New Google report suggests a delicate balance when it comes to in-game advertising

33 percent of gamers react positively to in-game advertising, but 43 percent quit a game with too many ads

New Google report suggests a delicate balance when it comes to in-game advertising

A new Google report has delved into the state of the puzzle genre on mobile devices.

The report found that 45 percent of puzzle players discover new games through app stores, while 44 percent find games through in-game advertising and 42 percent through ads on social media. Although no other form of user acquisition attracts more than 40 percent of the audience, 39 percent of puzzlers discover new games through recommendations from friends and family, suggesting the importance of positive word of mouth as an user acquisition method.

Ads within puzzle games have no effect, or even a positive effect, on players, with the report stating that players are “at least moderately interested in the content of the ads they see.” 33 percent of gamers report a positive reaction to in-game advertising, with 10 percent reporting a very positive reaction. A further 40 percent report a neutral reaction to in-game advertising. Of the 27 percent reporting negative reaction, only 7 percent report a very negative reaction. Part of this difference in player reactions is potentially due to the prevalence of rewarded ads in the genre, with players gaining bonuses such as extra lives or in-game currency for watching ads without needing to make purchases.

However, in terms of retention, advertising is cited as an important factor, with 43 percent of puzzle gamers reporting quitting a game due to too many ads. This suggests that game makers need to strike a delicate balance with advertising to avoid turning away consumers.

Crossing the threshold

Google separates gamers based on spending and engagement. 22 percent of puzzle players are what it calls passive players - those at the lower end of the scale in terms of both spend and engagement. The percentage drops to 13 percent with the next group, tentative players, before increasing to 18 percent for influenced players, who sit at the middle of the scale.

Playful explorers, make up the largest percentage of the genre’s audience with 30 percent, with connective enthusiasts, the most valuable gamers with the highest spend and engagement, make up 17 percent.

This data suggests that the puzzle genre has issues when it comes to encouraging players to cross the vital threshold and become engaged, paying consumers, with percentages dropping 9 percent before growing again as engagement and spend increases.

76 percent of puzzle gamers reported preregistering for games, with 17 percent doing so often and 34 percent doing so sometimes. A quarter of all puzzle gamers only do so on occasion, while the remaining 24 percent never pre register. Discounts or sales are cited as the most important factor for gamers who preregister at 48 percent, followed by 46 percent who want to play the game as soon as possible and 45 percent who do so for exclusive in-game content. Despite the fact that numerous companies specialising in the puzzle genre, such as King, are among the most successful mobile game makers of all time, only 32 percent of gamers report a proven track record in the genre as an important factor in the decision to preregister.

 Last month, we reported that Google is being sued by India's antitrust regulator.

Staff Writer

Lewis Rees is a journalist, author, and escape room enthusiast based in South Wales. He got his degree in Film and Video from the University of Glamorgan. He's been a gamer all his life.