Last Christmas – I Gave Google Play My Marketing Budget

Jan 16, 2020
By: Marissa Camilli

Cast your mind back a couple of weeks to the holidays. Were you spending time with your loved ones, watching the kids excitedly opening their presents, before tucking into a big festive meal, and then perhaps chilling out together watching a cheesy holiday movie? Or were you glued to your smartphone, playing games?

Let’s not be cynical. Of course, it’s easy to do both and who can blame anyone for sneaking away from their extended family for a bit of peace and quiet, and some rapid thumb movement to let the Christmas pudding digest. According to research conducted over the festive period by the mobile data firm Sensor Tower, the games industry had a very healthy Christmas with an estimated $210 million spent on smartphone games on December 25th alone.

A Time for Play

Games account for approximately 76% of revenue generated by app sales and in-app purchases on Christmas Day, with total revenues across all categories topping $277 million. This accounts for an 11.3% increase on the previous year’s record of $249 million.

The report suggests that a big driver of this revenue can be attributed to new device sales, first-time mobile users, and consumers flush with gift cards for the various app stores.

The biggest game of the year was PUBG Mobile — a multi-player battle game from Tencent’s TiMi studio — which generated a reported $8.5 million in revenues from in-app purchases on Christmas. This represents a staggering increase of 431% on the previous year’s total of $1.6 million.

Away from the gaming category, the next best-performing app was the dating app Tinder which set hearts racing with revenues of $2.1 million.

Further Reading: Digital Turbine and Razer – Getting Serious About Gaming.

The Big Winner

Of course, the big winners last Christmas were the app stores that sit back and take a cool 30% of every cent generated by app sales and in-app purchases.

Not everyone thinks this 30% is fair. Fortnite creator Epic Games, who famously bypassed the Google Play Store with their Android release, recently questioned the legality of this fee. This isn’t an argument the team at Digital Turbine is going to get into anytime soon, but we do believe in creating an app ecosystem where app developers have a real choice about how they take their apps to market.

Further Reading: Will Epic Games Change The Way Smartphone Users Download Apps?

This isn’t just about money, it’s about the opportunity. The Google Play Store offers app developers a significant route to market — but it barely scratches the surface when it comes to delivering new users to app developers.

The fact is, the vast majority of smartphone owners rarely if ever, download new apps to their devices. There are many reasons for this including issues relating to connectivity, device memory, and fear of fraud.

Further Reading: Are You Losing 21 Percent of Your Ad Budget to Fraud?

One thing for certain is, if app developers could bypass the Google Play Store and place their apps directly on consumers’ devices, they would not only save a lot of money in fees, they would reach a much wider audience, potentially helping them to generate more income.

It’s Never too Early to Start Thinking About the Holidays

While the holidays might be a million miles from your thoughts at this time of the year, it’s never too early to start thinking about your app marketing strategy for the year ahead. Let’s face it, the holidays are too important to leave to chance and the Google Play Store is too expensive to be your only route to market.

To find out how Digital Turbine can help your app reach more users through a campaign of pre-loading and SingleTap™ installs, contact us today and ask to speak with one of our app marketing experts.

Further Reading: ‘Tis The Season To Preload Your App.

Further Reading: Top Game Developer Enjoys 7x Lift in Conversion Rates with SingleTap™ Installs.

Marissa Camilli
By Marissa Camilli
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