth:

The EMEA strategy: Bundling geos in less competitive markets

Facing a highly competitive environment for hidden object puzzle adventure games (HOPA), a growing EMEA gaming advertiser recognized the need to compete effectively against well-established players with larger budgets and broader user bases. Their approach included:

  • Strategic focus on less competitive geos: Understanding that competing head-on with industry giants in core markets would be challenging, the advertiser diversified geo-targeting in less competitive regions to find overlooked pockets of value.
  • Specific user acquisition with machine learning: Utilizing Moloco’s advanced ML algorithms and expansive global reach, the advertiser strategically trained these models with attributed and unattributed data to refine their campaigns and target specific users.

The result? A 4.6X faster growth than peers and Moloco driving 44% of total installs, demonstrating their ability to succeed globally in the HOPA game market through innovative strategies.

Moloco’s VP of EMEA sales presented the strategy for the EMEA gaming advertiser.

The APAC strategy: Expanding globally through machine learning

Gamehaus, a popular mobile game publisher based in Shanghai, encountered the dual challenges of acquiring high-value users for their diverse game portfolio, which includes Whispers, Double Win Slots Casino, and Grand Cash Casino Slots, while adhering to strict creative policies. Here was their approach:

  • Optimized ad spend with machine learning: Collaborating with Moloco, Gamehaus targeted users with high lifetime value (LTV), focusing on improving Day 7 return on ad spend (D7 ROAS). Analyzing performance data, the advertiser used the weekly budget optimizer feature to allocate more to high-performing campaigns and reduce spending. This optimization ensures the overall ad budget is used most efficiently, contributing to better ROAS.
  • Multi-geo targeting: Gamehaus used Moloco's multi-geo targeting feature instead of focusing on single geos to run their marketing campaigns across multiple regions. This advantage broadens user reach and provides more data from which the ML models can learn. The result is a more refined understanding of which geo has high-value users who yield the best ROAS.

This targeted approach to global expansion allowed Gamehaus to penetrate the global market effectively, harnessing machine learning to meet their growth objectives. The campaign resulted in a 58% increase in ROAS and a 37% reduction in CPI for 'Whispers' (14% reduction for other slot titles). Additionally, total installs for these games increased by 2.6 times.

Gamehaus CEO spoke at the GDC Global Insight Session, hosted by Moloco and

The US strategy: Soft launching a new app into English-speaking markets 

Big Fish Games, known for their casual mobile games, faced limited audience insights for a new app, Puzzles & Passports, that was set to launch, and initiated a soft launch phase with their new partner, BebopBee. The soft launch is a strategic release of the app to gather data and feedback before a broader market launch. Their approach included:

  • Soft launch data utilization: Beginning with cost-per-install (CPI), the advertiser moved down the funnel to cost-per-acquisition (CPA) for a deeper analysis of the user acquisition funnel and data insights. Big Fish Games then refined the ad targeting by integrating first-party data from the soft launch into Moloco's ML models. This use of ML ensures relevant ads are delivered to the right high-value user.
  • Geo-targeting for broader reach: Implementing Moloco’s multi-geo targeting feature, Big Fish Games expanded to key English-speaking markets, including the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This broadened the user base and enriched the dataset for further ML optimization.

The strategy led to precise targeting and optimized ad spending. High-value user engagement during the soft launch provided essential data insights, setting a solid foundation for the Puzzles & Passports wider market launch.

Big Fish Games provided insights into their soft launch approach with Moloco.

Empowering global mobile gaming success

Now more than ever, advertisers should consider expanding their global acquisition strategy to cash in on the rapidly growing opportunities in mobile gaming. ML-backed solutions have proven indispensable for international success in helping advertisers fine-tune their ad campaigns with precision targeting, acquiring high-value users, and automating their campaign management. By removing the guesswork from targeting and bidding, machine learning can enable advertisers to focus on strategic initiatives to grow their apps and acquire high-value users across various regions. This approach positions advertisers to thrive in diverse global markets, adapting to regional nuances and user preferences. It’s a path to growth and smarter, informed expansion for global success.

If you're ready for global expansion, connect with us to explore our solutions and take your apps to new heights worldwide. 

Jimmy Morrow

Director of Product Marketing, Moloco

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