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App Advertising Success!

View Poll Results: What marketing methods have proven to be the most successful with your apps.
Banner and skin advertising campaigns. 3 23.08%
In app advertising. 3 23.08%
Paid reviews. 1 7.69%
Direct email marketing to a database of users. 1 7.69%
Social Media - Facebook and Twitter. 4 30.77%
Submitting your app to all the review site you can find. 2 15.38%
Web search engine optimisation. 0 0%
Offering your game for free for a set period of time. 10 76.92%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll
12-29-2011, 07:01 AM
#1
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 114
App Advertising Success!

I was wondering what advertising and marketing methods other developers have found successful and cost effective and how much should be investing in online advertising to get good exposure.

We had had success with full page skins on pocketgamer and 148apps, and good results with youtube reviewers promoting our games.


I would be really interested to hear other success stories out there which might help others get their games noticed.
12-31-2011, 02:51 AM
#2
Marketing is still a big mystery to me, even though I have not tried all mentioned techniques yet, but I'm guessing that the most effective methods require a huge budget... otherwise, ya need tons of luck on top of a good game, to get a reviews from popular sites.

Do you love pigeon droppings? Yes / No
Do you enjoy retro carnival coin games? Yes / No
Do you have fast fingers? Yes / No

12-31-2011, 05:59 AM
#3
Joined: Feb 2011
Location: Isle of Wight, UK
Posts: 1,509
We tried a couple of adverts on medium-sized sites and found they were a waste of money - no spike in sales at all. This is also the most costly option so I think they're well avoided.

Paid adverts probably help in a nebulous way to get a game really talked about, but only if you spend spend spend and get them everywhere - the odd one or two here and there is just a money sink.

The best results we got where when TA featured us, and that cost nothing. Thanks Nissa! (Although even then the sales spike was fairly short lived)

We mailed a lot of bigger websites and were largely ignored, even now. GLWG is #7 top grossing app on Android and we still can't get any general gamer sites to look at us (i mean the biggies like mashable, kotaku, etc). Hard not to feel paranoid about it tbh.

Then again, I'm sure I'm not the only one.

EDIT: Actually, cross marketing our couple of apps seems to be doing okay for our yachty game. It's pretty hard to measure directly, but sales definitely went down a bit when our server (providing our more games images) got overloaded and bandwidth seriously reduced for a couple of days.

Last edited by Rubicon; 12-31-2011 at 06:12 AM.
01-02-2012, 06:19 PM
#4
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubicon View Post
We mailed a lot of bigger websites and were largely ignored, even now. GLWG is #7 top grossing app on Android and we still can't get any general gamer sites to look at us (i mean the biggies like mashable, kotaku, etc). Hard not to feel paranoid about it tbh.
Don't feel paranoid about it. Those sites you listed don't really cover mobile games heavily. Only after a game breaks through some sort of pop cultural barrier do some of those sites start to pick up on them.

For media outreach in general, it's a long process. PR is about relationship building and when you first meet someone, you don't normally have an in-depth, meaningful conversation until you get to know each other really well. Social media tools and tactics can help speed up the process, but isn't a "silver bullet."

Toy Soldier Community Manager for Toy Studio Games
01-03-2012, 01:49 PM
#5
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Dade City, Florida
Posts: 17
Send a message via Skype™ to CrazyMikesapps
Use Your App Community

App marketing is still a growing phenomena, but I have been reviewing apps and studying this for several years as both a consumer and developer as well as an app marketer/advertiser.

One of the biggest areas developers fail at is to use their own download communities to grow their app downloads. Here is what I mean. If you have 100,000 downloads you have a large community in terms of social media. While not all of those download users are going to be active users, why not try to convert these folks into your social media following on Twitter, YouTube, or Facebook and if you do not have social sites to promote your app or app development company you are missing out on a lot of FREE advertising and marketing options. Now social media is not completely FREE, it takes time, thought, and know how to grow and cultivate a loyal following but there are ways to make this sky rocket and here is one example.

The FREE iOS universal app Extreme Road Trip put an in app like button on a car that was locked until a user liked their Facebook Fan Page. When I liked them of course to unlock the new car I did not have access to, I thought this to be an ingenius idea and checked out how many likes they had and at that time it was over 1 million, yes 1 million. Now I just checked their likes while typing this and they are at 670,057 Facebook likes with 18,905 talking about them currently on the worlds 2nd largest website. Think of how you can use this to your advantage by running contests using your likes to have followers get others to like you, which ultimately should increase your downloads. A powerful little idea of making an in app purchase a car for Facebook likes instead. These kinds of marketing techniques should be leveraged to your download communities to try to grow your social media followings. Additionally, think of how you can communicate with nag screens, push notifications and other in app means to continuously keep your download community engaged. I assure you this will far greater benefit you than sidebar banner ads even on the busiest websites.

