How mobile app developers are getting inspired by the mobile gaming space


Mobile app use has exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, and mobile games are leading the charge. Between Q2 2019 and Q2 2020, mobile app purchases grew 15% year-over-year on iOS and 25% on Google Play, with games being the most prominent category and growing in popularity. the fastest growing on the two platforms, according to an App Annie report, which did not detail exact growth numbers.

As mobile gaming gains momentum, app developers elsewhere in the mobile space are applying the lessons of gaming to apps in disparate categories such as fitness and cryptocurrency. Digiday spoke with four mobile developers in the industry to find out why they are drawing inspiration from the gaming space – and how they are applying these techniques to their non-gaming applications.

The key details:

  • Mobile game developers understood early on the importance of treating apps as social networks in their own right and tapping into dedicated mobile user networks, rather than relying on pre-existing user networks such as Facebook or Google. “Historically, non-gaming has been very dependent on social media, and quite often this has been the only real channel for growth,” said Daniel Tchernahovsky, vice president of international business development at marketing software company AppLovin. . “In the game the process was a little different: from the early stages it wasn’t just social media, it was actually networks like ourselves and some of our competitors. So there was always the understanding that you need to go above and beyond, and that users aren’t just the users you find on Facebook.
  • Mobile developers have always been associated with a large number of brands or companies in order to promote their products, a tactic that is becoming increasingly popular in the mobile industry. According to his company’s research, Chernahovsky said, the average number of brand partners of mobile developers is six to nine; “Outside of games, that number is often four, and in crypto it’s even three, because crypto apps often can’t work with Facebook or Google.”
  • While the practice of A / B testing predates the mobile gaming industry, mobile developers have “an obsession with A / B testing,” according to Francesco Mancone, head of marketing technology for the Italian company. mobile applications Bending Spoons. Mancone and his colleagues used this technique to develop and streamline their own gaming app, Live Quiz, in addition to other commercial apps like the 30DayFitness fitness app. “I think the game in particular has applied A / B testing to the heart of its product,” Tchernahovsky said.
  • Mobile developers outside of the game are introducing interactivity and gamification into their in-app ads to maintain user engagement and even improve their experiences, much like in-game ads. “In the industry. gambling is a very important subject; it’s a fundamental factor in delivering high quality advertising, ”Mancone said. “And that’s something we’ve been doing at Bending Spoons from the start.”

A converging workforce

One of the reasons that mobile space app developers are drawing inspiration from mobile game companies is that non-gaming companies have spent the last few years strategically hiring in the gaming industry. The mobile space is littered with developers, marketers, and executives with roots in the gaming world. “There is quite a bit of overlap, from a marketing standpoint,” said Advit Sahdev, vice-president. Marketing Chairman of the CoinDCX cryptocurrency exchange. “One of the common things is that we have very similar marketing channels that are available.”

The poaching of mobile gaming talent isn’t limited to the mobile app industry. In July, Netflix hired Mike Verdu, a former Zynga executive, to head its games department.

A diverse audience

Mobile game developers may be more nimble than other developers in the mobile space, having had to tackle misconceptions about gamers to expand their user base. Chernahovksy and his peers believe the process of mobile app development will only become more streamlined – and even more applicable to app development across the industry – as definitions of game and gamer continue. to expand.

“I think the game has reached a penetration of all demographics now. We are often asked this question, “What is your middle age group, what is the gender split?” Said Tchernahovsky. “It has never been too important to us, because of the scale at which we operate or the game.”

The Rundown: How mobile app developers are taking cues from the mobile gaming space

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