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Developers from around the world have found that during Ramadan they see an increase in activity from people in the many countries where the holy month is observed. This provides a significant opportunity to engage with players from the Muslim world.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It’s observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection, and engaging with the community. As the Muslim calendar is lunar, the dates of Ramadan in the Western calendar vary. In 2023, Ramadan starts on March 22 and finishes on April 20. The end of Ramadan is marked by Eid al-Fitr on April 21, 2023, a national holiday in 19 countries.
During Ramadan, people abstain from food and drink from dawn to sunset to cleanse the soul and practice self-restraint and control. They also stay at home more and work less, meaning they often have more free time. This behavior results in higher digital activity in many countries, often focusing on games. For example, according to eMarketer, 44% of Indonesians choose online gaming as their preferred digital activity in the first week of Ramadan.
The market is also significant. According to Newzoo in 2021, Islamic Asian & Middle Eastern countries (ID/MY/PK/BD/SA/TR/UAE/EG) generated $4.32 billion in mobile revenue and had about 300 million mobile players.
On Google Play we have seen a 20% YoY growth in people who spend on games in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. When we look at the effect of Ramadan (2022) we see that compared to the 31 days before Ramadan games show a:
In 2020, we noticed a higher growth, which was most likely driven by Covid lockdowns.
Looking at regional performance, in Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Pakistan during Ramadan:
In Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar during Ramadan:
Therefore, looking for ways to engage with players from the Muslim world during Ramadan has the potential to be rewarding.
Optimizing your player engagement during Ramadan starts with getting the basics right. Then look for ways to give your players something extra and put promotion in place, so players know what you’re offering.
Before you can engage with players over Ramadan, you need to ensure that they can find your game and use it to its full extent. So:
The best way to engage with players during Ramadan is to offer them something extra during the month. For example:
When you do something special for Ramadan, make sure your audience knows about it. So, in addition to in-game promotion, consider:
Tip: Through all of these activities be mindful that players are fasting during Ramadan, so avoid showing food and beverages.
These initiatives achieved a 20% increase in average session time per user and a 12% increase in subscription revenues during Ramadan.
Following the success in 2020, they created a Ramadan-themed package in 2021 called Stars and Moons. The theme pack contained an Islam Theme Frame, Tome of Knowledge, Dazzling Starlight Sculpture, and other items. The package name and items reinforced the connection to Ramadan. For example, the crescent moon and stars are important symbols in Islam, with the new moon’s crescent signifying the beginning and end of the fasting during Ramadan.
In 2021, these changes achieved a 15% increase in first-time downloads and a 6% increase in daily active users.
In 2021, these initiatives resulted in a 48% increase in IAP revenues and a 6% increase in daily active users during Ramadan.
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