If anyone ever needs any tips on social media growth, marketing, etc let me know as this is a developers best friend. Ask your app users to connect with you in your communities and leverage your in app communities to market future apps and to re-market your current apps.

hope this helps.

Mike
01-03-2012, 05:30 PM
#6
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Toronto/Vancouver
Posts: 271
Since no one reads long posts, I'll try to keep this as short as possible with bullet points.

This is based on our launch title Kunundrum
http://goo.gl/kZTr8

Site Advertising:
- It's only for big box type companies or games that would already get noticed.
- It costs WAY too much for what sites are asking for, their prices are skewed and set to suckle off those who are trying to climb up the ranks.
- No one bothers with the banners because it takes too much commitment to move away from their intended entertainment/research.
- Even when we were given a free banner...still going now for a month, we have had 0 clickthroughs that have lead to any sales, and that's someone charitably helping us out.

Free app giveaways:
- They get you WAY UP in the rankings, only to have you switch back to your lower rank that you were at when first started the promo(not very sustainable)
- They ask for thousands of dollars and percentages of your earnings(again based on the FREE ranking, once back to the paid ranking, you make 5-10 bucks a day again)
- They really are the only TRUE tool that seems to get anything done in terms of notoriety, otherwise it's peanuts.
- Apple's storefront is pathetic and skewed towards ostracizing the indy dev with reputation being the driving force rather than quality.
- People rank you based on spite AS WELL as quality.

PR:
- Our experience with prmac was pathetic. Absolutely obscenely pathetic. I'm sure it's worked for others. Maybe as a vehicle to deliver a message, but they did everything they could to make our release look cheap, stupid, and boring.
- Other companies quoted us between 2-6 grand in order to do anything. One citing that you would be in the top 30 in USA or half your money back. So they make 2k off of you right off the bat to do what a simple Free App A Day promo could do...because that's all they do is spend your cash on promotions that do 0.

Social Networking:
- Sure you build relationships in the community, and those relationships could possibly get you into other promotions or to know people that want to help...unfortunately you get a lot of "me too's" and trolls intertwined(especially empty frienders who just want lists of people).
- It's been helpful only within those relationships, otherwise the fan base has almost been nil. Maybe 5-10 people out of the 1000 followers and 2000 followed really try to encourage you.
- We held a few contests... no one entered... Not a single person. As simple as, WRITE US, SEND A SCREEN SHOT, DROOL!!!... no one entered.
- Blathering out to a sea of dead eyes gets you 0 return on any links posted. I think out of over 175k retweets, we got maybe 30 people who clicked on the link in the tweet, telling them the game was free and was a 4/5 at worst on all the review sites(all 3 of them...thanks everyone...) that we had. That was over a few month's time.


The only thing that has seemingly worked for us is updates... You give the game away for free for a bit. Get the cheap audience to pay you back with updates, that pushes you up in the rankings, then you get sales as you slowly fall back down.

It really is dependent on your position in the store. That's why freemium has become the way to sell the game. Give the core game away, let those who have it buy portions of it(which really kinda sucks), and rise up the charts by being more or less a software whore.

People don't want to spend a dollar... we got in trouble because our game was priced at 2 dollars with an IAP. We gave away the first 20 levels, and then if you dig it, pay for the next 80. The game had about 6-8 hours of gameplay in it if you were good at puzzle solving. We put it through the Free app a Day thing, Apple wouldn't let us set the IAP to free, and then bam...people hated us. We weren't giving away enough free.

The market is shaping the expectations of the customer. And those expectations are: I DON'T WANT TO SPEND MONEY. I WANT TO FEEL LIKE I'M GETTING SOMETHING FOR NOTHING. THEN I GET TO DECIDE WHERE MY POOR CHOICE OF SPENDING GOES... it's bizarre.

