How to Improve Conversion Rate in Mobile Games

How to Improve Conversion Rate in Mobile Games

by Mihovil Grguric

How would you define performance?

Many marketers would explain it as one simple metric – conversion rate.

When it comes to mobile game metrics, this is the golden one.

There are some frequent questions we’ve stumbled upon when it comes to conversion rates.

What is a good mobile game conversion rate? How do I increase it? What conversion rates do my competitors have? 

We’ve got this, and even more, covered.

What Is Conversion Rate in Mobile Games? 

Conversion rate is one of the most important metrics for online advertising in general. This metric is universally used across different online channels – and it’s universally important. For mobile marketers, it’s no different.

What do high conversion rates mean?

Typically, they mean a high ROI and show that your advertising efforts are effective.

To define this term, conversion rate tracks the percentage of users who have performed a desired action. When it comes to apps, there are two main types of conversion rates:

  • The percentage of users that installed the app after visiting the app listing (install rate)
  • The percentage of users who made an in-app purchase after installing the app (IAP conversion rate)

Which of these is more important depends on the app, but the principle is the same.

Converting users is a multistep process that includes these three steps:

  • Bringing prospects into a funnel
  • Completing the desired action
  • Turning them into paying users

Let’s say you’ve got paid ads for your app running on Facebook or Google.

The users click on your ad and visit your app store listing. They decide to install your app. Voilà, this is considered a conversion. After the users download your app, you want them to use it, and you want to earn something out of it.

The app category that highly relies on measuring conversion rates is mobile games. To be more specific, free-to-play mobile games. These games are primarily monetized either through in-app advertising or in-app purchases. Either way, for any of that to happen, the users first have to install the game.

playing a mobile game

Mobile Games: Conversion Rate Types

When it comes to mobile game conversions, the most important thing you need to measure the game’s success is a metric that tells you how many people have downloaded your game from the app store. For this reason, we track install rates.

There is no magic formula for increasing conversion rates but we know what the most important ingredients are.


It’s crucial that you track this metric, especially if you’re using paid user acquisition for your mobile game. By measuring the install rate for mobile games you will be able to find out:

  • How effective your game ads are
  • Which ad networks work best for you
  • Which ad formats drive the most installs
  • What are your best-converting audiences
  • When do users install most (days of the week, time of day)

Other than this, the install rate can show how your game is perceived. This happens when users come to your app store page, watch your game promo video, and go over all the other app store elements. Based on their impression, they decide if they will install or not.

By analyzing mobile game install rates, mobile game advertisers get valuable insights that help them optimize their campaigns and make strategic decisions.

The other important conversion rate type you need to track in mobile games refers to in-app purchases (IAP). If your mobile game monetization model is centered around IAP revenue, you have to track IAP conversion rates.

Whether it’s purchasing weapons, extra lives, or skins, it’s hard to get the users to pay for something they usually get for free. According to TapJoy, the average IAP conversion for all app types stands at 2-3%. For mobile games, it is even lower.

Luckily, we know how to increase both types of conversion rates for your mobile game.

calculating conversion rates

How Do You Calculate Conversion Rates for Mobile Games?

Calculating conversion rates for mobile games is easy. Take the number of conversions (e.g., installs or in-app purchases) and divide it by the overall visitor number. After that, multiply it by 100 to get a percentage.

This formula applies to both types of app conversions.

To exemplify, if your mobile game got 40 installs out of 400 app store visits, your install-focused conversion rate is 10%.

If from those 40 installs, 2 result in in-app purchases, this means your in-app conversion rate stands at 5%.

How often should you measure conversion rates?

There is no rule to this. However, a lot of games measure conversion rates on a monthly and quarterly basis. You can also track daily conversion rates if you need even more detailed insights.

How to Increase Conversion Rate in Mobile Games?

First, we will cover the most important thing for your mobile game – getting the install.

After that, we will dive further into what happens after the install if your game is based on IAP revenue.

app store listing

Optimize Your Game’s App Store Listing

When converting, people are bound to visit your game’s app store page. The elements they will see first, regardless of whether they are coming from paid or organic channels, are the app name and icon.

