Social Casino Gaming Apps: A Look Back at 2021

Updated by Loren Oller verified symbol on January 06, 2023

The social casino app growth is due to the pandemic in the US where almost 1,000 land-based casinos had to close their doors due to lockdowns and social distancing. This pushed players to the social casino mobile gaming scene which saw a global gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $6.2 billion in 2020 alone. It’s expected that this figure will grow to reach $7.5 billion by 2026.

Liftoff and GameRefinery are experts in the mobile app marketing and data analysis fields. These companies compiled a report based on the figures for social casino gaming apps for 2021. Delving deeper into the industry and helping give insight to players and operators alike. 

2021 Social Casino Gaming Apps: Key Highlights

  • Revenue: iOS social casino apps alone generated almost $1 billion in revenue in the US over the forecasted period. However, despite this figure of success, the share of the app gaming market for social casinos dipped by one point when compared to 2020.
  • Cost: CPI (cost-per-install to the social casino operator) averages at $7.21 and reached the highest point in November at $7.63. Android installs offered the best value at $5 which is 2x less than iOS.
  • ROAS (Return on Ad Spend): Whilst ads can be annoying at the best of times, sometimes it pays to watch these at social casinos as players are often rewarded for doing so. Ads also mean big business for social casino operators and the study period averaged between 11.12% and 25.18% in returns. 

Why Are Social Casino Apps So Popular?

If you already play at social casinos then you’ll know the answer to this. The correct term for the fun factors is ‘motivational drivers’. The results probably aren’t surprising and this framework was created using data from a survey of over 7,000 people throughout English speaking countries. The 12 drivers used in the study were grouped based on nature, forming pairs or motivational groups:

  • Social - working with others and competing against other players
  • Expression - roleplay, emotions, customisation and decoration
  • Mastery - skill improvement and milestone completion 
  • Exploration - discovering new worlds and treasure collecting
  • Management - strategic planning and optimisation of resources
  • Escapism - thrill, excitement, thinking and solving

The Results

The player study was equally made up of 50% females and 50% males aged between 16 and 45+ and concluded that:

  • Social casino users are older than other genres of players, almost half fall into the 45+ category.
  • Players predominantly enjoy the competition element of social casino gaming apps, mostly within card games.
  • Players prefer thrilling games with the potential of a treasure collection. 

Android vs iOS Users

We all love our mobile devices and even more so when it comes to social casino gambling. Giving us free downloads, best first deposit bonus casino UK and a variety of casino apps for our favourite tablets and smartphones. 

But what about the cost to the operator to acquire your membership through a mobile? The study shows that prices overall have grown but with an increased gap between iOS and Android users. CPI’s (Cost-per-install) for iOS were 122% more than Androids. 

The cost to the operator for an Android user showed a decrease of 13.7% at $5. iOS costs increased by 9.9% in one year to $11.09 which operators link to the shift in ad spending habits.

What Makes a Winning Social Casino Game?

Data from the report revealed 5 distinguishing features of the top 100 social casino games:

  • Album collectables
  • Battle pass
  • Guild mechanics
  • Piggybank
  • Special side modes 

Analysis from 2021 showed that the most popular in-game mechanics are album collectables. These were used in 74 of the top 100 ranked games. Other features which also had a large impact on the figures were Battle Passes and Piggy Banks.

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Loren Oller
Author Loren Oller verified symbol
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I consider myself to be an avid guitar player, sports enthusiast, and a big fan of blackjack and social casinos. My task is pretty easy to resume.. make sure you are well informed on all US casinos that might interest you. I've been writing reviews based on my experiences for a while and I'm happy to say that my work will truly help you even if it's just by telling you the legal gambling laws of a state or the top games that are trending right now!
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