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DISQO & AdColony: The Modern Mobile Gamer

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Millions of people play games on their smartphones every day, whether it be on their commute, while lounging at home, or in between errands. How can we truly understand this audience and why is it important for brands and advertisers? What can their behaviors reveal to the broader marketing community?

To answer these questions, AdColony, one of the largest mobile advertising platforms, partnered with DISQO to conduct a survey of 1,200 verified mobile users. The study revealed insights into the behaviors, preferences, and sentiments related to mobile gamers.

“With mobile use skyrocketing due to COVID-19 lockdowns that began in March, we wanted to put a spotlight on the mobile gaming channel, which has seen as much as a 62% uptick in time-spent. Many advertisers and agencies that previously ignored this channel are now taking notice and paying attention, so we wanted to share data-based insights about this audience. Most people don’t self identify as gamers, and you can’t just ask ‘Are you a gamer?. You have to dive deeper into their habits to truly understand.” – Jonathan Harrop, Sr. Director of Global Marketing and Communications at AdColony

Contrary to popular belief, there is no “typical” gamer — in fact, the data confirms a 50/50 split in gender and interest among all age groups, not just young people. It also shows that even people with significantly higher education and incomes are engaging with mobile games.

“As media plans are being adjusted to account for the massive increase in digital media consumption this year, a deeper understanding of the users and interests of mobile gamers is critical,” said Ted Bouzakis, EVP of Research & Insights, DISQO. “82% of people overall say they would like to see relevant ads while only 54% claim brands are delivering on that desire. Meeting consumers’ needs starts by listening to them through great research. With this new study, DISQO and AdColony are empowering brands to understand mobile gamers so they can deliver ads that are relevant to this diverse and rapidly growing community.”

The report uncovers a multitude of insights into the types of mobile games consumers turn to the most (Puzzle & Word), why they play (entertainment, relaxation, and to kill time), and what other tasks they’re involved with simultaneously (watching TV).

Here are some highlights from the study:

  • Nearly one-half (49%) of the American population plays mobile games once or several times a day. 16% play weekly and 13% play monthly.
  • 53% of consumers between 35 and 54 play daily
  • 49% of those who play daily are women
  • Among those with higher education: some postgrad (54%) and master’s (51%) have higher rates of daily mobile gaming than the population at large
  • 7 out of 10 mobile users “sometimes” or “always” multitask while playing games, and watching TV is the most common other activity (60%), followed by listening to music (46%) and eating or cooking (38%).
  • Puzzle and Word games are most popular, with the highest use among all age groups, and both genres skew female over male.
  • When asked for their preference, 9 out of 10 respondents said they would choose to watch an ad to get rewards like in-game currency over paying for the same perk.

“We are well past the days of buyers thinking that a mobile gamer falls into the old stereotype of a video gamer – and some of this data, such as the gender split and broad age groups, is further confirmation of that,” said Matt Barash, SVP Strategy and Business Development, AdColony. “What’s most interesting is how we can now see that audiences with high levels of household income and education levels gravitate toward this channel and highlight the types of games that various groups of people are playing. These insights are what advertisers need to feel confident they will reach their target customers within the mobile gaming channel.”

Learn more about mobile gamers by visiting

Interested in conducting a study of your own? Contact DISQO for more information.

About the Study

The survey was conducted by DISQO and distributed online to a nationally representative sample of DISQO Audience members within the United States via the Survey Junkie platform, which is wholly owned by DISQO. The survey was taken on both desktop and mobile devices, garnering a total of 1,208 responses over a fourteen-day period in Q2 of 2020. As each respondent was a member of DISQO’s 100% first-party opt-in research audience, responses were verified against fraud and were compiled against known and validated demographic information, enabling a rich, cohorted analysis by age, gender, education level, household income, and more.

About AdColony

AdColony is one of the largest mobile advertising platforms in the world with a reach of more than 1.5 billion monthly users globally. AdColony’s mission is to drive business outcomes that matter for advertisers and publishers using its best-in-class mobile technology, the highest-quality mobile ad experiences and leveraging its curated reach. AdColony is known throughout the mobile industry for its unparalleled third-party verified viewability rates, exclusive Instant-Play™ and Aurora™ HD video technologies, rich media formats, global performance advertising business, programmatic marketplace, and extensive SDK footprint in the Top 1000 apps worldwide.

DISQO’s greatest advantage is the opportunity to peek into behavior behind the forbidden “walled gardens’’ by using their identity-based platform instead of using 3rd party cookies to capture ad exposure.”

Bruce Williams

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