Which categories of iOS games have the lowest share of non-branded traffic? — the analytical company ASOdesk asked this question in its research. The figures were revealed as part of WN Winter’21. We share the material prepared on the basis of the speech.

Maria Chernoplekova and Yulia Sulyagina— ASOdesk 
In app stores, many users search for mobile games by brand.

For example, App Store users in Russia are more likely to type “Call of duty” (brand query) into the search than “shooting games” (non-brand query). How large is the share of such users, we decided to find out.

To do this, we collected a semantic core for 16 categories in 5 countries (USA, Russia, Germany, France and Spain), and then divided the search queries into branded and non-branded.

We also looked at the increase in ASA Popularity for 2020 compared to 2019. This is an official indicator that helps to assess the popularity of search queries inside Search Ads in the App Store.

Since the fact that users often resort to brand queries complicates search engine optimization and publishers’ entry into the market (newcomers have to compete with strong brands), we believe that the article will help find new niches or choose a strategy for ASO promotion of the game.

A general study of five countries

To compare the ratio of branded and non-branded traffic in different countries, we will analyze monthly impressions for all categories of games in the USA, Russia, Germany, France and Spain.

On the vertical axis is the average number of impressions by country in January 2021, calculated using Daily Impressions in ASOdesk.

We see that in the USA the largest amount of non—branded traffic is about 45 million requests. In other countries, the total number of impressions per month is much less.

In the USA, Germany and France, there is approximately the same percentage of branded and non-branded search traffic. Branded search queries predominate in Russia (about 57%) and Spain (about 62%).

Let’s look at the number and percentage of branded and non-branded traffic in 16 app categories for each country.


In the USA, the most popular game categories are action (almost 20 million impressions per month) and adventure (about 10 million impressions).

The ASA Popularity index (an indicator of the popularity of requests in the App Store) increased by more than 40% in the categories: action, family, racing and simulators.

Pay attention to the growing popularity of games of all categories. This trend can be traced not only in the USA, but also in Germany, France, Spain. In many ways, the growth of user activity in the mobile market was due to the coronavirus.

More than 3 million impressions for non-branded queries in the categories: casino, family, card, word, racing and sports. In these games, more than 58% of search traffic comes from non-branded queries.

Such games are most suitable for search engine optimization in the App Store. However, when choosing a category and promotion strategy, study the competitors in your niche. In addition to high demand, there may also be high competition in the category, which will complicate promotion.

There are most brand requests in action, adventure, strategy, simulation. However, action and adventure games also have a large amount of non-branded traffic — more than 3 million requests. To get downloads from the search in such games, you need to invest in the development of the game brand. For search engine promotion in these categories, it is worth using low-frequency queries that are not related to the brand. For example, the long-tail query “shooting games without the Internet”, which receives 196 impressions per day.


Analysis of search queries shows that branded search traffic in gaming applications dominates in Russia. Most often, users search for games of the action and casino categories.

In the categories of family & kids, card, casual, strategy, puzzle, more than 57% of non-brand requests, they have more than 700 thousand impressions. Pay attention to casino games. There is less non-brand traffic in them as a percentage, but this category leads in the number of non-brand requests: there are about 1.58 million of them. Games of the listed categories are suitable for promotion through the App Store.

Action, adventure, RPG, simulation-games will have to compete with strong competitors in the search, since more than 70% of brand queries are in these categories.


We see an interesting trend in the growth of the popularity of queries in Germany. In 2020, the ASA Populaity of casino games grew by 79%. An increase of 24% is also observed in games of the following categories: card, racing, trivia and strategy. The popularity of the word category decreased slightly, by 3%.

If branded traffic prevails in Russia, then in Germany, on the contrary, there is more non-branded traffic.

More than 59% of non-brand requests in the categories: casino, board, family & kids, card, music, word, racing, puzzle. Each of these categories is shown in the search from 130 thousand times, which means that it is easier to start search promotion in them.

More than 60% of branded traffic in action, RPG, adventure, strategy games. It is more difficult for publishers of such applications to move forward in the search.


In France, the ASA Popularity Trend index for the categories: family & kids, puzzle, casino increased by 26-30%. The popularity of the RPG category has decreased by 8%.

More than 60% of non-brand traffic is in the categories: racing, card, word, board, family & kids, casino. According to non-brand queries, these games are shown in the search more than 100 thousand times. Racing games are in the lead — almost 400 thousand impressions.

Brand requests prevail in adventure, action, simulation, trivia, RPG, strategy games. Note that in the adventure and action categories there is also a large amount of non—brand traffic – more than 150 thousand impressions. This means that search engine optimization in the App Store of such applications can be successful if you select non-branded and low-frequency queries.


Action games are popular in Spain: they have almost 600 thousand impressions per month. There is a noticeable increase in the popularity of queries by 20-30% in the categories board, sports, simulation, puzzle, card, strategy.

Available niches for promotion in the search: board, racing, family & kids, sport and word. They contain from 55% of non-brand queries used to search for more than 50 thousand. once a month.

Brand requests prevail in action, casino, puzzle, adventure, trivia, RPG, music and strategy games.


  1. In the countries considered, users most often search for games of the action category. Only in France, these games are slightly inferior in search traffic to the adventure category.
  2. If you want to launch a new game, pay attention to the family category — non-brand requests in this category from 55% in the USA, Russia, Germany, France and Spain. We also see from 55% of non-brand queries in the card and word categories in 4 countries and in the racing and board categories in 3 countries. In all countries, these categories occupy one of the leading positions in the number of non-brand queries. It will be easier for gaming applications of these categories to advance in the App Store, since they will not have to compete with strong brands. Your game will be able to receive impressions for general search queries.
  3. Search engine optimization will not be enough to promote games of the categories action, adventure, strategy, simulation. Brand traffic on them is more than 60% in 4-5 of the countries we considered. However, in the USA and Germany, action and adventure games have a large number of impressions for non-branded queries, which facilitates their promotion in the App Store. If you promote games in these categories, don’t expect quick results, it will take time for users to remember the new brand. Be ready to invest in the development of social networks, advertising, working with bloggers and other marketing channels that will increase the awareness of your game.