Mobile Monday: Facebook Explores Monetizing WhatsApp, The Growth of Mobile Tabletop Games, Preserving Mobile Game Spend Post-pandemic

Aug 16, 2021
By: Ravi Pimplaskar

Mobile Monday is the weekly roundup of the latest news, trends, and developments in mobile apps, tech, and advertising. Digital Turbine and AdColony are now joined by Fyber as we cover news and insights in apps and games. This week we touch on Facebook exploring bringing ads to WhatsApp, the growth of player spending in Tabletop mobile games, and how developers can preserve consumer spend in mobile games post-pandemic.

Facebook Once Again Exploring Monetizing WhatsApp

Facebook’s desire to tap into WhatApp’s monetization potential is in the news again as they research how to insert ads in without breaching WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption. Or, simpler put: it’s doing an end-around past the privacy concerns that benched their most recent attempt. 

You may recall that earlier this year WhatsApp sent an ultimatum to its users about how they would change how it processes personal data. No surprise what happened. People care about privacy… a lot….and were quite satisfied with bidding adieu for other options.

There’s a lot to unpack here – but the assumption that users will be ok with ads in a messaging app because they are told it won’t break the encryption seems like faulty logic. It’s VERY possible people simply don’t want ads in their messaging PERIOD. And with consumers shying away from advertising in social and search, it’s doubtful that the reason is that they are ok with it invading other places where they spend a lot of time.

Nostalgia and Convenience Drive Growth in Tabletop Mobile Games

In a year where social interaction was limited, people turned to mobile games to recreate the fun and competitive nature of tabletop games. Tabletop, which includes Solitaire/Mahjong, Board, and Card games, is one of the fastest-growing genres on mobile according to research from Sensor Tower. Within the last 12 months, player spending in mobile Tabletop games increased by approximately 40% to $703.8 million. The Solitaire/Mahjong subgenre was the highest revenue generator of the subcategories during the period, with consumer spending rising more than 44% year-over-year to approximately $310 million.

Solitaire Grand Harvest was the top Tabletop game by player spending in the U.S. between August 1, 2020, and July 31, 2021, having generated $115.3 million. In the same time period, the no. 2 grossing Tabletop title was Solitaire TriPeaks, followed by Yahtzee with Buddies Dice, part of the Board game subgenre. Since classic board games have made the jump to digital, titles like Yahtzee and UNO! are proven hits that capture the nostalgia of the classic games on a convenient platform. Additionally, chess titles are doing quite well following the popularity of Netflix’s television series The Queen’s Gambit. 

Mobile Gaming Spend Continues to Break records – How Can Developers Preserve Consumer Spend Post-pandemic?

Mobile gaming has been dominating the gaming industry and since the pandemic, it’s only continued to claw more space. Users are not only playing more – they’re spending more. Much more.

As the world entered lockdowns, more and more consumers flocked to their mobile phones, spawning the asymmetric growth of game titles. Gaming eyeballs meant more lucrative opportunities for developers. According to App Annie’s H1 2021 Mobile Gaming Tear Down report, consumers spent on average $1.7 billion per week on mobile games and $9 per month per device among the top three markets globally (with India claiming the top spot) – just in the first half of 2021.

When speaking to segmentation, how can developers harness this popularity and create better experiences for their engaged users? Different age groups turned to different games and genres. Among Us! And ROBLOX caught the attention of younger demographics, while Candy Crush and the likes of Match 3 Games are popular among Millennials, and Gen X. Understanding your player segmentation, demographics, and behavior can help developers build out marketing strategies and campaigns for their games. 

Hyper-casual stands out as one of the most thriving genres, especially when it comes to converting non-gamers into players. Connected games have become the biggest driver of overall consumer spend in mobile games as social distancing encouraged consumers to look for connections with family and friends through their screens.

Now living alongside the pandemic, mobile gaming’s growth has become a lesson to be learned: one of App Annie’s takeaways shares that those developers who closely monitor and adapt to market changes can seize opportunities, and who continue to provide the best user experiences will see consumer spend continue to flow.

About Mobile Mondays
Mobile Monday examines the latest news, trends, and developments in mobile apps, tech, and advertising. Do you have a story to share for the next Mobile Monday?  

About Digital Turbine
Digital Turbine is the leading independent mobile growth platform and levels up the landscape for advertisers, publishers, carriers, and OEMs. By integrating a full ad stack with proprietary technology built into devices by wireless operators and OEMs, Digital Turbine supercharges advertising and monetization. Looking to supercharge your mobile advertising? Check out their blog to start!

About Fyber
Fyber, part of Digital Turbine’s independent Mobile Growth Platform, develops innovative ad monetization solutions trusted by top mobile game and app publishers. Fyber’s product suite offers publishers a trusted, unconflicted alternative that drives superior results by creating an optimal connection between mobile audiences, top global brands, and mobile-first advertisers across over 40Bn daily ad opportunities. Fyber’s FairBid mediation, Fyber Marketplace, and Offer Wall Edge are all built with performance, scale, and transparency in mind. To dive deeper into how their monetization solutions put app developers first, check out their blog.

About AdColony
AdColony, part of Digital Turbine’s leading independent mobile growth and monetization platform, helps brands, agencies, and apps expand their reach and results with the power of mobile. AdColony is known globally for its award-winning video advertising marketplace, with ad engagement innovations like Instant-Play™, Aurora™ HD Video, Playables, and more. Looking for more insights on apps and mobile games? Find out more on their blog!

By Ravi Pimplaskar
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