Churn is a dirty word in mobile apps and games. It refers to users who don’t come back. And mobile gaming analytics firm Soomla has found that some game advertisements can cause up to three times as much churn, or loss of users, as others.  It also found that advertising the games of direct competitors isn’t as damaging as you might expect.

Soomla did a study of advertising effects on 4 Pics 1 Word, a casual mobile puzzle game made by Germany’s Lotum. The game is available in eight languages and it is one of the top word games in the charts. Soomla analyzed advertisements for different games within the Lotum game, and then evaluated the effect the ads had on the users.

Common sense suggests that advertising a rival word puzzle game inside Lotum’s game might not be good idea, as it could theoretically cause a user to leave 4 Pics 1 Word and never come back.

“Many app publishers who use ads face the question of whether or not to advertise direct competitors and similar apps,” Soomla said in the report. “Most of them answer these questions with guesses and gut feelings.”

Lotum, however, wanted to apply a data driven approach to make sure they were taking the right approach. Soomla used its Traceback mobile monetization measurement platform to analyze the data.

Lotum discovered that some advertisers are churning three times more users than others. It also revealed that the results can be different in different countries.

When comparing direct competitors to other games and non game apps, Lotum discovered that direct competitors were only churning 11 percent more users compared…

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