How to Advertise Casual Mobile Games: Tips for Success

How to Advertise Casual Mobile Games: Tips for Success

The casual games industry is a thriving marketplace where success depends on user acquisition. Knowing how to effectively advertise casual mobile games is essential, and paid advertising plays a critical role in this arena.

This article dives into proven user acquisition strategies, creative trends, and examples from leading casual games.

Ready to level up your game’s visibility?

Let’s dive in.

Casual Games Market Overview

While the casual mobile gaming industry enjoyed a pandemic-induced spending spree, the landscape is changing. As inflation crept in during 2022, the extremely fast speed of scaling eased off.

Now, the spotlight is on steady revenue growth and long-term profitability.

Emarketer’s figures paint an optimistic picture.

In 2023, US mobile gaming ad spend is projected to reach $6.28 billion, with a consistent 8-10% growth expected in the years to follow. But what’s the actual cost of acquiring a new player? For the casual games market, the average cost per install (CPI) hovered around $1 from 2022 to 2023 – a slight decline from prior years.

casual games cpi


If you’re thinking about platform choices for advertising casual mobile games, take note.

Post-ATT, advertising on Android came in as more cost-effective with a CPI of $0.63, while iOS made you dig a bit deeper into your pockets, demanding $2.23 per install.

However, don’t rush to conclusions based on CPI alone.

When it comes to D7 ROAS, both platforms are nearly neck and neck. Android may offer cheaper installs, but the D7 ROAS figures are comparable across both platforms, with iOS edging out slightly at 7.8%.

The takeaway?

There’s more to advertising casual mobile games than meets the eye, and keeping tabs on these metrics can offer you a competitive edge.

Top Casual Games

Now, let’s explore casual games that have been successful not only at acquiring players, but monetizing them as well.

Top Casual Games by Downloads

  1. Subway Surfers
  2. Candy Crush Saga
  3. Ludo King
  4. Royal Match
  5. Block Blast Adventure Master
  6. My Talking Tom 2
  7. 8 Ball Pool
  8. My Talking Tom Friends
  9. Monopoly GO
  10. Gardenscapes

Top Grossing Casual Games

  1. Candy Crush Saga
  2. Royal Match
  3. Coin Master
  4. Gardenscapes
  5. Homescapes
  6. Monopoly GO!
  7. Township
  8. Fishdom
  9. Eggy Party
  10. Puzzle & Dragons

How to Advertise Casual Mobile Games: Tips & Tricks

Moving on to practical UA tips that can help your casual game reach the top charts.

mobile gamer

1. Understand the Casual Gamer Demographic

If you’re looking to effectively advertise casual mobile games, the first step is understanding who your potential players are. Casual gamers often differ significantly from hardcore or even mid-core gamers in terms of behaviors, preferences, and demographics.

A casual gamer typically engages in games that are easy to learn but hard to master. They don’t necessarily dedicate hours daily but are more sporadic in their gameplay.

These players range from busy professionals taking a break to parents winding down after a hectic day. The age bracket is vast, spanning from young adults to seniors. They play for relaxation, distraction, or a quick burst of entertainment.

What does this mean for you?

Tailor your advertisements to resonate with this demographic.

Use visuals and messaging that emphasize short bursts of fun, relaxation, or challenges. Focus on showcasing how your game fits seamlessly into a casual gamer’s daily routine.

For instance, if your game provides quick five-minute puzzles, highlight this in your ads. Remember, understanding the casual gamer’s mindset and lifestyle is paramount in crafting a successful user acquisition strategy for casual games.

google ads

2. Choose the Right User Acquisition Channels

When it comes to paid user acquisition, not all channels are created equal. This is what many people get wrong when trying to advertise casual mobile games. To maximize ROI and acquire players who will stick around, you need to be selective about where you invest your advertising dollars.

According to AppsFlyer, top-performing ad networks for loyal gamer acquisition include Google Ads, Unity Ads, ironSource, Facebook (now Meta), and Mintegral. Each of these platforms offers its own set of advantages. For example, Google Ads leverages powerful search data, while Unity and ironSource specialize in in-game advertising environments.

