The Dos and Don'ts of a Good Game Trailer

by Game Marketing Genie, on 16-Jun-2022 10:21:24

Engaging videos have become one of the most popular tools to entice today's customers. Modern buyers have a shorter attention span. Therefore, a compelling video gets their attention better than a lengthy paragraph. An article from Forbes show that videos are known to boost conversion rates by 80%. Moreover, SEOinc shows that video is 50 times more likely to achieve organic page ranks on Google than text results. No wonder they are predicted to account for 82% of all internet traffic this year (source: Oberlo).

These stats signal the soaring popularity of video marketing. Therefore, launching a video game trailer is an ideal way to drive interest in your upcoming game. Here are certain dos and don'ts to be mindful of for producing a fantastic video game trailer.

Do: Show gameplay

daily gone gameplay

Figure 1: Gameplay trailer of Days Gone. Source: YouTube

Gameplay is the footage of what your game looks like when played. It is the crucial element of a video game trailer you cannot afford to overlook. Gaming companies make a game trailer solely to let the audience know and "feel" the game. Therefore, adding a glimpse of the gameplay is essential. It will prevent miscommunication and ensure the players are not disheartened after downloading your game but get what they expected. A peek into the game will ensure the customers don't think you over-promised and under-delivered.

In contrast, not adding any gameplay can be misleading. You never know how the players will interpret your trailer that doesn't have any gameplay. However, adding gameplay will give them a clear picture, and they'd be in a better place to decide whether to download your game or not.

When adding gameplay clips, use different sections of the game to give a larger picture. Give a subtle glimpse of the exciting events that leave the viewers wanting more. If your game doesn't have camera movements, don't hesitate to add zooms and slow-motion shots. The cinematographic effects will make your trailer engaging, encouraging players to download the game. In addition, you can add additional sound effects that aren't in the gameplay. This will amplify the intensity of your trailer. Lastly, ensure your gameplay is in high resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio.

Don't: Build as you go

NEVER start creating a trailer alongside creating your game. Learn from the cinema industry. Do they edit the film when they're not done with the entire shooting? No, right? Before creating a trailer, all the resources should be at your disposal. This primarily includes footage, imagery, overlays, and music.

Most importantly, you need to plan what your trailer will look like and what will be the sequence of scenes. This plan will ensure you create a seamless video trailer. But a lack of this plan will result in a shoddy trailer. 

Building your trailer as you create your game will also be demanding. You'd have to switch between recording and editing all the time. You'd even have to hop from tools to tools. This can frustrate and distract you. Besides, humans can't efficiently multitask. Therefore, it is always ideal for creating your game before you start building a trailer.

Additionally, you can liberally make any major or minor change in your game, knowing you won't have to redo the entire trailer. However, creating a trailer and then editing your game would be frustrating. Moreover, finishing the game before starting the trailer would also ensure you aren't making a game to suit your trailer but creating a trailer to suit your game!

Check out six things you need for a rad game trailer in 6 Things You Need for a Good Game Trailer.

Do: Use tools (and don't hesitate to purchase one if you need it)

High-end tools are your gateways to a professional-looking video game trailer. The right choice of tools determines how captivating your video trailer will ‌be. However, many premium tools are paid for, and you may have to splurge a little. But if used correctly, these tools will give you enhanced results and boost conversions. Therefore, you will get a higher return on your investment. So don't be afraid to purchase the editing tools if required. 

You will need specific tools for the following functions:

Screen recording

obs studio tool

Figure 2: OBS Studio. Source: Steam

OBS Studio stands as a time-tested software to record gameplays. The best part is that it is a free, open-source, and multi-platform tool. You can record high-quality footage on OBS Studio. It is even used as a streaming platform and comes with transitions and multiple audio channels.

Video editing

adobe premiere video edit

Figure 3: Adobe Premiere Pro. Source: Gaming Debugged

Adobe Premiere Pro and Blender are the best video editing tools to invest in. While Blender is free, Premiere Pro is not. The latter software developed by Adobe Inc. supports high-resolution video editing. You can import and export videos, audio, and graphics in various formats and add motion graphics and effects to both video and audio files.

Blender, on the other hand, is a free, open-source, 3D graphics software used to create animated films and video games. Though it comes across as a complex tool for beginners, you can smoothly operate once you get used to it. Its various features include 3D modeling, digital drawing, particle simulation, sculpting, animation, and motion graphics.

