Data Visualization: Where Do Gaming Installs Come From?

Find out which gaming categories, genres, and sub-genres are driving installs for your gaming app with our new tool.

For mobile advertisers, finding where your installs come from is key to improving user acquisition. Pre-ATT, mobile marketers could take attribution for granted. But the industry has changed, and data from cross-app tracking is now remarkably limited. In 2022, only about 20% of users opted into IDFA.

So what do gaming audiences look like? Or, more importantly—what does the audience for your app look like? As part of our deep dive into gaming in the 2024 Casual Gaming Apps Report, we closely examine the ad placements driving installs. Liftoff’s tool provides a snapshot of where gaming installs come from across different categories, genres and sub-genres.

Click on the category, genre or sub-genre levels to see how installs for each level break down.

Our Methodology 

Our visualization provides an aggregate view of the sources of installs across several gaming categories, genres and subgenres. The tool combines paid install data on Accelerate, Liftoff’s programmatic platform, between April 2023 to April 2024 with GameRefinery‘s industry-leading gaming taxonomy.

Analysis: What trends are we seeing across each level?  

GameRefinery taxonomy breaks down mobile games into four categories: casual, casino, mid-core, and sports & driving. Each category divides mobile games into different genres and more granular sub-genres.

Looking at casual gaming installs, we continued to see clear trends in the past year. Even as more hybrid and midcore games find success, most installs for casual games are still driven by other casual games. Sports & driving games are the second top driver of installs for casual games at a distant 5%. Casino games come in last at 2%.

For other gaming categories, casual games were consistently a top driver. Based on our sample, 74% of midcore installs came from ads shown in casual games. Other midcore games and sports and driving games were also notable drivers, at 10% and 13%, respectively. 

Casino games drove 2% of midcore installs.

Taking a more granular look at install sources for casual games, we see some changes in the top drivers from the past year.

Genre Drivers – Casual

Since they have a broad audience, hyper casual games remain a significant driver of installs across all genres at 29%. However, we do see their contribution decreasing YoY, likely because the genre is waning. Puzzle games, by contrast, drove 37% of casual game installs—a sign of their continued popularity. Simulation and lifestyle games deliver a notable share of installs, each contributing around 8% of total installs. 

Casino, sports, and driving games are more niche, each driving about 3% of total installs for casual games. 

If we dive into casual games by subgenre, we see that although casual games dominate in volume, they also attract a diverse audience. Breaking down total casual gaming installs by subgenre, we see that ads shown in puzzle genres represent a key driver:

Puzzle games (Hyper Casual, Match3, and other) drive nearly a third of all casual game installs. Non-puzzle hyper-casual genres, however, have fallen off as a top source of installs. 

Regardless of what type of game you’re attempting to scale, one thing is clear. Your ads need to appeal to what motivates players to try the game. One way to do this is by highlighting the features of your app that speak to different categories, genres and subgenres that drive your installs—this will help you target players on a larger scale. 

For further analysis, the latest trends in casual gaming, and a breakdown of cost and revenue benchmarks, download Liftoff’s 2024 Casual Gaming Apps Report.