Don’t overlook the potential of social and video platforms like TikTok, either. These platforms offer an opportunity to showcase your game in a more informal, engaging environment, reaching out to potential players where they’re most relaxed and receptive.

In-app ads within other games are another avenue to explore. You already know that these users enjoy mobile gaming, making them more likely to be interested in your casual game offering. The environment is ripe for capturing attention and clicks.

Choosing the right user acquisition channel involves understanding not only your target demographic but also the strengths and weaknesses of each platform. Test and measure to find the channels that provide the best ROI and most engaged players.

casual ad creatives

3. Create Engaging Ad Creatives

While your game’s mechanics and design are fundamental, the way you present your game to the world through ads can make or break your user acquisition strategy. Here’s a distilled guide on crafting compelling ad creatives for casual games.

Highlight Core Gameplay

Casual gamers, by nature, are drawn to games that offer immediate engagement. Your ad should quickly showcase the essence of the game. Start with a close-up shot of the game’s main action – whether it’s merging items, popping bubbles, or matching candies.

If it’s a match-three game, for instance, highlight the satisfying mechanics of matching and the resulting cascade of pieces.

Remember the ads for Candy Crush Saga? They always start with those satisfying candy matches, which instantly convey the game’s core mechanics.

Showcase Rewards and Progression

The sense of achievement drives engagement.

Feature level-ups, unlocks, or any rewards that players can earn. Giving potential users a glimpse of these can trigger the desire to start playing and earning themselves.

Use animations or quick montages that display characters leveling up, unlocking new abilities, or receiving rewards. Coin Master does this brilliantly by showing spins resulting in gold or a village upgrade, signaling the rewards of playing.

Embrace Brevity

The digital space is saturated, and attention spans are fleeting. Ensure your ad creatives are concise yet impactful. Particularly for video ads, a span of 15-30 seconds is ideal for conveying your game’s appeal.

For video ads, the first 3-5 seconds are crucial. Engage viewers instantly with vibrant visuals, peppy music, or a quick win in the game. Subway Surfers ads, for example, often start with a character dodging an obstacle or collecting coins, instantly pulling viewers into the game’s thrill.

Use Strong CTAs

A compelling CTA can be the difference between a user scrolling past or clicking on your ad. Phrases like “Play Now”, “Start the Fun”, or “Join the Adventure” are direct and enticing, and they nudge the user to take action.

Place the CTA prominently, either as a pulsating button for static ads or a captivating end frame for video ads. Many casual games, like Toon Blast, use bright-colored CTAs like “Blast Now!” or “Start the Puzzle!” to entice users.

Test and Iterate

What works for one segment of your audience might not resonate with another. A/B testing different creatives can offer insights into preferences and engagement metrics. By analyzing this data, you can refine and optimize your ads for better performance.

For instance, try different color schemes or character placements and analyze which one garners more clicks. Clash Royale once tested various character visuals for their ads, from close-ups of the troops to in-battle scenes, determining which drew more player engagement.

Maintain Brand Consistency

While it’s essential to adapt and iterate, ensure there’s a consistent brand identity across all creatives. This consistency aids in brand recall and positions your casual game as reliable and professional in the crowded marketplace.

Use a consistent color palette, typography, and character design across all ad versions. This ensures easy recognition and trust-building. Angry Birds always ensures their iconic red bird and distinct sling are present, making their ads instantly recognizable.

Optimize for Platform

Remember, the presentation can vary across platforms. An ad creative optimized for Facebook might not necessarily look as engaging on Instagram Reels or TikTok. Tailor your ads to the specificities of each platform to ensure maximum impact.

subway surfers aso

4. Boost UA with App Store Optimization

While the main focus of this article is on paid advertising, ignoring app store optimization would be a disservice to your user acquisition strategy.


Because when players click on your ads, where do they land?

That’s right – your game’s app store page.

ASO is not just the realm of organic growth; it can amplify your paid user acquisition efforts, too. An optimized app store page can greatly enhance the conversion rate of your ads by providing a seamless, attractive landing environment for potential players.

What’s Important for ASO?

