If you’re on a video game marketing team in 2024, trying to cost-effectively acquire players so you can meet growth targets is a bit like chasing shadows with a butterfly net. There’s no question that marketing strategies have grown more sophisticated and tools more elaborate. And yet, many studios are struggling to scale their beyond their existing player base.

Why is growth so elusive in this technology-rich environment? For most marketing teams, it isn’t a lack of solutions, but rather an abundance of options. Numerous vendors offer audience acquisition technology. Almost all of them take a different approach to the same problem, but not all strategies align with each team’s specific needs. And frankly, many of them are simply leveling the playing field — not raising the game. Trying each one out, only to find out it isn’t the right fit, equals a costly at-bat for most teams. So, many wind up either copying their competition, or sticking with an underperforming solution.

These solutions take a few different forms: they help you understand player psychology and resonance, launch and optimize campaigns, develop personalized creative, and broadly understand your audience. Which approach is the best option for your team? In our step by step guide to expand your flagship title’s audience for maximum growth we’ve discussed how to effectively and predictably grow the audience of your live game. In this article, we unpack 10 of the top tools helping studios to best grow their audience and increase market share.

Audience and Market Intelligence Tools

1. Data.ai

Data.ai, formerly known as App Annie, is a comprehensive market intelligence tool providing app rankings, usage data, and market analysis for competitive analysis and market trend identification. Its strengths lie in delivering detailed market insights and performance benchmarking, which help businesses understand industry trends and competitors. However, its high cost can be prohibitive for small studios, and the steep learning curve might be challenging for new users. Moreover, while it offers a broad overview of market trends, it lacks actionable, player-specific data that can be crucial for targeted marketing strategies.

Read our full comparison of Data.ai vs. Solsten here.

2. Game Refinery

Game Refinery specializes in game feature analysis, focusing on feature trends, genre-specific insights, and market data to support game development and market positioning. It excels in providing detailed insights into successful game features and genre trends. Referencing successful features or mechanics in popular games can provide inspiration for game teams but trend following can be risky. Game Refinery does not delivery insights as to why the features or mechanics are popular.

3. Quantic Foundry

Quantic Foundry focuses on delivering insights using its gamer motivation model. While the company has a well-established presence in the player motivations space, their reliance on a fixed motivational model and less advanced technology may limit their ability to fully capture the complexity and diversity of player motivations across different game contexts.

Develop Personalized Creative

4. Dynamic Yield

Dynamic Yield is a personalization and experience optimization platform that promotes AI-powered recommendations, A/B testing, and adaptive personalization to impact the customer journey. It’s has extensive integration capabilities, making it ideal for boosting engagement and conversions across multiple channels. However, the high cost and setup complexity does impact efficacy of the platform.

5. Braze

Braze is a customer engagement and marketing platform offering multichannel marketing campaigns, personalized user engagement, and automated workflows. It allows companies to personalize messaging across various channels and supports a number of automation features. Like many personalization tools, the setup is complex for small teams and the quality of the personalization is dependent on the quality of the input data. Braze is effective for user engagement but it does not offer a comprehensive solution for user acquisition.

6. Liftoff

Liftoff is a mobile ad optimization and monetization platform that uses programmatic ads, AI, in-app bidding, and creative studio capabilities to acquire high-quality users and maximize app revenue. Its ad delivery and campaign management are effective for engaging users and driving monetization. However, the complexity of managing its diverse features and the high cost for premium capabilities can be challenging.

Launch and Optimize Campaigns

7. AppLovin

AppLovin is a mobile ad network and monetization platform providing programmatic ads, mediation, and analytics. It is designed to help studios optimize ad revenue through programmatic ads and mediation across multiple networks. Like many automated ad platforms, setup can be complicated. Programmatic ads do not fully capture nuanced player preferences which limits true ad personalization.

8. Unity LevelPlay

Unity LevelPlay offers ad mediation, ad monetization, user-level reporting, and real-time bidding to maximize ad revenue. It integrates with Unity Ads and provides advanced mediation capabilities and user-level analytics. While it supports monetization efforts, its reporting functionality is limited to ad performance.

9. AppsFlyer

AppsFlyer is a mobile attribution and analytics tool providing attribution, analytics, and fraud prevention to track user acquisition sources and analyze ad campaign effectiveness. AppsFlyer is a leading MMP, well-known for the quality of its attribution analysis and real-time reporting. However, as data privacy measures continue to restrict the accuracy of attribution data, additional tools will be required to maximize ROI of advertising.

Understand Player Psychology and Resonance

10. Solsten

While traditional ad networks, monetization tools, and market intelligence products still have relevance in a modern marketing tech stack, companies like EA, Sony, Supercell, and Metacore are recognizing the limitations of simply measuring what their players and the market are doing today. Upstream from these aforementioned products lies the world’s largest database of psychographic data—delivering insights that enrich traditional market metrics, unpack the “why” behind the popularity of certain trends, empower game teams to deeply understand their target audience, and help marketing teams develop predictably resonant ad campaigns.

Understand Players at Their Core

Players are more than their purchase history, age, location, and in-game behavior. Solsten is the only technology capable of revealing the underlying psychology of the players attracted to your game. Through machine learning, we identify the core needs that your current audience (and even prospective audience) craves to fulfill through gaming.

Here’s a simple example, you’d like to attract more of a specific player segment that (according to your traditional data) has mid-to-high engagement and has made an in-game purchase beyond D30. Great, is this actionable data for your team? By enriching your player understanding with Solsten you’d know this player segment is motivated by collaborative competition and purpose, and they value friendship and family. What content or events could your team develop knowing there is a fundamental need for social connection and community? How could these insights impact creative direction for new ads?

Solsten gives you the actionable insights to keep players engaged long-term by fulfilling their deeper needs and desires. While data shows what people do, Solsten uncovers why they do it. This psychological understanding is the key to sustained growth and retention.

The Power of Psychological Player Segmentation

While competitors rely solely on demographic and gameplay data, Solsten groups players based upon psychological similarity, helping studios understand how much market potential their game has and what adjacent games, genres, IPs, brands, apps (and more) engage players with a similar psychological makeup.

With Solsten, you can finally personalize game experiences, promotions, and messaging to align with the psychological needs of each segment inside of your player base.


In a time where understanding the player is paramount, Solsten’s on-demand psychographic solution offers a distinct and invaluable advantage. With just behavioral, demographic, and purchase data, studios are left with enormous blindspots and remain dependent on A/B testing and guesswork to determine efficacy of new content, events, and advertising. The path to growth remains littered with wasted ad spend, killed ideas, low conversion rates, and missed opportunities to better engage and retain players. Scaling existing titles and creating value for a growing player base should be approached with psychological precision, not guesswork. In 2024, leading studios like EA, Sony, and Activision are turning to Solsten to identify new audiences to target, build predictably resonant ad campaigns, and design new content that allow for organic growth and virality.