Did you know the users decide whether they will install an app within just a few seconds upon landing on the app store listing?

This is proof that the quality of mobile games’ app store elements highly affects install rates.

Basically, the listing factors that affect app store optimization for mobile games also affect conversion rates. That includes app name and description, ratings and reviews, and visual elements.

First impressions are important in so many cases in life. In this case, they matter up to 50%. This is how many installs come based on the so-called first impression frame.

Would you install a game with blurred screenshots and bad videos? Thought so. After all, humans are mainly visual creatures.

For this reason, visual assets should be the main focus of your mobile game store listing.

This includes:

  • App icon
  • Screenshot gallery
  • App promo video

Keep in mind that Google Play and iOS Store don’t have the same layouts. Watch out for this since using identical assets on both app stores can lower your installs on iOS up to 30% (StoreMaven).

Here you can see the layout differences between the Google Play Store (left) and the iOS App Store (right) for the same game. You can also see that Brawl Stars adapted their assets accordingly.

brawl stars schreenshot gallery app stores

In the iOS store, your main focus should be the promo video. Here, the videos automatically start the moment the user opens the app page. That gives you a few seconds to show them why they should install your app.

In Google Play, all three visual elements are equally important: the icon, screenshots gallery, and the promo video.

Now, let’s talk about how you can optimize your game’s icon, screenshots, and promo videos for the best conversion rates.

App Icon

The app icon is the base of your visual identity that marks your overall media presence. Make sure you design a great icon from the start. This is not something you should frequently change and test.

Here is some advice to help you with that.

  • Choose the main colors from your visual identity
  • Avoid using text (if you do keep it short)
  • Don’t include photographs or images
  • Use clear graphic that represents the game

App Promo Video 

The app promo video is your game’s trailer. You really don’t want to fail here.

Wondering how important promo videos are? Well, according to StoreMaven, a well-made promo video can increase your conversion rate by up to 40 percent!

A good mobile game promo video is fun, exciting, and engaging. The main things for your game videos are that you keep them short and start strong. Here are more details for creating promo videos that convert.

  • Include authentic gameplay
  • Keep it up to 30 seconds
  • Hook viewers in the first 5 seconds
  • Show off the most exciting game features

Don’t forget to test your mobile game videos for the best performance possible. Create multiple variations with small changes like CTA or intro and track what works best.

Videos are the cornerstones for the impression your mobile games make. When it comes to paid video ads for your mobile game, they can do wonders for your conversion rates.

We’ll get to that later.

screenshots gallery candy crush saga

screenshots gallery homescapes

Screenshots Gallery

The screenshots gallery is an important part of the overall visual impression, especially in the Google Play Store. You can use it to create a story about your game, tell users what awaits them at a certain level, and build excitement about other game features.

In the images above, you can see how Candy Crush Saga uses vertical screenshots, while Homescapes uses horizontal ones.

Here are some tips you can use when creating screenshots:

  • Keep them clean
  • Display key features in the first screenshot
  • Use real-game screenshots
  • Write short textual descriptions
  • Match colors
  • Match screenshot orientation to actual gameplay

Screenshots are the feature game publishers test most frequently. And they do it for a good reason. According to StoreMaven, testing screenshots can increase conversion rates by up to 28%. Try changing their order, mix different gameplay captions and features, image edits, orientations, etc.

A tool that will help you do this is the Google Play Store Listing Experiments. There are also some third-party tools that can do this for both app stores.

video ads

Create Amazing Mobile Game Video Ads

When you’re using paid user acquisition to get more installs for your mobile game, your conversion rates will depend on the ad formats you choose.

If you’re browsing through mobile game ads on any social network or spying on competitors in Facebook Ads Library, you will notice most of them are video ads. Facebook’s research showed that a video keeps the user’s attention 5 times longer than static content. This is one of the reasons both users and marketers prefer video ads.

This is only logical because video is the best way to give the users a sneak peek into your mobile game.

If they like what they see, they might install the game.

In order to create video ads that convert, you should capture the most engaging parts of the game, like in promo videos. However, here you can go beyond gameplay and show your game however you like.

