In 2022, mobile gaming is thriving in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). While Europe is already the third largest mobile gaming market in terms of revenue (after APAC and North America), the Middle East and Africa are among the fastest-growing.
According to a recent Appranking report, mobile game consumer spending in Europe reached $2.8 billion in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 1% year on year. Furthermore, mobile gaming revenue in the Middle East is expected to reach $4.4 billion in 2022 and $1.55 billion in Africa.
Because EMEA is one of the most diverse mobile gaming regions, it is critical for gaming app marketers and advertisers to keep up with the latest trends to create successful marketing campaigns. We examined installs, sessions, and session lengths in the EMEA gaming vertical to gain insight into current user behavior and patterns.
In 2022, installs will exceed pandemic levels
Gaming installs in EMEA increased significantly in 2021 by an astounding 18% year on year. Although install growth slowed slightly in the first half of 2022, numbers are still significantly higher than the COVID-19-driven surge of 2020. Installs increased by 13% in H1 2022 compared to the 2020 average and by 20% compared to H1 2021.
January has consistently been the best month in EMEA for gaming apps. In January 2021, gaming installs were 13% higher than the yearly average, and installs in January 2022 were 18% higher than the H1 2022 average.
Educational games experienced the greatest year-over-year growth in H1 2022, with installs increasing by a whopping 169%. Simulator installs increased 22% year on year in H1 2022, followed by the board (21%), arcade (16%), and card (14%).Related reading: 2022 Mobile Game Audience Research: How To Boost your Game Download?
Hypercasual games are still flying
When we look at installs by sub-vertical for 2020, 2021, and H1 2022 combined, we can see that gaming categories dominate in EMEA. Hypercasual had the highest install volume (34%), followed by action (11%), puzzle (10%), and casual and sports (8%).Related reading: Game Market Trend In 2022: Are Hyper-Casual Games Still Growing?
Sessions will be reduced as lockdowns end in 2022
Gaming sessions in EMEA grew at a slower rate than installs, increasing by only 2% between 2020 and 2021. However, sessions were down 10% in H1 2022 compared to the 2021 average. A combination of factors, including the end of COVID-19 restrictions and rising inflation, may be causing EMEA gamers to log fewer sessions. In terms of sessions, January performed similarly to installs—January 2021 was 8% higher than the yearly average, and January 2022 was 9% higher than the H1 2022 average.
While overall gaming sessions in EMEA decreased in H1 2022, sessions in many sub-verticals increased significantly. Racing game sessions increased by 133% year on year in H1 2022, followed by educational games (104%), arcades (31%), sports (11%), and cards (5%).
Action game sessions are the best
When we look at gaming sessions by sub-vertical in EMEA for 2020, 2021, and H1 2022 combined, we see that action takes the most sessions (21%), followed by puzzle (14%), sports (11%), and hyper-casual (10%).
The desire for adventure and sports games skyrockets
Session lengths decreased slightly in H1 2022 compared to H1 2021 overall but increased in many sub-verticals. From 2021 to H1 2022, adventure, sports, and trivia had the highest average session length growth rates. Adventure increased from 29.52 to 30.07 minutes per session, sports increased from 20.98 to 21.63 minutes, and trivia increased from 12.86 to 13.19 minutes. In H1 2022, EMEA gamers spent the most time playing role-playing games, clocking an average of 38.02 minutes.
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EMEA mobile game marketers' winning strategies
On average, EMEA consumers appear to spend less time playing mobile games; however, sustained install growth suggests that users are continuing to explore, download, and play a variety of games. Here are some of the best ways to attract more high-value players, increase user engagement, and increase revenue in your mobile game in 2023:
Localization is important.
Languages, cultures, and landscapes vary across EMEA, and localization ensures that your game is relevant and immersive for all players. According to Google Games' Mobile Insights Report, 76% of mobile players in EMEA believe that localization is critical. This is especially evident in the Middle East.
to view the app localization guide.
Begin by translating your app store description for your intended market. This is critical because the app store is where 36% of mobile players in EMEA discover new games. The next step is to localize the in-app messaging. If you have the budget, you should also consider localizing your ads—36% of EMEA players discover upcoming games through ads in other mobile games.
Spend money on rewarded video ads.
According to a mobile gaming report, 78% of mobile gamers in EMEA prefer rewarded video ads to those without, and 71% prefer watching ads for in-game incentives to making in-app purchases. 33% of survey respondents said they remember video ads better than other formats. Furthermore, this advertising format positively impacts publishers, advertisers, and users. Publishers can earn money from rewarded video ads, advertisers can reach their target audience, and users get a better gaming experience and more chances to advance in-game.
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Use app analytics to improve the performance of your game.
The number of mobile games available in app stores continues to grow rapidly, and the gaming industry remains as competitive as ever. Users have high expectations because there are so many games to choose from. To differentiate themselves, marketers and developers must use app analytics solutions such as Appranking
to gain clear, concise visibility into what's working and what isn't across all campaigns and channels. You can make the right marketing decisions to drive the growth of your mobile game if you can quickly gain insights and identify trends such as changes in user behavior.