All the fun of gambling with none of the risk? Within the mobile gaming world, Casino Games are some of the most popular. Though gambling can be truly addicting, casino Games can offer a cheaper way to get the thrill of a slot machine or a game of Poker without breaking the bank. They target a wider audience of people who may not be able to go to casinos, or who just plain love the games.
On the surface, casino Games and hyper-casual games may seem very similar. Both are colorful, not too challenging, and quite addicting. However, they have some core differences. As opposed to Hyper-casual games whose user base plays the games to fill time, Casino games are allotted time themselves. There is also not much turnover. Once a game has been downloaded, the user is not as likely to get bored and download another, rather, they would more likely keep the same app over a long period. They may even go so far as to redownload it if it is ever deleted or they change devices.
You may not have been to a casino recently, but you certainly remember what they look like. More importantly, the user base for these slot games does. They are marketed as being “realistic” and giving the user a “real vegas experience”. However, these games do not offer the opportunity for real monetary gain.
Now, how are these games marketed and how do they find so much success on the app stores? Let’s take a look at some games by Grande Games, Mukra, Double Down, Playtika, and Zynga to see what their marketing strategy looks like and how they attract players. We will examine both the App Store and the Google Play Store to see what creative strategies these publishers are using.
This article can be helpful for UA managers planning future campaigns. We will examine the creative trends of these top advertisers and see what they have to offer.
The Publishers & Casino Game
Listed here are the publishers we will be analyzing. When choosing which publishers’ games to analyze we looked at such factors as, the popularity of the publisher and the number of games they were distributing. Aside from that, we had to make sure they both had overlapping apps available in the Android Store and the Apple App Store.
The terms you need to know
Before delving any deeper into our creative analysis, let’s look at some of the terms we will be using in campaign analysis. If you get confused, just hop back up to this glossary to see what each term means.
Creative count: The total number of creatives used while running ads.
Active creative count: The total number of creatives that are currently being advertised.
Creative types: Our platform supports the viewing of 8 media types. These are video, image, interstitial, banner, interactive, rewarded, end card, carousel. These Casino apps are using Images, Video, Interactive creatives, and HTML. Though the interactive creatives are far lesser in numbers, they often receive the most impressions in this category of app creatives.
Publisher count: This is the total number of apps that are publishing ads for the selected app.
Ad networks: This is a list of each ad network that is presently used to run ads for the app in question. The MobileAction platform has these listed in order of most used to least used. Each has a percentage of ads run on a specific location.
The data below has been collected from our Campaign Analysis page and our Ad Intelligence tool. To get insights about any app in different categories schedule a demo with us.
We will be analyzing data for both the App Store and Google Play Store.
The “Creative Counts” is one of the most important parts of analysis, when discussing creative trends. They give us insight into the scale at which the publishers are marketing their games.
Looking at creative counts alone we can learn some things about an app.
A game with a high creative count may, for example, have a big budget for creatives. We can learn even more by analyzing active creatives VS total creatives. This will show us how much they are optimizing their creatives. Perhaps they have run several campaigns or are testing out different variations of their current creatives and pruning away the ones with lower engagement.
We can see on the graph that Grande Games took first place on creative counts over on the App Store platform. It has around 2000 creatives. However, the number of active creatives is around 1000.
We can see on the graph that again Grande Games is leading on creative counts on the Google Play Store platform. This time it has nearly 3000 creatives and the active creatives of Grande are again around 1500.
The active creatives are never as much as the total creatives. When we compare the averages of the active creatives counts, we can see that the averages on Google Play Store Creative Counts are higher than the App Store. This gives us a clue that publishers are keeping their creatives more aggressive over on Google Play Store.
Playtika and Zynga have the biggest discrepancies between active and total creative counts in both stores, both having more active creatives in the Apple App Store. Meanwhile Murka is the closest in numbers between the two stores whole having more active creatives in the Play store proportionally.
Why do people play Casino Game Apps?
Many of these apps have no real money to gain and only money to spend. Especially with the slot games, it is possible to spend up to 300 dollars in one go. There are many in-game purchases available to the player. So if there’s no real prize money to be gained… Why do people play? For some, it may be the legality. The majority of these games have their biggest user-base coming from the United States. In the US it is illegal to gamble real money online. For those who miss the casinos or can’t get there as often as they would want, these games are very realistic in terms of a casino slot game experience.
Some may also play the games casually for entertainment. These people may pay a few dollars for more coins in the game the same way one would pay for any other game. The games also have daily targets and in-game rewards for signing in each day. They are designed to encourage progress. Progression models are designed to make you run out of coins right as you are about to progress. This will encourage you to buy coins to keep progressing.
There is also an element of status and competition. Leaderboards, achievements, and so on are available for view. This can incite competition between players. Within the game you have status and this can make people want to keep playing and buying more to maintain that status.