Creating graphics

creating designs on canva

Figure 4: Canva. Source: Canva

Appealing titles and images with particular effects are also a critical element of a perfect game trailer. One trendy tool for creating graphics is Canva. It has thousands of free and paid templates you can edit to match your game aesthetics. You can even create a stunning thumbnail for your trailer in Canva.

Don't: Do the bare minimum

Though you are a developer, not a video editor, ‌go the extra mile to create a perfect video game trailer. After all, it will directly impact the number of downloads you get and the revenue you generate. So, don't create a trailer just to create it, but put in efforts to ensure it is interesting enough to compel the viewers to buy your game. 

To that end, only include high-quality footage and assets in the trailer. The audience will never enjoy watching a pixelated video. The audio, visual, and textual elements should all be of the highest resolution possible. In addition, make the storyboard as detailed as possible. Examine if all the scenes are flawlessly flowing. There shouldn't be any abrupt scene changes that bewilder your audience, leave them clueless about what's happening, and affect their visual experience.

Plus, do not rush the trailer. Take your time to polish it to perfection. You can even take the soft launch route if you're not 100% on how your trailer looks. A/B test your trailer and analyze how the audience responds. Else, email two versions of your trailer to your followers and monitor which one has more open and click-through rates. Finalize the trailer that performed better. 

Do: Keep it stylized

stylized font for game

Figure 5: Stylized font in Tower Fall. Source: Kert Gartner

Animated text is another crucial component in a video game trailer, followed by audio and video content. The title cards are often used to:

  • Describe game mechanics 
  • Build hype
  • Call out the game features
  • Share accolades
  • Tell the story

Whatever you use this text for, ‌pay special attention to the fonts and colors you use. First off, the quality of fonts should be on par with the game's footage. And they should be animated to look as professional as the entire trailer. This will ensure they don't appear as last-minute add-ons but go seamlessly with the game. Besides, the colors, borders, and artwork should match the game footage, too. Even the style of the text should match the game's universe.

Moreover, only use short and snappy one-liners to convey the intended information. Limit the lines to 5-6 words to grab the audience's attention and enable them to read quickly. The lines should complement your game and be impactful. Therefore, less is always more here. 

Another crucially important point is the proper placement of the text. All your one-liners should follow the footage/scene. In other words, show before telling. Viewers should understand your message after watching the scene. The text reaffirms that they're interpreting the scenes as you want them to. 

Don't: Tell the audience why they should buy the game

A thumb rule of a good video marketing strategy is never to proclaim how good your product is. Self-praising hardly converts modern buyers. Instead, it is off-putting, as today's customers have thousands of options, and every other brand keeps touting their products. But a wise businessman never sings their praises. But they show the results. 

There's your lesson! Don't give your target players a few reasons to buy your game. Instead, create a stellar video game trailer that speaks for itself. The trailer should successfully lure your audience into buying your game. At the same time, don't give away too much information in the trailer. This will only result in the audience losing their interest in your game. 

Simply highlight the best parts of your game. As an intelligent game dev, know how much is too much and how little is too little The idea is to instill a fear of missing out (FOMO) in your audience. The teaser trailer of the game Death Loop by Bethesda Softworks is an apt example that gives away just the right amount of information.

death loop game trailer

Figure 6: Death Loop trailer. Source: YouTube

Do: Get it right!

Video is your key to players that are excited to see what's next! But are you ready to take on the challenge of creating engaging video? You sure are with Your One Stop Video Marketing Handbook.

Building a "just perfect" trailer can be tricky!

Getting to know all the crucial elements of a good game trailer is one thing, but creating a trailer is another. Making a video game trailer is challenging — it is not only joining a few videos and adding background music. But it requires you to understand your audience, seamlessly clip videos together, create a detailed storyboard, and whatnot! 

We've got your back if you're feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work a trailer demands. Game Marketing Genie makes stunning game trailers, apart from creating bespoke game marketing strategies. GMG is a full-service game marketing agency helping gaming brands develop and market games and trailers across various social platforms. 

Get in touch with us today and create an expert trailer together!

Topics:Video Game Marketing StrategyVideo Game MarketingDigital Marketing StrategyGame LaunchVideo Marketing

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