The Ultimate Guide for Marketing Card Games in 2022

The Ultimate Guide for Marketing Card Games in 2022

by Andrea Knezovic

Marketing card games may seem like a daunting task, especially when you don’t have a lot of marketing experience.

But don’t stress – I’m here to help.

In this guide, I explain everything you need to know about mobile game advertising through practical tips. You’ll also learn how to create the perfect ad for a card game with examples from top publishers. In the last part of the article, you’ll get insight into key mobile metrics and statistics for 2022.

Let’s get started!

Top 10 Card Games

Google Play

Here’s a list of top-grossing card games on Google Play in the US. (SensorTower, free data)

  1. Solitaire TriPeaks Card Games (GSN Games)
  2. Solitaire Grand Harvest (Supertreat – A Playtika Studio)
  3. WSOP – World Series of Poker (Playtika)
  4. Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links (Konami)
  5. Phase 10: World Tour (Mattel163 Limited)
  6. Zynga Poker – Texas Holdem Game (Zynga)
  7. Spades Plus – Card Game (Zynga)
  8. Magic: The Gathering Arena (Wizard of the Coast)
  9. Holdem or Foldem – Poker Texas Holdem (Forever9 Games)
  10. Hearthstone (Blizzard Entertainment)

Apple App Store

This is a list of top-grossing card games on the Apple App Store in the US. (SensorTower, free data)

  1. Slotomania™ Vegas Casino Slots (Playtika)
  2. Cashman Casino Las Vegas Slots (Product Madness)
  3. DoubleDown™ Casino – Slots Game (Double Down Interactive)
  4. Jackpot Party – Casino Slots (Phantom EFX)
  5. Cash Frenzy™ – Slots Casino (SpinX Games)
  6. Lightning Link Casino Slots (Product Madness)
  7. Solitaire Grand Harvest (Supertreat)
  8. World Series of Poker – WSOP (Playtika)
  9. POP! Slots™ Live Vegas Casino (PlayStudios)
  10. Big Fish Casino: Slots (Big Fish Games)

Tips for Marketing Card Games in 2022

Having a successful game and actually making money off of it is the dream of every developer or publisher. It’s what makes all the hard work worth it.

However, the path to success is not a straight line – it’s full of ups and downs. What’s important is to arm yourself with knowledge and push forward.

It’s possible to reach the top charts if you play your cards right (pun intended).

To get you started, I have put together simple and practical tips for marketing card games that will help you make smarter decisions and achieve your goals.

card players demographics

Understand Who Plays Card Games

You might think card games are primarily played by boomers.

And you would be wrong.

Actually, there are a lot of young people who play them. You’d be surprised how diverse card gamer demographics are.

Traditional card games like solitaire and poker are loved by almost everyone, regardless of their age and gender. Being able to play those classic games on phones, rather than using physical cards is really convenient. There are also card-collecting type games like Yu-Gi-Oh which are very popular with children and young adults.

card game audience demographics age gender

Above is an interesting age and gender breakdown for Three Magic Towers, a mobile card game by Mobile Games Entertainment.

As you can see, the audience for this game is quite young. 34% of the audience is aged 18-24 (13% female and 21% male) and 29% is aged 25-34 (8% female and 21% male). Only a very small fraction of the audience is older than 44. This shows you that card games are popular with millennials and even gen Z.

Besides age and gender, it’s also important to understand the behavior and interests of your target audience.

What are card players looking for in a mobile game, what are their gaming habits, what type of ads do they respond to, etc. In general, card players play to pass the time, which puts them in the category of casual gamers. Furthermore, they like simple games that they can get into right away.

Defining the interests and behaviors of your target audience helps you to not only improve your game but your user acquisition strategy as well.

zynga card game app store optimization example

Master ASO and Grow Your User Base Organically

Paid user acquisition campaigns are one of the best ways to get more users. And we’re going to be talking about that later in the article. However, you’d be surprised at how many users you can acquire organically through the app stores.

That means you need to take app store optimization to the next level.

Here’s how.

Keyword Research

As you might know, keywords are an important ranking factor for the app store – they help you increase the visibility of your card game. To break it down, keyword optimization is pretty much SEO for the app store.

