Mobile Gaming App Engagement

Mobile Gaming App Engagement by Gender: Females Play and Pay

By Tara Verma | August 28, 2018

Liftoff’s 2018 Mobile Gaming Apps Report examines the latest user acquisition trends and benchmarks to assist gaming app marketers. While engagement with gaming apps is strong overall, the differences between genders may surprise you.


Costs and Conversion Rates

Although the stereotypical gamer is often assumed to be male, a comparison of acquisition costs and engagement rates reveals males cost more and engage less than females.

While marginal differences in install costs ($3.66 for males and $3.84 for females) would indicate males are the bargain, a closer examination of conversion rates crowns females as the most valuable gamers.

Gaming Apps Costs & Conversions by Gender-02

Take the middle-funnel stage of Registration. At $7.51, females cost 20.2% less than males to acquire. Even better, the conversion rates for females are 26% higher than for males. In-app purchases, the holy grail for app marketers, are also a stage where differences between males and females point to massive opportunity. At 16.7%, the install-to-purchase rate for females is 79% higher than for males, a long way from the conversion rates that Liftoff observed in 2017 (9.39% for females and 7.16% for males). Overall, the female demographic is evolving into both power users and super-in-app-purchasers.


Females are a premium user segment, so app marketers should open the aperture of how they view and pursue them. A good place to start is considering noteworthy differences between genders, such as preferences. Game analytics consultancy DeltaDNA observes that “women have a strong preference for puzzle games, while men prefer strategy and action games.”

Games research firm Newzoo’s recent data shows “women are playing more than ever before,” meaning more opportunities to engage them with effective campaigns. However, these opportunities aren’t being taken—yet. It may be that app marketers are focused on getting back money invested in strategy and action games which target males. These are far more expensive and complex to maintain than the puzzle games preferred by females. Perhaps app marketers, surprised by the shift in gaming behavior, have yet to adapt to females playing in unprecedented numbers.

Mobile Gaming is Mainstream

The Opportunity

Either way, app marketers could be leaving money on the table. A recent study of gender in mobile gaming reveals that of the top 100 grossing games on Google Play, the vast majority of icons feature male characters. No wonder 60% of women who play mobile games believe most games are not made for them. The report concludes that “although women prefer mobile games more than men, the mobile gaming world has a long way to go before it’s truly inclusive.”

There is a strong bias against female players that could be costing app marketers a bundle. From icons to creatives, reviewing assets to ensure they have what it takes to acquire and convert females could be a major game changer for gaming mobile app marketers.

The 2018 Mobile Gaming Apps report equips gaming app marketers with what you need to make data-informed decisions, ensuring you acquire audiences that are both high-value and highly profitable. The report draws from Liftoff internal data from June 2017 through May 2018, spanning 47 billion ad impressions across 15 million app installs.