The world of mobile games is buzzing right now, and game marketing has become the need of the hour. There are over five million games on the App Store and Google Play combined. To stand out, you need a stellar marketing strategy that resonates with your audience and nudges them to hit that “Buy” button. Here’s how you can do this!
Table of contents
- What is Mobile Game Marketing?
- Best Marketing Strategies for Mobile Games
- What is Guerrilla Marketing?
- Guerrilla Marketing Examples
- Stand Out With Your Marketing!
What is Mobile Game Marketing?
Mobile game marketing is simply marketing activities aimed specifically at mobile games. The goal is to get more downloads of the game and get people talking about it. Mobile games are a popular pastime, so it might seem like you don’t have to do much marketing for them. But this notion couldn’t be more wrong.
The competition in the gaming industry is fierce. More and more studios are entering the market and launching new games. Netflix entered the gaming market in January 2022 and reaped more than eight million downloads. If this isn’t an indicator of how competitive this industry is, what is?
As competition rises, studios are coming up with new and innovative techniques to market their games to the general public. Marketers don’t just want people to install these games. They want them to talk about them and share them with their social circles. Hence, they’re ditching traditional marketing ways for guerrilla marketing techniques.
Best Marketing Strategies for Mobile Games
Before we talk about some of the more creative guerrilla marketing techniques, it’s important to discuss the fundamentals of mobile game marketing. These are;
Optimize Your Channel
The first marketing strategy you need to know about is optimizing your channel. In marketing terms, we call this App Store Optimization (ASO). This strategy lays the groundwork for your mobile game marketing. Even if you’re able to influence people and direct them to your game on Google Play or Apple’s App Store, that doesn’t ensure a download. What good is your marketing if it doesn’t result in a conversion?
This is where ASO kicks in. By optimizing your listing on these stores, you can push people toward making a purchase. ASO comprises techniques that can improve the visibility of your game on a closed search engine, i.e., the store itself. You must create an appealing listing for your game that will entice users to click the “Install” button.
ASO basics include optimizing the name, title, description, and URL. For this, you’ll have to do keyword research. The keywords you find will have to be incorporated in the title and description. Moreover, you must use high-quality pictures and videos to showcase the gameplay. The better your graphics, the easier it is to convince your audience.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is just like ASO but for your website. A website is a must if you’re looking into digital marketing for your mobile game. This is because people always go to Google for help when they need something. If they’re looking for a new game to play, they’re likely to Google “Hottest new games 2023.”
But what if you don’t have a website and don’t show up in the search results? First, create a website for your game if you haven’t already. Then, optimize it to match Google’s ranking factors. Some ranking factors you need to focus on are:
- Valuable Content
- Page Loading Speed
Google has over two hundred ranking signals. This means it’s going to examine every single thing about your website, so you can’t be careless in any aspect. Optimize your images so they don’t slow down your website. Add an SSL certificate to your website to improve its security. Write a keyword-rich title, meta description, and headlines. Make navigation to and from your web pages easier. The more signals your website gives to Google, the better ranking you’ll achieve on the SERPs. This will result in increased visibility and reach.
Social Media Marketing
Social media platforms can take your marketing to the next level. Platforms like Snapchat and TikTok have taken the world by storm and opened the doors to new marketing opportunities. These platforms have billions of monthly active users, which is a gold mine for marketers.
To succeed on social media platforms, you need to focus on visuals. This is because people have short attention spans. Visuals are able to deliver your marketing message in a matter of seconds. Textual content can be hard to read, and users won’t waste much time on it. So create different types of visual content for social media. You can post trailers, teasers, countdowns, screenshots, and gameplay. All of this content can be easily extracted from your game.
It’s also important to understand how each platform works and what to post there. Instagram is popular for pictures and helps boost engagement. TikTok focuses on short-form videos and is great for targeting a younger audience. Facebook is an all-rounder and has a huge user base, so it’s best for increasing reach and impressions. Understanding how each platform works will ensure that you use it the right way and get the best results.
Influencer marketing can be considered a subset of social media marketing. It’s a relatively new marketing technique that has become extremely popular. Influencer marketing has been most successful for physical products, but that doesn’t mean mobile game marketers can’t use it.
The trick is to find the right influencers for your mobile game. You need to partner with marketers who have the same audience as you. This means that the influencer and their followers must be interested in your genre of mobile games. When you find the right influencer, you must give them creative freedom. They understand their audience the best and are thus able to create content that will resonate with their followers.
Another great way to do influencer marketing for mobile games is through live streams. Streaming is an extremely popular form of content in the gaming industry. There are many dedicated platforms for this, for example, Twitch, Omlet Arcade, and Streamlabs. Gaming influencers regularly stream themselves playing games, which can be very useful for marketers.
As it goes with any other type of product, social proof is an integral part of mobile game marketing. People are much more likely to download your game if they know others are enjoying it too. It’s difficult to achieve this effect through word of mouth, so social proof is your best bet. This strategy is even more effective than influencer marketing. This is because consumers relate more closely to people like them.
The most common form of social proof is customer reviews. These play a significant role in influencing buyer decisions. Gaming enthusiasts, and even amateur players, always read the reviews at the bottom of product pages. They want to understand each aspect of the game before purchasing it. Showing positive reviews on your product page, website, and social media can help influence consumers toward your game.
Another aspect of social proof is ratings. Both the App Store and Google Play rate your game according to the reviews it gets. Review websites also give ratings according to their own experiences. It’s important to work on your game to improve these ratings. Gamers place a lot of emphasis on these ratings when deciding which games to play. To improve your rating, listen to what your user base says about your game and act on their feedback.
