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Gaming should be an enjoyable experience, and finding something to play shouldn’t be frustrating. But an average of 88% of total global mobile gamers (84% in the US) have experienced at least one friction point when looking for a game to install and play. This is according to a recent study [summary page with report download] by Facebook IQ.

Of the top five friction points that can lead to drop-off at the discovery stage, 7 in 10 respondents identified poor ad quality as their top issue. This is followed closely by ads with misdirected links to the destination page (67%) and irrelevant ads/offers (66%).

But when it comes to using the app on a continuous basis, 80% of American gamers say that having too many in-app ads will put them off from playing. Some three-quarters also say that glitches are a cause of frustration, with an almost identical proportion saying phone load time will cause them to quit. These are issues that need to be addressed, especially given the difficulty with mobile app user retention.

The report covers three stages that are required to gain – and retain – a mobile gaming user. Following discovery is installation and then the post-installation experience. Here are some key findings.

For Discovery, Unskippable Ads Sometimes Worse Than Bad Ads

The report highlights some regional differences across the markets surveyed. While US mobile gaming app users are mostly put off by low-quality ads, the most common complaint in Taiwan is that they can’t skip the ads they encounter.

While neither represents a good experience, it indicates marketers should be aware of the cultural context when reaching mobile gamers in foreign markets.

At Installation, Descriptions and Size Matter

Overall, the most common complaint that will stop gamers from installing an app is that it simply does not look interesting enough (70%). This is the top complaint for Japan, Germany and Taiwan.

In the US and Indonesia, descriptions matter, as some 76% of Americans and 77% of Indonesians list this as a top reason for not installing a game.

But for developing markets where data costs can be prohibitive, size becomes more of an issue. Some 63% of Brazilian gamers would avoid a title based on this.

For Use, Game Quality Matters

After installation, the most common refrain (75%) from US gamers is that they simply find the game type irrelevant. An almost identical percentage (74%) cite they have concerns around privacy and security, while 7 in 10 report the experience was different from what was shown in the ad.

Having to create an account can also put gamers off, with 59% of the global average citing this as a friction point leading to drop-off.

A factor to consider when moving into the install stage of mobile games is the ease in payment for the app. Gamers in the US overwhelming prefer a trial version of games with nearly half choosing to have the first 30 days for free before needing to pay for the app over other versions. Other countries with the same preference include Germany (43%), India (39%) and Indonesia (40%).

Conversely, up-front payments for games was the least favorite version of paid apps across all countries. Only 5% of gamers in the US prefer this type of app. The same percentage of gamers in India share this same preference. Only Japan had a higher percentage of preference for up-front payment but even then only 8% of Japanese gamers chose this version.

To find out more, you can find the report here.

About the Data: A total of 3,200 people ages 18-54, who had downloaded a mobile game app in the past three months, were surveyed by GFK on behalf of Facebook. Data was collected in June 2018 across eight countries (Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the US).

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