It consists of finding phrases that would lead someone to your card game, i.e., potential search terms and words that best describe your game. When choosing keywords, you need to consider relevance, competition, and search volume.

App intelligence tools can be very useful for keyword research because they give you access to top keywords and keyword suggestions. Furthermore, you can spy on your competitors and see which keywords bring them the most traffic.

For example, keywords one card game uses for the US market are card, solitaire, casino, brain, spider, mind, strategy, puzzle, free. All of these are great keywords for card games.

app store localization moble games


Localization is a crucial part of app store optimization that often gets overlooked. It can be a total game-changer because it allows you to reach a global audience. Plus, Google Play and Apple App Store give advantage to localized games because localization improves user experience.

So not only is it important to localize the game itself, but also the app store ranking factors like keywords, description, icon, images, preview video, and even the game title. Basically, every single aspect of your app page.

According to MobileAction, localizing an app results in 130% more downloads and a 25% increase in revenue.

The Apple App Store is available in 155 countries and you can localize content for 40 different languages. For Google Play, you can choose from 77 different localizations. However, that doesn’t mean you need to localize for all languages – choose the ones based on your target market.

App Store Promo Videos

While writing a good game description and adding screenshots to your app store page is important, there’s nothing like a good promo video. It contains all the necessary game information and encourages users to download it.

Creating an app store promo video is similar to creating a video ad. However, a promo video is typically longer and contains more information about the game.

For card games, it’s crucial that you explain how the game is played. Users should know right away what the game is about. Furthermore, you should highlight the most important features and benefits of the game, i.e., a multiplayer feature, leaderboards, different card decks, etc.

Boost Downloads With Paid User Acquisition Campaigns

To take a user acquisition strategy to a new level, you need to start advertising on social media and multiple ad networks.

When it comes to social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok are the ones you need to focus on the most.

According to AppsFlyer Performance Index, the best ad networks for advertising mobile games are Google, AppLovin, Unity Ads, ironSource, Apple Search Ads, Mintegral, Vungle, etc.

To help you get started, here’s a simple guide for Facebook Ads.

How to Structure Facebook Ad Campaigns for Card Games?

If you’re new to setting up Facebook Ad Campaigns, you might get confused by the process.

So here’s a simple example of how to structure a Facebook ad campaign.

The first phase is testing the ads.

When setting up the campaign, choose the lowest cost as the bidding strategy and set a $100 daily budget. Then, create 3 ad sets for 3 different age groups (13-24, 25-44, 45-65) with 10 video ads for each set.

Run the video ads for three days. Then analyze them and identify the winners from each set, i.e., the ads that have the lowest CPI.

Then you move to the second phase where you choose a bid cap as the objective and a daily budget of $1,000.

Create 2 ad sets. The first one will target a broad audience (13-65), while the second one will target lookalike audiences (people who watched your video to 50%). Add the winning ads from the previous step into both ad sets.

That’s it!

This simple process can greatly improve the effectiveness of your user acquisition strategy.

However, this is only the beginning. There are advanced Facebook Ad strategies you can use to get even better results.

If you need help with running Facebook Ad Campaigns for mobile games, feel free to reach out – it’s what we do best!

marketing card games

Keep It Simple

My last advice is to keep it simple.

Here’s the thing.

Generally speaking, people who love classic card games like Solitaire or Gin Rummy are drawn to simple mobile games. No need for out-of-this-world graphics and complicated gameplay.

You don’t need to invent anything new or groundbreaking. When creating a card game, you simply need to take an existing card game and ’transfer’ it to a mobile device – most of the work is already done for you.

Just like you don’t need crazy effects and flashy visuals in a classic card game, you don’t need complex ads with extremely high-production value. The key thing when advertising a card game is to make what it is and how to play it instantly clear.

marketing card games video ad examples analysis

Video Ad Examples From Top Card Games

When running paid user acquisition campaigns, video ads are of the utmost importance for a couple of reasons.

First, video ads are the perfect format for getting people interested in a mobile game. It allows you to showcase all the amazing features of your game. Moreover, video ads allow you to explain to users how the game is played, which is really important for card games.

