Delynn Ho
Mar 12, 2019

Why women are the most valuable mobile gamers for advertisers

Gaming has long been thought of as a male-dominated pastime—but it’s time to call 'game over' on this outdated stereotype.

Why women are the most valuable mobile gamers for advertisers

With well over 2 billion people worldwide playing mobile games, it is clear that people of all demographics can be found in gaming apps. And for advertisers looking to get their money's worth, female gamers are the target audience of choice.

Everybody plays, but women play harder

Just as the mobile device has evolved, the digital games industry has changed along with it. The mobile gaming experience has come a long way from the days of playing Snake on a Nokia 6110 in 1997. 'Games' is now the most popular category in the App Store, with top mobile games easily surpassing 10 million downloads per month. This trajectile growth of the mobile gaming industry is in part accelerated by increased access to the Internet and affordable smartphones, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. A report by Newzoo predicted that the Asia-Pacific region will generate 52% of total global game revenues with the largest player base, far eclipsing other regions.

Everybody is playing mobile games these days. However, when people picture a gamer, the classic stereotype is of a young, teenage boy with just a small amount of disposable income. The truth, however, is completely different. The modern mobile gamer is a female aged 25 to 34 years old. The salaries of this audience are also high regardless of gender, with most mobile gamers in the U.S. earning more than $50,000 — and many earning more than $75,000.

While women make up most of the mobile gaming audience, they're also more engaged than their male counterparts. The statistics show that 60% of female users play mobile games daily compared to just 47% of male users. Female gamers are the dream demographic for advertisers: millennial, deeply engaged, and with high spending power. 

The missed opportunity for advertisers

Even though the stereotypes about gamers do not match the reality of today, many advertisers continue to purchase inventory based on outdated preconceptions. This is a wasted opportunity, as female gamers, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, are underserved when it comes to relevant advertisements within mobile games.

Another reason for this missed opportunity is that mobile games generally have been overlooked by advertisers. Even though 26% of consumers' total mobile time is dedicated to games, according to eMarketer, this category only accounts for 7% of total ad spending.

On the Smaato platform, we found more evidence of why female gamers should be thought of when launching advertising campaigns.

  • In the APAC region, females saw the majority of in-game ad impressions, with South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam having the highest share of ad impressions.
  • Click-through rates for females were also higher in the APAC region (particularly in India, South Korea, Malaysia, and Vietnam).

However, despite those positive numbers, advertisers are willing to pay 17% more to target men rather than women in mobile gaming apps. This is probably because of the age-old stereotype that men make up the majority of mobile gaming users.

All the numbers show that advertisers should be making a more concerted effort to cater their in-game campaigns to women. A survey from Google also reveals the advertising opportunity for targeting female gamers, as 60% of women say that playing games make them feel good. This positive, relaxed state of mind means that users will be far more receptive to advertising than if they were experiencing negative feelings.

Reaching the next level

Successful mobile advertisers know that it's best to reevaluate trends to find the next opportunities. This trend of women making up the majority of mobile gamers has been happening for a while now, but it remains overlooked by many. It's time to recognize that the mobile gaming world isn't just a man's world. Women are mobile gamers too, and it's time this fact rises above the old stereotypes of who is a gamer.

Delynn Ho is APAC vice president for supply at Smaato.


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