Even ten years ago the game marketing was much easier because developers and publishers didn’t need to care about reviews and the place in the app store that much. But times have changed and even games have changed. Now, this is a rather risky enterprise, because competition has increased significantly, the demands of players on the product have risen too, and the costs of have skyrocketed. As a result, you need to invest more and more effort into game marketing.
Here’s what you need to do:
Soft launch and measure your app KPIs
A soft launch is not as soft as the name suggests. This is a tough real-life stress test that helps you to detect weaknesses in your app or game and fix them as quickly as possible. What you will need to do is release your product to a pool of several thousand users, start collecting actionable data and fix problems. For example, the famous Pokemon GO was first released in 2016 in several countries (Australia, New Zealand, some European countries) and it caused a tremendous load on the servers, making it impossible to play the game. In case of a full launch, things would have been even worse.
You will also need to monitor metrics and KPIs such as retention (basically it shows the “likeability” of your product), ARPU (you can use it to predict your future income), paying conversion (it shows the quality of your acquired users and how smart you were with game level building) and some others depending on the type of the product.
Start a referral campaign
According to statistics by DCR Strategies, people are 4 times more likely to make a purchase when referred by a friend. A referral program is a method of promoting products or services to new customers through word of mouth (existing customers). These referrers may do it for free or for a small incentive from the company.
What you will get:
- new motivated customers;
- conversion boost;
- loyal users;
- increase in sales;
- increased brand awareness;
- evaluation of user satisfaction (it may be low if relatively few of them are willing to act as referrers);
- increase organic reach on social media.
All you need to do is to create a comprehensive referral program and test it during the soft launch.
Interact with gaming influencers
Unlike the situation 15 or 20 years ago, the influencer marketing arena is no longer limited to celebrities only. Now anyone with wide reach can be an influencer — a blogger, a vlogger, a YouTuber, a football player, and all the people who are considered experts in a particular topic in general. They have the strongest influence on millennials and generation Z.
You can also call them referrers because they present information in a soft, unobtrusive, and recommendatory manner and they also basically rely on the trust of potential consumers.
In 2017, Next Games, a Finnish mobile gaming company, used this method to advertise their game “Walking Dead: No Man’s Land”. The company hired popular YouTubers and recorded videos where they were playing the game in real life.
Focus on ASO
ASO (App Store Optimization) is the process of optimizing the page of a mobile app in stores to maximize its visibility and convert visitors to users. It is an essential part of the app promotion strategy.
ASO currently uses the following resources:
- app name with keywords;
- subtitles with keywords;
- application description with keywords;
- interesting promotional text with keywords;
- convenient in-app purchases;
- localized icons;
- screenshots of the most interesting moments;
- videos (interesting/useful);
- average rating (you need to work on the rating);
- application size;
- updates and “What’s New” (it’s important to keep people informed);
- inbound links.
Work with app reviews
Gaining app reviews, working with them and turning them from negative to positive is an important part of your marketing strategy. If you have just created a new free-to-play game, you need to pay extra attention to it. According to one Apptentive survey, app users are 8 times more likely to download a highly rated app of a brand that they see for the first time than a poorly rated app of a popular brand.
It is difficult for new apps and games to get to the top of app stores. However, if they are really good and you use correct marketing strategies, you may be surprised how quickly your product may become popular.