  1. Icon and Screenshots: Your game’s icon is the first thing potential players see. Make sure it’s not only eye-catching but also representative of the game’s core experience. Screenshots should highlight key gameplay elements and features.
  2. Title and Subtitle: Use relevant keywords, but don’t sacrifice clarity or context. Your title should give players an instant understanding of what your game is about.
  3. Description: Use this space to detail your game’s features, mechanics, and why it’s worth downloading. Keep sentences concise and features bulleted for easy readability.
  4. Ratings and Reviews: Positive reviews and high ratings boost your store ranking. Encourage satisfied players to leave reviews through in-game prompts or incentives.
  5. Localization: Consider translating your app store page for international markets. A game that appeals universally can be more effectively marketed globally.

5. Take Advantage of Retargeting

Retargeting is an essential component of a balanced user acquisition strategy for casual mobile games.

Why is retargeting crucial?

Because attracting new players is often costlier than re-engaging those who have already installed your game but may have lapsed in their activity.

Why Retargeting Is Essential

  1. Cost-Efficiency: It’s generally less expensive to re-engage a lapsed player than to acquire a new one. They’re already familiar with your game, requiring less persuasion to dive back in.
  2. Improved ROI: Players who return via retargeting often exhibit higher lifetime values. They play more frequently, engage deeper, and are more likely to make in-game purchases.
  3. Relevant Messaging: With retargeting, you can tailor your ads based on the player’s past in-game behavior, ensuring the content is relevant and enticing.

Strategies to Bring Back Lapsed Players

  1. Segmentation: Group your lapsed players based on the duration of inactivity or the stage at which they dropped off. Tailor your retargeting ads to speak specifically to their last interaction with the game.
  2. Special Offers and Incentives: Offer exclusive content or rewards available for a limited time. This creates a sense of urgency and can reignite interest.
  3. Push Notifications: A well-timed push notification can be incredibly effective, especially if it’s personalized and relevant to the player’s previous in-game activities.
  4. Social Media Retargeting: Platforms like Facebook allow you to specifically retarget users who have engaged with your app but have not been active recently.

10 Creative Trends & Examples for Casual Games

As you dive into the world of advertising for casual mobile games, it’s crucial to stay attuned to current creative trends. Knowing what works and what doesn’t can make all the difference in crafting a successful ad campaign.

Let’s delve into some of the advertising and creative trends we’ve noticed, complete with examples from games that have nailed it.

casual games gameplay ads

1. Simple Gameplay Video Ads

When it comes to casual games, simplicity is often the key, and this applies to ad creatives as well.

Video ads that showcase the game’s core mechanics in an uncomplicated way can be highly effective. The goal is to convey to potential players that they can immediately understand and enjoy the game.

Used by games like:

  • Candy Crush: The ads often display a straightforward level, demonstrating how to match candies and the satisfaction of clearing them.
  • Bubble Shooter Relaxing: These ads usually showcase a relaxed gameplay atmosphere with the simple act of shooting bubbles. It’s instantly understandable and inviting.
  • Carrom Pool: The advertisements for this game focus on the ease of making a shot and scoring, making it accessible to those who may not be familiar with Carrom or pool games.

By making it clear how simple yet engaging your game is, you’re likely to attract the broad demographic that often makes up the casual gaming community. Simple gameplay video ads can speak volumes more than any intricate narrative or flashy graphics.

mini game ads mobile games

2. (Fake) Mini-Game Ads

Another trend that refuses to fade away is the use of mini-game ads. These ads usually feature a simplified, interactive experience, often involving mechanics like pin-pulling or quick decision-making. While they may not always represent the actual gameplay, they succeed in engaging potential players right within the ad.

Interestingly, the effectiveness of mini-game ads has led many developers to incorporate these mini-games directly into their actual gameplay, sometimes as unique game modes or special levels.

Used by games like:

  • Royal Match: This game capitalizes on mini-game ads by offering quick puzzles that engage potential players, enticing them to download the full game for more.
  • All Playrix’s Games: Whether it’s Gardenscapes or Homescapes, Playrix often employs mini-game ads that feature quick problem-solving tasks, creating an interactive and engaging ad experience.
  • Lily’s Garden: The ads often showcase mini-games that, while not reflective of the main gameplay, are engaging enough to capture the viewer’s attention and spark curiosity about the full game.