Below, you can see how top publishers advertise card games.

Gin Rummy Plus (Zynga)

Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, Messenger

Duration: 00:22


Video Ad Analysis

As it was mentioned before, for card games, it’s very important that the users understand how to play it right away. This is why Zynga’s Gin Rummy Plus video ad is basically a tutorial on how to Rummy. However, through this tutorial, we also get a chance to see what the game and its main mechanics look like.

It’s a very smart strategy for marketing card games.

Also, notice how simple and straightforward the ad is – there’s no unnecessary details or crazy effects.

The second strategy Zynga uses to advertise Gin Rummy Plus is the tried-and-true method of puzzle-type ads that challenge users. You have seen these all over the place – pretty much all mobile games use this advertising strategy.

I can hear you say, “But this ad has nothing to do with Gin Rummy?”

And you’re right, it absolutely doesn’t. Gin Rummy or any types of cards are not even mentioned in the ad.

But here’s the thing – it works.

And that’s what matters.

Marketing is about data. Sometimes you need to leave your common sense at the door.

Solitaire Grand Harvest (Supertreat)

Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, Messenger

Duration: 00:30

Ad Copy: Relaxing Solitaire, Challenging Levels, Join The#1 Solitaire Game!

Video Ad Analysis

Solitaire Grand Harvest is a classic solitaire game with a twist – you can run your own farm while you play.

The ad for Solitaire Grand Harvest is more like a promo video or a product pitch where all the main game features are highlighted (fun bonus games, play with the farm family, challenging levels, daily missions, etc.).

You’ll notice that the ad is very calming and relaxing which mirrors the game itself.

This is why understanding your target audience is important. If one of the main motivations for card players is to wind down and relax while playing, that should also be the mood of the ad.

A dynamic ad with quick transitions, explosions, and upbeat electronic music would not work for this type of audience.

Solitaire TriPeaks Journey (ME2ZEN)

Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, Messenger

Duration: 00:30

Ad Copy: 🔥Highly Addictive!🔥100% Fun and Free. ⬇ ⬇ Download NOW ⬇ ⬇

Video Ad Analysis

This is another classic solitaire game, but with puzzle aspects. That’s visible in the ad, which consists of a fun puzzle that’s basically a picture match card game.

That’s a smart decision because puzzle-type ads are very effective. They pose a challenge for the users and that drives installs.

You’ll notice that the ad depicts a noob player who fails to match all the cards, which triggers the appearance of a dragon villain.

Here’s the basic psychology behind that.

When someone watches the ad and sees the fail, they want to prove that they can do better. It’s a tried-and-tested trick that gets users to download the game.

Card Game Statistics You Need in 2022

Mobile game metrics like user retention, average session length, ARPPU, and ARPDAU are crucial KPIs every developer needs to track.

To help you benchmark your card game, let’s take a look at some statistics.

User Retention Statistics for Card Games

If you’re a developer, tracking user retention is a must. This metric tells you how many users continue playing after a specific time period – most commonly, after days 1, 7, and 28.

If a significant percentage of users come back – it means your game has real potential. On the other hand, if you notice user retention is really low – it might be time to scrap your current project and try something new. Sometimes it’s best to cut your losses and move on.

day 1 user retention statistics for card games in 2021

Day 1 User Retention Statistics for Card Games

Day 1 retention looks at how many players return after 1 day of playing a game. You’ll want to use this KPI to get a quick impression of your game’s potential.

Day 1 retention for the top 2% of card games varied between the lowest point of 52.94% in January to highest in September, at 77.13%. That’s a pretty big range that averaged at 64.05%

The rest of the card game categories maintained a steady day 1 retention percentage throughout 2020. The average day 1 retention for the top 25% of games was 34.21%, for the median 50% it was 25.18%, and for the bottom 25% of card games, the yearly average was 13.72%.

day 7 user retention statistics for card games in 2021

Day 7 User Statistics for Card Games

This metric reveals the percentage of players who come back after one week of playing. As you might expect, it’s lower than day 1 retention.

For the top 2% of card games, it averaged at 40.50%, varying from 31.56% to 49.68% throughout 2020, ending it on the rise.

