Mobile game promotion is a complex, expensive, and time-consuming process. Not all participants in the game industry have the opportunity to do this competently by themselves: there is not enough expertise, time, money, or human resources.
In this article, Famesters specialists overview how to market a mobile game and discover the principles on which mobile game marketing is based. This will help you understand influencer marketing for mobile games better and get some insights from experienced professionals who have been doing influencer marketing for gaming for 5+ years.
The gaming market is quite competitive. It is divided between large publishers and companies, it is fixed, and genre niches are filled with projects similar to each other.
Gaming is the most profitable sector of the entertainment industry, and mobile games are the driver of the gaming market development, they account for about 60% of its total volume. According to Statista, the global gaming market will amount to 268, 8 billion US Dollars annually in 2025.
It is often difficult for small studios to launch the game themselves – they need money for revision and marketing. Promotion is the biggest expense: 80% of all money is spent on it, and only 20% goes to operating expenses. Without advertising, all the efforts to create a game can be in vain.
To promote a mobile game, in addition to merging with large companies, a game developer can:
The peculiarity of mobile game marketing is that here you cannot first make a product and then start promoting it. These processes run in parallel to each other, so the marketing team must cooperate with the development team and own not only marketing but also product analytics. The metrics will tell teams how to tweak the game to make it a success.
Changes in the game are needed to meet user requests. The difficulty is that the audience of games is very dynamic: user behavior is unpredictable, and tastes and interests often change. If at the stage of “probing” a niche and initial tests, you can collect good data and roughly understand what the audience wants, then at the release stage, the result may not be repeated.
There are no guarantees in gaming. As practice shows, much of the success of the project depended on chance, and on some factors that came together. A good example is that of Angry Birds: the studio had 12 projects before. That is, the team stumbled 12 times before something happened to them. And now the market is oversaturated, and the niches are clogged, so the chances of success are further reduced.
If you want to know how to promote a mobile game, you have to understand that mobile game promotion strategy depends on several factors:
Let’s analyze each factor in detail.
Marketing and development are closely intertwined. However, in this block, we will not talk about the stages of creating a game – researching audience preferences, analyzing competitors, and creating a prototype, but will focus on promotion. Let’s take a look at the following steps:
At the testing of primary metrics stage, a test of the activity of the audience and the readiness of users to make in-game purchases is carried out. The data obtained is compared with the average market or target indicators. If the metrics are not satisfactory, the game undergoes various changes.
If the metrics satisfy the entire team, they move on to the soft launch stage, when the game is launched in several markets – often the region of Southeast Asia is chosen. This stage helps to understand how much the game captivates users, whether there is a demand for it, whether the budget spent on it pays off, whether the traffic purchase strategy is chosen correctly, and whether creatives work well.
This “soft” launch is necessarily analyzed: errors are taken into account and possible changes are made to the strategy, creatives, and advertising campaign settings.
If the indicators at this stage suit the team, they decide to scale to the global market.
At the scaling stage, the game enters other markets. At this stage, the game and tools for its promotion are adapted for specific countries. For example, they change the language and presentation of content, choose new advertising sources, and adjust creative communication.
The scaling stage for a gaming product does not end as long as there are acquisition and development budgets.
Games can be divided into hyper-casual, casual, mid-core, hardcore, and hybrid.
Hyper-casual games are simple, with elementary mechanics and minimalistic gameplay, in which the transition to the gameplay occurs instantly.
Casual games are simple, have an exciting storyline, and require the player to be quick-witted and make informed decisions.
Mid-core games are slightly more difficult than casual ones, they take more time to complete, and the mechanics in them become more complicated with each level.
Hardcore games are complex and require a lot of practice to be successful.
Hybrid games are inter-genre projects that contain elements of several types of games.
The audience is the main resource that advertisers are fighting for. The gaming industry has a special audience: gamers have a high percentage of involvement, actively and often pay.
If you want to promote your game effectively, you need to study your user and understand their interests and pains. Let’s take a look at some of the audience factors that affect game marketing.
User preference analytics show gender differences. According to various studies, women are more likely to play Match 3 games, simulations and visual novels, while men are more likely to select strategy, RPG and shooters, action games and racing.
Despite these preferences, action and RPG games have been seen as topping female audiences in certain markets, as have board games for men.
There are also differences in creatives for audiences of different ages. Slow creatives work well for an adult audience, while dynamic ones work well for children and teenagers. In videos for different age groups, the number of game events shown differs: in slow ones, less, in dynamic ones, more.
Accordingly, there are differences in preferred genres: older segments are more likely to choose casual or mid-core games, while younger segments are more likely to choose hyper-casual games, although other genres of games are also in demand.
When you promote a mobile game, it is worth considering the traditions of a particular country, carefully handling the topics of sex, religion, violence and death – not only because of the culture but also because of the limitations of the platforms of these countries.
A mobile game promotion strategy should use every opportunity to convey information about your game to potential users. At the same time, do not forget about the quality of the final product.
A landing page on your website is one of the main channels for marketing your game. The site allows users to learn more about your mobile product even before its launch, to gather a potential audience and tell them about the development of the game. This is a relatively cheap method where SEO can be used to attract new users. Show what users will see in your application, leave links to the App Store and Google Play Store with a clear call to action, and post video trailers or just reviews, user ratings and awards received.
Keep your blog up to date on your site – this is another tool to capture new users and increase the reach of your target audience. Consider social media distribution and be sure to use mobile analytics to identify the type of content that is most beneficial to you.
You can also develop a guest posting strategy from any external writers or famous people (influence marketing) who use your app. Or write for other websites yourself for the best results and coverage.
App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of improving the visibility (search positions) of your mobile gaming app in the App Store and Google Play Store. This is critical to acquiring your target users because even if your company is buying a lot of ads, it all ends up on the app store product page. Your product needs to have a perfect presentation. In addition, ASO is a great source of free organic and targeted traffic, as users are already looking for one or another application in the store to complete their tasks.
Influencer marketing is advertising your mobile gaming app with the help of popular creators or famous people. This app marketing strategy has become very popular in recent years. In 2020 alone, influencer marketing budgets increased by 65%.
There are many ways to create collaborations and ad campaigns with influencers to achieve your marketing goals. For example, you can allocate some gifts to influencers to give away to users that they can share with their audience, use paid product placement, or simply ask them to provide a review for your mobile gaming app. The advantage of paid advertising is that you have more creative control, while gifts are still more popular with users and can increase viral reach.
So how to promote my game you may still ask? Above, we have listed the main methods for promoting mobile games. However, the best promotion is the use of several channels at the same time. The main thing is to keep in mind your target audience and the distinctive features of the game all the time.
Don’t forget that influencers are the same people, they also play games. But, thanks to a large audience, they have a significant impact on their followers, and it can be useful for you. Select the right influencer, agree on cooperation, and check the results. Or ask our experts for help – just message us and together we will work out the influencer marketing strategy to promote your mobile game.