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iOS Users Spent $1 Billion in Social Casino Apps Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Says New Report from Liftoff and GameRefinery


The report also shows a 10% spike in cost-per-install on iOS following Apple’s IDFA privacy regulations

PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Liftoff, one of the world’s largest independent and privacy-friendly platforms fueling the entire mobile app growth cycle across user acquisition, engagement, monetization, and analytics, along with GameRefinery, a mobile games insight and analytics platform, today released its mobile social casino apps report, revealing unique trends in the mobile market. The report reveals record spend in social casino during the height of the pandemic, as well as shifts in platform engagement following Apple’s privacy regulations and key insights into the value of global regions.

This data draws on more than 83 billion ad impressions and 1.1 billion clicks across 12 million installs and 239 apps between August 1, 2020 and August 1, 2021, to find:

iOS users spent nearly $1 billion on casino apps during the peak of the pandemic

As the pandemic drove a decrease in foot traffic to in-person casinos, social casino titles hit the jackpot. Many consumers took to a new habit of online social casino games, which offer a gambling-like experience without the stakes. According to the report, iOS users in the U.S. spent a record $990 million in social casino apps during the height of the pandemic, Q3 2020 to Q2 2021. Even as vaccinations increased in the U.S. and real casinos in key states were already reopened, the success of social casino didn’t slow down. By Q2 2021, quarterly profits reached a new high of more than $260 million — a particular feat, as the category’s U.S. market share had dropped year-over-year, from 19.43% in Q3 2020 to 18.89% in Q2 2021.

Interestingly, social casino users are older than every other gaming genre — more than half are over 45. The user base is also split about 50/50 men and women, showing that the gaming category has broad appeal.

“As we examine the effects the pandemic has had on gaming, it’s no surprise casino apps are soaring in popularity around the globe,” said Joel Julkunen, Head of Game Analytics of GameRefinery. “Since we are seeing more movement in this market, it’s vital for mobile marketers and developers in this vertical to use these insights to inform long-term strategies.”

Apple kills the IDFA, leading Android to win this round of the “Platform Wars”

Amid Apple’s recent IDFA policy changes, the report sees Android edging out iOS as the leading platform for casino apps. As marketers adjusting to the post-IDFA landscape shifted their ad spend habits, cost-per-install (CPI) on iOS increased to 9.9% year-over-year, up to $11.09. Meanwhile, Android CPIs dropped 13.7% between August 2020 and August 2021, widening the affordability gap for Android — iOS install costs are now 122% higher than that of Android, compared to 2020’s 74%.

The report also shows Android edging out the competition in return-on-ad-spend (ROAS). While iOS takes the early lead over Android, Android pulls ahead 1.9% by Day 30.

Regional: Bet Big, Win Big

While North America (NAR) shows great engagement, reaching those engaged users comes at a cost. At $10.37, CPIs are the highest of all global regions. Asia-Pacific (APAC), meanwhile, offers a CPI half that of NAR, at $5.68. The regions aren’t far off on 30-day ROAS, with NAR (26.47%) only slightly outperforming APAC (21.8%). Marketers looking for great value may want to consider expanding their sights to gamers in APAC, as the up-and-coming market shows great promise.

For more details on Liftoff+Vungle and to download the full report, visit LINK.


The 2021 Social Casino Report draws from Liftoff+Vungle and GameRefinery’s internal data from August 1, 2020 and August 1, 2021 — which spans 83 billion ad impressions, 1.1 billion clicks across 239 different apps, 12 million installs and 39 million events to deliver ad performance insights to show how marketers can get the most out of their games.

About Liftoff

Liftoff is a complete mobile app marketing platform that helps companies acquire and retain high-quality mobile app users at scale. Liftoff uses prediction intelligence and unbiased ML to find engaged users at scale for mobile app marketers, creative testing to deliver the most engaging ad experience and a unique cost per revenue model to optimize for LTV goals. Liftoff is proud to be a long-term partner to leading brand advertisers and app publishers since 2012. Headquartered in Redwood City, Liftoff has a global presence with offices in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Berlin, London, Paris, Singapore, Seoul, and Tokyo.

About GameRefinery

GameRefinery is the leading provider of feature-level data in the mobile games market, with an ever-growing database covering hundreds of thousands of games. GameRefinery’s customers include leading mobile games companies such as Zynga, Wargaming, King, and FunPlus. The GameRefinery platform uses unique algorithms and a team of expert analysts to help developers, investors, and publishers delve into the very building blocks of mobile games to uncover the drivers behind success, to understand why games are successful, and how to achieve the same from pre-production to LiveOps.



Media Contact: Liftoff
Merrita Llarena

Account Manager

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