Mobile Gaming

App Store Optimization: Keywords of the Year in Gaming Revealed

Donny Kristianto

What were mobile gamers searching for in 2021?’s State of Mobile Gaming 2022 report reveals the year's top keywords across 18 markets

There are around a million games available on iOS. This can make organic discovery a needle-in-a-haystack scenario. So it's no wonder mobile game publishers pay so much attention to keyword strategy. Having a sense of what users are searching for can make a big difference to your download numbers. 

In's State of Mobile Gaming 2022 report, we have expanded our keyword data to include the year's top gaming search terms across 18 countries on the iOS App Store. The results offer much food for thought.

The first point to note is how frequently consumers still search by the generic terms 'game', 'games' or 'gaming'. One might think that after 15 years of App Store searching, users would know where to look for the latest game releases. Yet, people still seem to prefer the search box.’s data shows these generic terms ranked in the top 3 across 8 countries in 2022.

So what did these non-specific searches yield? Well, there's an interesting regional split. In many western markets, typing in 'game' brings up a hypercasual or casual title (US – Project Makeover, Canada - Hair Challenge, Australia - Run Rich 3D, France and Germany - Subway Surfers). In APAC markets, the results skew towards core games (Vietnam and Thailand - Arena of Valor, India - Battlegrounds Mobile India, China - Honour of Kings).

The other generic terms to feature prominently were 'car games', 'driving' and even 'mobile' and 'online'. One can only imagine what consumers using the latter two terms were searching for. But for the record, mobile's top result was Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (Indonesia) while ‘online’ elicited Raft Survival: Ocean Nomad – Simulator (Vietnam).

Elsewhere, gamers used generic terms that were more a little more specific. The words 'restaurant', 'cooking', 'pizza', 'golf and 'car/carro' all featured frequently across the listings.

ROBLOX Ends the Year as Easily the Most Searched for Mobile Game

Then there were the specific title searches. Perhaps unsurprisingly the leading branded search term was for ROBLOX. The game had a stunning 2021, ranking #1 by consumer spend, #3 by downloads and #2 by average MAU (second only to PUBG Mobile). Not to mention, ROBLOX’s success continued into 2022, with lifetime consumer spend surpassing $4.5 billion. In fact, more than 77% of ROBLOX’s lifetime spend was generated in only the last 2 years. In's State of Mobile Gaming 2022 report, it appears in the top 3 search terms in 10 country charts. And there's no discernible regional split. It's top in Germany, Mexico and Thailand.

While “Roblox” was easily the most searched branded keyword for games, others that appear occasionally include “PUBG”, “Minecraft”, “Arena of Valor”, “Free Fire”, “Among Us”, “Clash Royale” and “Ludo King”. This illustrates the power of search for user acquisition — gamers across the world are seeking out specific titles. This presents both offensive and defensive options for paid search ads — a way to capitalize on this search traffic, in addition to App Store Optimization

It's worth noting that none of the year's big hypercasual hits – High Heels, Bridge Race, Hair Challenge etc – appear in the chart.

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April 8, 2022

Mobile Gaming

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