Your Guide to Indie Mobile Game Marketing

by Game Marketing Genie, on 16-Feb-2021 12:06:08

As an indie developer, you might be worried about how to get your game out there. The market is very crowded, making it difficult to get noticed and get users to download your game.

Furthermore, the big companies, powered by big marketing budgets, are doing all they can to push indies out of the way and keep the market to themselves. So, you might be asking, “How do I promote my mobile game with no budget at all? Can I even compete with the big game publishers?”. What you should be thinking is: “Now is the time to market my game!”

Although it seems impossible, you can actually make your mobile game a huge hit with some effort and proper planning. We have created this guide to share the video game marketing strategies you need for this exercise.

Why is getting it right so important?

The online marketplace is big and noisy, and the video gaming market is bigger and noisier than most. App stores are flooded with apps all competing for players’ attention. By the end of 2020, Android users could choose from 2.87 million available apps. The Apple App Store had 1.96 million apps available to its users, and the numbers are increasing daily. So the answer to this question is that it’s difficult for players to discover even a good game because there’s too much noise to cut through to notice new things.

Your budget is also smaller than your larger competitors. While the big publishers can hire the biggest influencers and host conventions to popularize their games, you’re struggling to pay for development costs. You’ve also got a smaller team to work with. Some members have to take extra roles to ensure you have a product to take to the market. This leaves very little room for error, and you need to do everything in your power to make your marketing successful, or that will be the end of you and your game.

But, don’t worry, with these strategies you too can be a player in the market.

Brain in a light bulb

Start marketing much earlier than you release your game

We cannot stress this enough, don’t start marketing after you release your game. By then, it is too late!

The vast majority of games fail because most devs treat marketing as an afterthought rather than an important part of the game development process itself. Don’t make this mistake. The best time to start your marketing is when you decide you're going to have a game (or as soon as possible if you've already started the development process).

This will give you enough time to think about who will get the most enjoyment from your game and how to connect with them. You'll have time to look at other games that players are enjoying and what makes them great. You will identify gaps in the market and how your game solves your user’s most pressing needs. 

But this doesn’t mean you have to start actively promoting it! With this information, you can start planning the activities you will undertake in the months leading to the launch. You can begin to make players and gaming enthusiasts aware of your upcoming game, and encourage them to add it to their wishlist before the release date.

Analog clock on blue background

Create a community in advance

Another important thing you need to market your game effectively is to create an online community for your game. Invite gaming enthusiasts to your community and share updates about your upcoming title. You can offer them special deals and in-game rewards to get them to join your dedicated game channels. Some of the platforms that you can do this on include Discord or with a dedicated Facebook group.

We’ve discussed how to use Discord to create a community for your game in our blog, Should You Consider Discord for Your Video Game Community?

Also, consider engaging with other indie gaming communities, whether they be for fans or devs on subreddits such as r/gaming, r/gamedev, r/indiegaming. You will gain valuable feedback on these platforms that will help you improve your game.

People sitting down and talking

Make a website for your game

Don't just stick with your app store page for presenting your game. Combine your app store efforts with a dedicated website to increase visibility for your game. Most users don't spend a lot of time browsing the app store. They are browsing the web looking for information, so a website increases your chances of getting noticed.

You can add many things to your website, but the most obvious one is links to your game’s app store pages. The other things to include are:

  • Trailers and video content
  • Social media links
  • A good CTA
  • Screenshots
  • Reviews
  • News and updates

When creating the website, make the user experience a top priority. If your site is slow to load or hasn't been optimized for mobile devices, users will bounce without clicking the link to download your game or leaving their contact details to receive game updates.

Http image

Make incredible creatives

Give your mobile game marketing a great boost with eye-catching creatives. High-quality visuals make your game appealing, thus attracting players to try it. Add this content to your website and share it on your social media to engage your target users.

Some of the creatives you should work on include videos and images of your game. A video trailer of your game gives players an idea of what your game looks like. The video should tell your game’s story and include a lot of gameplay to encourage people to download it.

You also need attention-grabbing screenshots to excite users to play your game. Make sure the screenshots capture your game’s best moments for them to help you with your indie game marketing efforts.

Candy Crush Saga screenshots

Figure 1: Candy Crush Saga screenshots. Source: KING’s Candy Crush

Apart from screenshots, you also need well-developed character profiles for your game. Each character's story should be clear for the players to make an emotional connection with your game.

When working on your creatives, remember that it’s all about being unique. Follow your own style and avoid doing what others have already done. Add a personal touch to your creatives to make them unique, but don't show off anything that doesn't relate to your game or is misleading, as this will get your game in trouble.

Social media is your friend

There are more than 3.5 billion social media users right now according to Statista, and there’s no way your target audience doesn’t fall into this category. Your target users spend most of their time on social media connecting with their friends and interacting with their favorite brands. If you’re not on social media, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to connect with them and acquire new users for your game.

To get started with social media marketing, identify the platforms where your target users are most active on. Simply put, exist where your audience exists!

Promote all your content on these platforms to keep your audience engaged. Share game tips and tricks in the form of short videos and screenshots. Initiate conversations with potential users to know what they feel about your game and the changes they’d want to see. Reply to their questions to show that you’re responsive.

When posting on social media, stick to a consistent schedule to ensure users know when to check in for fresh content. Work with an indie game marketing company to create a social media calendar for your game.

Social media apps on iPhone

ASO is essential

More than half of all the apps in app stores get discovered through search. If this is how most of your users find their apps, you need to optimize your game for the different apps stores to improve discoverability. App store optimization is similar to search engine optimization for websites: it ensures your game ranks high on the search results when users query certain keywords.

To get started with ASO, optimize the name of your game and its description with relevant keywords. This will ensure your title shows up as one of the top results after a search. Include as many keywords as possible in the description to attract your target users, but make sure they’re all relevant.

Add a video trailer to your app listing to give users a preview of the game. Don’t forget to add eye-catching screenshots and phrases to grab your target user’s attention.

We’ve explained all these app store optimization tips in detail on our blog, Game ASO: How to Make Your Video Game Stand Out in App Stores.

App store optimizitation written with chalk

Fulfill your quest with mobile game marketing

Mobile game marketing is your key to the quest for success! Take control of your new game and make its marketing matter with the help of our insider tips in Mobile Game Marketing: Your Complete Guide to Success.

Developing an awesome game is the easy part. With a great storyline, well-developed characters, and amazing gameplay, you have a nice game that people would enjoy playing. Promoting the game is the tough part.

As you can see, there are many video game marketing strategies you should implement to succeed with indie mobile game marketing. With all the options players have, you need to execute these strategies perfectly for them to notice your game.

Making it work as an indie game dev might seem difficult, but the team at Game Marketing Genie can help. We’re a gaming marketing agency that can help you build a robust strategy and equip you with the right tools to ensure your game doesn’t get lost in the crowd.

Looking to improve your mobile game marketing? Use these marketing tips to reach a wider audience.

Topics:Mobile Game MarketingVideo Game Marketing StrategyVideo Game MarketingDigital MarketingIndie Games

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