You can include live-action such as people playing your game, footage that’s not a part of the actual game, etc. The most important thing here is not to exaggerate and deceive people.

You don’t want to end up disappointing users that install your game.

Here are several tips on creating a good video ad creative for your mobile game:

  • Make it short (15-30 seconds)
  • Include recorded gameplay
  • Start with the best game features
  • Include a CTA (download now/install now)
  • Watch out for the ad network’s advertising policies and guidelines

To get the best conversion rates possible, you have to choose the best ad network to place your mobile game ads. Whether you want to focus on social networks or ad exchanges, it’s your call.

Make sure that after you set your campaigns, you track and optimize. For more details on this here’s our mobile game marketing guide.

Now let’s get to how to increase your in-game conversion rates.

in app purchases

Best Practices for Increasing In-Game Conversion Rates

After the user finally installs your mobile game, how do you make him pay for something in the game?

It is generally hard to make the user make a first in-app purchase.

Not only is it hard, but it’s not cheap either.

According to Liftoff, it costs $35.42 to get a mobile gamer to buy something for the first time.

However, we have some techniques to make this easier and increase your in-game conversion rates.

  • Introduce the first purchasable items early in the game. If someone wants to unlock a special feature in the game at all, he will want to be able to do it as early as possible.
  • React to the player’s needs. Sometimes the players will be stuck on a certain level or run out of lives. That’s where you jump in and offer them to buy something to help them.
  • Watch out for too many in-game ads. If you’ve decided to base your game monetization on IAP, too many ads that interfere with the gameplay experience are a big mistake. This will likely chase away paying customers that want the full game experience and are willing to pay for it. The exception to this are rewarded ads since they provide value after all.
  • Make them come back for more with new features. A month ago your game had an option to purchase extra coins. Now it’s Christmas time and you’ll want to introduce special Christmas coins. Any kind of new feature and content will be a valuable addition to paying gamers.

Conversion Rate Statistics for Each Mobile Game Genre

If your game monetizes with in-app purchases, you should pay special attention to in-game conversion rates.

In case your in-game conversion rates seem incredibly low, let me give you some comfort– they are low even for the best games on the market.

Let’s take a lot at exactly how low they are. We’re bringing you conversion rate statistics for casual, classic, and mid-core games in 2020 (GameAnalytics, Benchmarks).

Casual Games

  • Top 25% of games – 0.7%
  • Median 50% of games – 0.3%
  • Bottom 25% of games – 0.1%

Classic Games

  • Top 25% of games – 1%
  • Median 50% of games – 0.5%
  • Bottom 25% of games – 0.2%

Mid-Core Games

  • Top 25% of games – 1.2%
  • Median 50% of games – 0.5%
  • Bottom 25% of games – 0.2%

Generally, mid-core games rely on in-app purchase revenue more than games in other genres. This is especially true for strategy and RPG games.

Also, mid-core gamers are well known for their competitive spirits, high engagement rates, and LTVs.

Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that this mobile game category has the highest average in-game conversion rates.

We can also notice that only the top 25% of mid-core games have extraordinary conversion rates. This is largely thanks to renowned titles with big and loyal player bases like, for example, Rise of Kingdoms, Call of Duty Mobile and Lords Mobile.

Classic games are a close second. It’s interesting that the conversion rates for median and bottom classic games are the same as for mid-core games.

Finally, casual games have the lowest average in-game conversion rates. This is not surprising because, well, casual players play the games casually. As a result, a lot of them don’t care about these games enough to open their wallets.

To Sum Up

You’ve probably noticed how many different mobile game aspects we’ve included in this article.

This is because everything affects conversion rates!

Think of a converting mobile game as a puzzle. You have to put all pieces in place, no holes allowed. Every hole will negatively affect conversion rates. This is a link between app store listing elements, ad formats, ad networks, and in-game monetization.

It’s common knowledge that you have to track conversion rate and other KPIs. But remember, tracking is nothing without optimization.

This is the only way to tap your mobile game’s full potential and reach the top charts!


About Udonis

Udonis is an independent full-service mobile marketing agency that acquired more than 200,000,000 users for mobile games since 2018.

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