The idea behind mini-game ads is simple: if you can engage potential players even before they download your game, you’ve got a better chance of turning them into long-term players. This form of advertising continues to be effective in capturing attention and setting the stage for higher user engagement.

casual games fail ads

3. Failed Gameplay Ads

It might seem counterintuitive, but failed gameplay ads have proven to be incredibly effective. These are often mini-game ads where the task at hand is completed unsuccessfully, resulting in a “fail”.

What’s the psychology behind this trend?

Failed gameplay ads create a sense of urgency and challenge.

When viewers see a task being performed incorrectly, it triggers an instinctive reaction – many feel they can do it better. It’s this need to correct and achieve that drives clicks and downloads.

Essentially, the ads engage the viewer’s problem-solving instinct, making them eager to jump in and fix the situation themselves.

Used by games like:

  • Royal Match: The ads sometimes show failed attempts at solving puzzles, leaving the viewer yearning for resolution, which leads them to download the game to tackle the challenge themselves.
  • Playrix’s Games: Just like their successful mini-game ads, Playrix’s fail gameplay ads work because they spark curiosity and the innate human desire to correct mistakes.
  • Lily’s Garden: The advertisements might show a gardening task gone wrong or a puzzle unsolved, eliciting the same itch to set things right.

4. Localized Influencer Ads

Influencer marketing isn’t new, but its application in casual mobile game advertising is gaining traction. What sets this trend apart is the focus on localization. Rather than using global influencers, many casual games are partnering with local celebrities or influencers to create ads that resonate with specific markets.

Example: Ludo King for the Indian Market

This game leveraged the power of localization by involving Mika Singh, a popular Indian singer and influencer. He created a viral song and music video specifically for Ludo King, targeting the Indian audience.

The advantage of localized influencer ads is twofold. First, they hold a powerful appeal for a particular demographic, making the ads more relevant and engaging. Second, local influencers often have a more dedicated and passionate following compared to global influencers, which can lead to higher engagement rates.

casual games playable ads

5. Playable Ads

Playable ads are still holding strong as an effective means to advertise casual mobile games.


Because they offer a “try before you buy” experience. Players get to interact with the game, even if it’s a simplified or “fake” version of the gameplay, right within the ad itself.

This interactive experience not only grabs attention but also provides a better understanding of the game, which often leads to more engaged players and better retention rates.

Popular games using this approach:

  • Monopoly GO: Despite featuring fake gameplay in its ads, the interactive experience provides a quick taste of the game, enticing users to download and experience the full version.
  • Platformer Games: Playable ads from titles like Pop’s World and Super Bino Go are among the top-performing casual game ads in terms of impressions. Though they might be seen as Super Mario lookalikes, their ad strategy successfully engages potential players.

The real power of playable ads lies in the engagement they offer. These ads allow players to interact with the game mechanics, resulting in a more informed and committed download decision.

When a user has already played your game through an ad, they’re likely to be more invested and therefore more likely to stick around for the long term. It’s an effective way to not only attract new players but to attract the right kind of players.

6. Transporting into Game Worlds

The line between reality and game worlds is becoming increasingly blurred in advertising, and it’s a trend that’s captivating audiences. By creating an immersive experience within the ad itself, viewers are mentally transported into the game world, effectively heightening interest and engagement.

For example:

One particularly immersive ad for Monopoly GO! features an actor representing a female player who suddenly finds herself transported into the Monopoly universe. This direct plunge into the game world grabs viewer attention and provides a sense of what the gameplay experience could feel like.

This advertising approach aims to capture the imagination of viewers, drawing them into the game world even before they’ve downloaded the app.

It’s a compelling way to make your game more relatable and engaging, setting the stage for a deeper connection once the user decides to download. By giving prospective players a taste of the game environment and how it might feel to be a part of it, you’re more likely to convert these viewers into committed players.

7. User Generated Creatives (UGC)

User-generated creatives have become a go-to strategy in the advertisement of casual mobile games.


