What’s the best way to market your mobile app or game? I reached out to a variety of experts including app developers, game studios, app summit organizers and extreme gaming machine builders to get their thoughts. Here’s the advice that made the most cents, along with my two pennies’ worth, of course.
The launch is critical. Generating buzz about the app before it hits the app store and in the first few days can really make a difference in your results by giving it fuel in Apple’s search algorithms. Ways to do this: get as many beta testers as possible; use services like PreApps to generate buzz amongst early adopters; reach out to influencers via social media and email; put up a landing page and collect email addresses; and offer an exclusive to an app reviewer in advance of your release date.
I work for a mobile app development company, so I often help our clients market their games after launch. The most successful tactic I’ve seen is to just put a web ad on a target website, like a gaming website, and click through to the app store listing. A cost per month ad is preferred versus a pay per impression. My favorite advertising is Facebook’s ads for installs. You can have someone click an ad on Facebook and send them right to the app install screen. You can get really targeted about interests, age, geographic locations, etc., and you can spend as much or as little as you want. You can throw as little as $5 at an ad and start to see some interactions.
We’ve just recently had our game Flop Rocket featured on both iTunes and Google Play, and have a user base north of 3 million for all our current titles combined. There are actually over 3500 games launched on iTunes per week. That’s an insane amount of competition. To stay on top of the pile we run a rigorous PR strategy, which includes sending early “preview” builds to reviewers, which often generate buzz, and being persistent with our communications to the platforms themselves (iTunes, Google) to make sure they know that our games exist. We’re not yet large enough to spend money on marketing, so the extent of our exposure come from PR and our twitter/blog following. However, we recently developed a back-end technology called BscotchID, which is our answer to this whole discoverability problem. Our players can create a BscotchID account, which let’s them access cloud saving, cross-game perks, and a simple social network, and once they do we’re able to ping them and let them know that our stuff exists. It’s a homegrown solution to the cloud of games on the store!
Social media is very effective if you can get influencers to talk about your game. if you already have an established following, this can be a lot easier to accomplish. if you are new to the industry, attracting the attention of these folks is your number one job. PR is also very effective. Make sure you target Game Press publications and sites. you have to do some research to find the best folks to pitch…and don’t forget the review copies, contests, on line events and promotions are also effective. Pre buy add ons are a good way of getting sales.
Hit fast and hit hard! Be relentless. Have your social media and PR plan ready to go and roll that out just prior to launch. Share lots of content including trailers, videos, artwork, screen caps and gameplay captures. If you’ve had success with previous apps, mine that community and user base to rally around the new app or game. Encourage influencers to download your app and share their opinions with their fans and followers. Pay them if you have to. Build a community that will help you reach more users. Focus on downloads as an important KPI and don’t get lost on anything else. Spend on ads that lead to downloads. If your app os free and ROI is an immediate concern, work on in-game purchases and incentives to lure users into paying even small amounts to start recouping your investment asap.
Have your own opinion on what’s working or not working in app and game marketing? Leave it in the comments below!