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The average cost to acquire a mobile game user plummeted this year

Liftoff: But the cost to convert that user into a paying player has been on the rise over the last two years

Mobile gaming user acquisition costs have plummetted year-over-year, but the cost to turn an installed user into a paying one has shot up.

According to Liftoff's 2020 Mobile Gaming Apps Report, the cost to acquire a user now averages out to $1.47 per user -- down 66% from $4.37 last year.

The cost to get a user to register in a game has dropped too, from $9.17 last year to $5.72 on average per user.

However, the cost to convert to a paying user rose to $43.88 on average per user, up from $35.42 last year and $28.05 the year before that.

Broken down, it's far cheaper to acquire an Android user -- $0.89, while iOS users are pricier at $3.09. However, the report indicates that both platforms have roughly the same return on investment, with 30-day ROA at 36% for Android and 37% for iOS.

Looking further at the cost to acquire a user versus return on investment, Latin America has the lowest acquisition cost at $0.44, but also the lowest return on investment after 30 days at 31%.

EMEA users cost on average $1.67 to acquire, and give the second-highest ROA, 38%. North America has second-highest cost to acquire and middling ROA, while the Asia-Pacific region is the highest for both: 39% ROA with $3.14 average cost per install.

That said, North Americans are significantly easier to retain. While global user retention after day one is 32% and drops to 3% by Day 30, in North America, these numbers are 34% retention after day one and 4% by Day 30, significantly higher than other regions and lifting up the global average.

More insights by genre and region are available in the full Liftoff report.

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Rebekah Valentine

Senior Staff Writer

Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.