UGC brings an authenticity that professionally crafted ads sometimes lack. When potential players see real users enjoying a game, it adds a layer of trust and relatability that other forms of advertising struggle to achieve.

Example: Where Is He?

This game features ads with humorous gameplay footage accompanied by real player commentary. The authentic reaction of the player provides an unfiltered glimpse into the gameplay experience, making the game more appealing to potential users.

By leveraging UGC, you’re essentially getting endorsements from your current player base, which is often more persuasive than any celebrity or influencer.

Authenticity is a big draw for many people, and seeing real players enjoy a game can significantly lower the barrier to entry for new players. It’s like a word-of-mouth recommendation but delivered through a creative ad format that can reach a much wider audience.

casual games advertising trends shelves

8. Puzzle Shelves

The puzzle shelves trend is a unique and increasingly popular creative trend, particularly among matching puzzle games and 3D puzzle games. Unlike traditional gameplay videos, these ads feature a wooden shelf with various items on it. The objective presented in the ads is to sort or match these items together, offering an intriguing spin on the genre.

Examples include:

  • Tile Club Matching Game
  • Goods Triple – Sort Master 3D
  • Triple Match 3D
  • Stuff Sort
  • Triple Tile
  • Closet Sort

For instance, Triple Match 3D takes this concept a step further by transforming the wooden shelf into a three-dimensional cylinder that can be spun around. This clever variation adds a layer of intrigue and engagement to the concept.

Why does this trend work?

It simplifies the gameplay into a visually engaging task that seems both familiar and new. The wooden shelf aesthetic invokes a sense of nostalgia and tactile pleasure, resonating with a wide array of players.

Furthermore, it gives a snippet of the game’s objective without giving everything away, enticing viewers to download the game to explore more.

9. Humorous Ads with Actors

Ads featuring actors have been quite effective in the casual mobile game industry, especially when they incorporate humor. These ads are often lighthearted and designed to elicit a chuckle, making them memorable and shareable.

Example: Monopoly GO!

One standout ad for this game features a couple, and it’s a perfect example of how humor can be used effectively.

The man is in bed playing Monopoly GO! when the woman walks in late, claiming she had to work. It’s an unexpected reversal of traditional gender roles, which is something that the female audience would find appealing.

The man humorously retorts she worked at the betrayal factory, revealing that she too has been playing the game and has even shut down his city in Monopoly. It’s playful, competitive, and taps into the dynamics of the game itself.

The choice of actors often reflects the target demographic. For instance, couples or business people frequently make appearances, symbolizing the kinds of players these games are hoping to attract.

Humor serves as a fantastic tool to create memorable and engaging ads. It lightens the mood and allows potential players to relate to the scenarios being presented, setting the stage for a fun gaming experience. With the right touch of humor and relatability, these ads can go a long way in encouraging downloads and active engagement.

casual game ads action games

10. Exciting Action Gameplay

While many casual games lean toward puzzle or strategy elements, there’s a sub-genre that thrives on action and excitement. For these types of games, particularly casual racing titles, high-octane video ads capture the essence of the game and serve as a strong user acquisition tool.

Games leveraging this approach:

  • Moto Race
  • Traffic Driving Car Simulator
  • Blocky Highway

These ads often feature thrilling chases, close calls, and dramatic overtakes, encapsulating the adrenaline-pumping experience that the game aims to deliver. The objective here is to showcase the excitement and fast-paced nature of the game, compelling potential players to download and dive into the action.

How to Advertise Casual Mobile Games: Final Thoughts

User acquisition is both an art and a science, and the key is to continually adapt and innovate.

Whether you’re delving into humor, leveraging user-generated content, or thrilling your audience with action-packed gameplay, remember that the aim is to resonate with your players.

Feel free to share your thoughts on how to advertise casual mobile games in the comments below and don’t hesitate to share this article with others who might find it useful.

Data source: AppMagic, a leading ad intelligence platform. Get 3 days of free access to all AppMagic’s features, as well as 10% off, by clicking on this link.


About Udonis

Udonis is an independent full-service mobile marketing agency that acquired more than 300,000,000 users for mobile games since 2018.

Visit udonis.co


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