Casino Game Creative Types
Casino Games’ target markets vary slightly based on the game. However in general there are some trends we can pick out from the creatives that set them apart from any other category. What is interesting, is the lack of playable ads and the higher percentage of HTML ads. This may be due to the target audience of these games being more familiar with computers and not used to interacting with ads.
Most of the time, HTML includes content that is composed of video, image, banner, end card image, and carousel images. This is targeting computer users more than mobile users. It is an indication of an older audience. The majority of their ads are also on Facebook.
While most hyper-casual mobile games prefer the Video format for their advertisements, casino apps are different. They have a higher percentage of HTML ads.
The google play store favours images a little more than the app store, but generally, the ratios are quite similar.
Older target Market for Slot Casino Games
We can see from the creatives that slot games are targeting an older demographic.
Slotomania for example is a game from Playtika. It uses advertisements featuring actor John Goodman. He has acted in many films and is most famous for his role in Rosanne (1988–1997). This shows that the slot game is targeting a slightly older demographic that would have watched this show.
With the Cash frenzy app, we can see the following.
The creatives from Cash Frenzy consist of a few templates. The first is bright, colorful, overstimulating images from the gameplay.
These images are a good example. The images are colorful, with high contrast and high saturation. They are also a little dark. The game itself is also a little dark. Despite being extremely colorful and vibrant. This may be to encourage users to raise the brightness of their screens and have this be the flashiest most engaging thing in the room. This may also stop people from feeling sleepy.
The second type of creatives Cash Frenzy is using, are user experience type videos. These have scripted conversations between people or reenactments of people winning the jackpot on their app and getting excited.
These show people talking about their wins and getting very excited about winning on the app. These are a bit misleading. They are screaming and jumping as if they have won a lot of money. Though they do not directly lie to their audience, they do imply winning money. These are targeted to more age groups. Most of the videos feature young women talking about the game or a couple interacting. They also show other “winners” at the end of the video, including more age categories.
Finally, there are testimonial style images. These are usually photos of this lady with this quotation.
This ad is targeting an older demographic.
The card games focus mostly on the gameplay. They also play into the competitiveness of the player.
Additionally, however, they offer a “shuffle” option which is advertised and they talk about “payouts” in the ad which makes the player feel like they are having a gambling experience.
They also include those videos of real-life “wins”.
Interestingly they are the same videos as the Cash Frenzy app, just with Solitaire in the corner instead of Slots.
Here we can see that they have used the same video of the same girl just superimposing a different screengrab at the bottom.
This may be because the publisher had so much success with the add-on one app they didn’t want to risk changing any variables trying to recreate it and just used the same clip.
This does however run the risk of seeming disingenuous to a viewer who has seen both ads as they will realize that the reaction was not specific to the game.
This game uses lots of themes to advertise their game. One will show the Mona Lisa, another will be a depiction of a Disney Princess reimagined to avoid copyright issues.
They also have seasonally themed slots and many others.
However, for an app with such expansive thematic variety, some of their creatives are quite plain.
A lot of Casino Games ads seem to be “testimonial” style. This has no credit, anyone could have written this, but it could be appealing to people who are less familiar with the internet.
Publisher Counts For Casino Games Top Publishers
Starting with the graph for the App Store:
When planning a market strategy it is prudent to make sure that your ads are seen by potential users. In theory, the more networks you advertise on, the more people will see your app, and the more people will download it. However, it is also important to target networks on which your target audience will see them. It is also vital to consider the cost of each network and what your budget will allow. This is a point for UA Managers to take note of when planning their marketing strategy.
Let’s take a peek at the Publisher Counts for the Casino Game publishers and the apps.
Here are the publisher percentages for Apple App Store and Google Play Store:
Double Down is dominating the Apple store while Grande games has a much bigger hold on the Google play store.
Category Rankings for Casino Games
We can see here that Grande Games, Murka, Double Down, and Playtika all rank higher in the Apple App Store. This may be due to the sheer number of apps in the Play store and the higher user base. Zynga has the highest-ranking Casino Games in the Play store out of the compared Casino Game publishers. Note that for this post we only used publishers running the same games in both stores. Many Casino apps rank higher in the Play store that are only running applications there.
Ad Networks used by Casino Games
These ad networks bridge the gap between advertisers and publishers. They are crucial in coordinating the distribution of creatives. Seeing what ad networks Top Publishers use, might help you in choosing your own for future marketing of your application.
Which Ad Networks Casino Games Using Most
Facebook seems to be the best place to advertise Casino Apps. This may be based on the users who frequent facebook having an overlap with those interested in Casino games.
What to Take Away From Top Casino Game Publishers Like Playtika and Grande….
Casino Apps are an important category in mobile games. Marketing them doesn’t have to be a gamble! There is a lot of competition within the market and it is wise to take a look at your competitor’s creatives to see what their strategy is when promoting their apps. If you would like to take a closer look at the creative strategy behind marketing a Casino app, sign up for a demo with us and do some investigation of your own.