A popular aspect of digital marketing is video. With the onset of platforms like Snapchat and TikTok, we’re seeing a surge of short-form videos on every social media platform. Game marketers can leverage this trend to reach a larger audience and promote their game.
Marketers must create short videos that can give viewers a glimpse of the game and pique enough interest. A teaser of the gameplay works best here. Pick an action-packed segment of your game and show viewers how fun it can be.
It’s important to note here that where you post these videos will have a significant impact on their performance. For example, LinkedIn might not be the best place. But a lot of gamers are present on Instagram and TikTok, so you will find more success there.
Gaming Websites and Blogs
It’s always a good idea to market your game on niche websites. Most experts in the gaming world have a blog where they discuss new and upcoming games. Getting your mobile game featured on these blogs can help improve brand awareness and reach.
The benefit here is that visitors on these websites are all gaming fanatics so they are the perfect audience for you. Marketers must pitch valuable content centered around their games to these websites.
It’s also important to choose the right blog for your website. If you have a first-person shooter game, it won’t make sense to pitch to an indie game website. Some of the most popular gaming blogs are:
- Niche Gamer
- The Sixth Axis
Paid advertising campaigns are extremely effective for user acquisition. It all depends on how much money you’re willing to invest. The more resources you allocate to paid ads, the more people will see and click on them.
You need to focus on three things when investing in paid advertising for mobile games. Narrow down your target audience to specific demographics, such as age, location, or gender. Design creative ads that put your game in a good light by showing unique features. Lastly, choose the right ad network where most of your target audience is present.
Generally, there are three types of ad formats for mobile games;
- Video ads
- Playable ads
- Rewarded video ads
Of these three formats, playable ads result in the highest conversions. This is because it gives users a glimpse of the actual game. Users are more likely to purchase a game that they’ve tried themselves. However, marketers must ensure that the playable snippet in the advertisement is identical to the actual game so that players are not disappointed.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of mobile game marketing, it’s time we talk about some of the heavier stuff; Guerrilla Marketing!
What is Guerrilla Marketing?
Guerrilla marketing is using unconventional marketing techniques to draw attention to a product and boost sales. It aims at using out-of-the-box methods to get people talking about your brand or product. When you employ such techniques, you want to pique people’s interest or shock them. This results in people talking about it, and word spreads quickly.
There are no rules or guidelines for guerrilla marketing, as there are for other types of marketing. This method relies on creative thinking and word of mouth to bring about spectacular results. There are four main types of guerrilla marketing:
- Event Ambush
Guerrilla Marketing Examples
Guerrilla marketing has been used in the gaming industry a number of times. And it has always brought about excellent results. Here are a few examples that were an instant hit:
Hipster CEO is a popular simulation game from back in the day. One of their marketing strategies was to use a mailing list to send pre-launch updates and announcements to their target audience. Their marketing was good, but nothing to get too excited about.
One day, the creator of Hipster CEO, Gerard Kelly, decided to spice things up. He sent everyone on the mailing list a simple yet cryptic message. It read, “Walt dies.” Now this email coincided with the time that Breaking Bad, one of the most popular shows in history, was airing the final episode of its last season.
Fans were shocked and enraged over this spoiler. Everyone was talking about it. Gerard even had to apologize and clear it up that he didn’t even know how the show ended. The email got everyone talking about Hipster CEO till the show ended. As a result, Hipster CEO saw a rise of about 10,000 subscribers.
Zombie Match Defense
Zombie Match Defense had applied to showcase at the IndieCade but was rejected. The developer, Jake Sones, couldn’t accept this and hatched a plan to go anyway. He built a costume for an arcade game and attached his iPad to it. The iPad had a build of the game installed on it, and he planned to let people enjoy it while wearing the costume.
He didn’t enter the IndieCade but hung out just outside. Many festival attendees watched him and came up to play the game. The costume garnered a lot of attention, and people formed lines waiting for their turn. A lot of them downloaded the game right there because they couldn’t wait in line any longer.
Festival goers took pictures with Jack and posted them on social media, which created a buzz that lasted several days. He was even mentioned on the well-known gaming website TouchArcade. The impromptu stunt instantly got him a lot of free publicity.
Foursquare carried out a guerrilla campaign at the SXSW 2010 conference a year after its launch. Although not a mobile game, Foursquare has one of the most successful guerrilla campaigns for a mobile app.
Founder Dennis Crowley lacked funds for a traditional marketing campaign, so he sought to be more creative. He spent a total of $6 to create the popular children’s game Four Square. Festival attendees stopped in the middle of the street to take part, and Crowley got a chance to raise awareness about his app.
This event embodies the spirit of guerrilla marketing, as it cost them nothing, and they were able to create a buzz around the app. They were able to have face-to-face interactions with their audience and talk about the app on a more intimate level.
Another one of our favorite examples is by Domino’s. For its new On The Go app, Domino’s went above and beyond to mark its restaurant chains on the map. They replaced the red marking pins of navigation apps with pizza slices.
Imagine walking around the city and seeing huge pizza slices floating toward you. This is exactly what Domino’s did. Wouldn’t you want a slice after seeing this? Domino’s wanted to show people that they could order pizza from anywhere through their app.
The floating pizzas created a social media buzz, and people flocked to take pictures with them. Domino’s also saw a surge in app installs instantly.
Stand Out With Your Marketing!
Mobile games need marketing just as any other product does. And the strategies for it aren’t all that different. Invest in paid advertisements. Take help from influencers to reach a far wider audience. Or leverage the power of social media for your gain. All of the strategies we’ve talked about are highly effective at getting people to talk about your game and increasing conversions.
Featured Image: Dot Com Infoway