The rest of the card game categories maintained a steady day 7 retention percentage throughout 2020 as well. The average day 7 retention for the top 25% of games was 14.97%, for the median 50% it was 8.52%, and for the bottom 25% of card games, the yearly average was only 2.46%.

day 28 user retention statistics for card games in 2021

Day 28 User Retention Statistics for Card Games

Now, this is the real test for your game – keeping players engaged for one full month! It’s not an easy feat, but it can definitely be done!

Just like with day 1 and day 7 retention, the biggest fluctuations can be noticed with the top 2% of card games. Retention moved between 20.69% and 37.84%, averaging at 29.77% for 2020.

Again, the rest of the card game categories maintained a steady day 28 retention percentage throughout 2020. The average day 28 retention for the top 25% of games was 8.24%, for the median 50% it was 3.44%, and for the bottom 25% of card games, the yearly average was 0.17%.

Strive for More

Remember, these are only averages for user retention – don’t be afraid to aim higher. You can achieve much more with a good card game.

I’ll take the aforementioned card game Three Magic Towers as an example.

card game user retention

Above you can see user retention data for days 1 through 7 and how it changes in a span of one week (June 15th – June 21st). Day 1 retention is 60.73%, while day 7 retention 37.13%.

Compared to GameAnalytics user retention statistics for card games (up to 39% for day 1 and up to 18% for day 7), it’s much higher. That means it’s possible to have a very high user retention if a card game is good. And as you know, retaining a large percentage of users boosts your monetization efforts and increases the overall success of the game.

card game user retention

Playtime, which refers to average session length, is 31 minutes. This is also very high for Three Magic Towers. Below, you can see the averages from GameAnalytics.

average session length statistics for card games in 2021

Average Session Length Statistics for Card Games

This mobile game metric tells you how long users play on average. It is measured from the moment the user opens the game to when the session is over.

As you might have guessed, the top 2% of card games had the longest session length. The yearly session length average for 2020 was between 93 and 94 minutes. There was a drop in August, and we can see a steady incline from there.

Session length remained steady for the rest of the card game categories, averaging at just over 12 minutes for the top 25% of card games, a bit over 8 minutes for the median 50%, and under 6 minutes for the bottom 25% of card games.

arppu statistics for card games in 2021

ARPPU Statistics for Card Games

ARPPU stands for average revenue per paying user, meaning how much revenue you are getting from a single paying user.

For the top 2% of card games, the average ARPPU in 2020 was at $69.07, with a slight decline in the second half of 2020.

The average ARPPU for the top 25% of card games was at $16.89, with a sharp decline to $12.96 in early December. 

Average ARPPUs for the median 50% and the bottom 25% of card games were at $8.02 and $3.43, with no significant fluctuations over the year.

arpdau statistics for card games in 2021

ARPDAU Statistics for Card Games

Average revenue per daily active user and  tells you how much you earn from a user in a single day.

ARPDAU for the top 2% of card games averaged at $2.65. However, it was much higher in April, moving between $7.43 to $7.03, then dropping down to $1.69, slowly declining to $0.50 in December.

For the top 25% of card games, it declined at the end of the year as well, reaching a low of $0.10 in December, leaving the average for 2020 at $0.19.

ARPDAU for the median 50% and bottom 25% of card games showed no significant decline, averaging at $0.06 and $0.02 respectively.

conversion rate statistics for card games in 2021

Conversion Statistics for Card Games

Conversion rate tells us what percentage of users made a purchase in the game on a specific day.

The highest conversion percentage can be found in the top 2% of card games that dropped in three stages throughout 2020. It was around 65%-70% until May, then it dropped to approximately 35%-40% in June and dropped again to approximately 4% in October where it remained until December.

On the other hand, no significant drops can be noticed in other card game categories. 

The top 25% of card games remained at an average of 1.40%, with a small decline at the end of the year. 

The median 50% of card games kept average conversions at 0.71%, and the bottom 25% of card games had even lower average conversions of 0.37%

Final Thoughts on Marketing Card Games

Now we want to hear from you!

What is your experience with marketing card games? Do you need any help? Let us know in the comment section below!


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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