I don't mean to be mean to you Mike, but you did a video for us a month or two ago and your review on our game touched on the first 5-6 levels or something and it was really kinda sad because there is so much more content in the game. And we paid for that video. It's obvious you don't have the time to go through every game and make videos of in depth reviews...but if you're going to charge that much cash for a review, you would expect at least SOME semblance of research into the game. It was almost like you didn't have time, but wanted to quickly get it out. Again, I'm not coming down on you, just describing what we got for our money. We had 0 return from that review. Not one sale...and the video is now at 324 views, 111 on the first day, and hasn't been looked at since Nov. 29th. So for the money invested, we really didn't get ANY exposure and anyone interested. I even responded to one of the 4 comments on the video and that person didn't even reply, which makes me wonder if they were even real.

So for what, 120 bucks or whatever it was, we got 0. Obviously you want to help your customers, that's how you keep them and create repeat business right? So I don't fault you for nothing happening. But when I put my game out for free and it's like #2 in Japan and #4 in Canada, I wonder why it's not worth the dollar for the 150 levels of fun we created. We can't spend 120 bucks on nothing every day to try and make it so we make 5-10 bucks a day. So really all these promotions that we've been approached with are kinda not geared for the proper exposure needed to get the word out. They might be the way things worked with larger scale companies that have a full force campaign, but for indy devs it's just giant wads of cash thrown into a blender... like fighting a mosquito with a machine gun.

Again I'm not upset at all with you Mike Don't take that as bashing... it's just reflection on the process that happened.

And with review sites... well good luck. 30-50 games a day on every person on staff to look at and say yeah no no yeah no... based around how many people will click through and look at the website. So reviews become advertisements. Well guess who has that kind of clout? HUGE DEVELOPERS.

There needs to be more underground coverage. Let the big box guys have their sites. There needs to be support elsewhere. And it really sucks because just about every person we've given our game to or sold the game to has gushed over it. Now that we're past the whole GIVE ME MORE FREE problem, we added another 50 levels and more gameplay, we are making a lot of people happy...but only when it's free.

And the only time we have spikes in the profit is when we are high up in the store. Enter freemium.

But that means every game will now be freemium designed. Blech.

Anyway, that's the reflection on the past few months of starting up a company and trying to put out a game. Our game doesn't suck. I know that for a fact... hell I ENJOY playing it and I tested it over a number of months. It's nothing super new, it's happened before in other formats, but people are enjoying it.

We should be successful for what we're hearing. Instead we're just getting ripped off and toyed with.

I've never had to fight for a dollar so hard in my life. Especially when it's for 12-15 hours(now) of gameplay.

Is there any other insight that might assist people to at least be considered as a proper dev in the store rankings? Why is Apple so smug with their storefront? You can't just list all the games... it has to be new and noteworthy(speaking towards the iPad listings), and since they have their hands so deep in our pockets, of COURSE they are going to monitor what is worth more for them to promote.

Well that's not a storefront really... that's more of a dictation on where you need to stand in line. Welcome to Baskin Robbins, we have 500,000 flavours, but you only get to see 6 of them because they make us the most money.

How can you tell that no one wants the other flavours if you never tell people about them?

NOPE! 6 flavours. Now get back in line behind the giant grey storefront wall!

Open Feint has been great to us. I can't say enough about how friendly they have been with us. And their promotions work. But again...it's a lot of money just to get out there. And no one cares about apps unless everyone else is playing them.

Last edited by HTWGames; 01-03-2012 at 05:38 PM.
01-03-2012, 06:53 PM
#7
Joined: Feb 2011
Location: Isle of Wight, UK
Posts: 1,509
Quote:
Originally Posted by HTWGames View Post
Since no one reads long posts, I'll try to keep this as short as possible with bullet points.
Epic fail!

(will read it in a moment, had to get in first, lol)

EDIT: Now wishing I hadn't read it. I think you got one key thing wrong tbh and that's the look of the game. (I think it looks kinda cool actually so don't shoot the messenger.) But the people want fluffy things with googly eyes - SciFi look is a passion killer for most.

Our game is in the middle (cartoony based on real) and I think it'd do better if it was reskinned with googly eyed cute monsters vs zombies. In fact one day soon we might give that a go!

Last edited by Rubicon; 01-03-2012 at 07:02 PM.
01-03-2012, 06:57 PM
#8
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Toronto/Vancouver
Posts: 271
Man...I know... and I actually restarted writing that to try and make it less...but at the end of the bullet points I was thinking nah man, I gotta explain and say my peace...in hopes it helps people

I know it's long..I apologize
01-03-2012, 07:24 PM
#9
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Dade City, Florida
Posts: 17
Send a message via Skype™ to CrazyMikesapps
Sorry To Hear That

@HTW Games... I thought the name of your game sounded familiar

Listen, because we pride ourselves on making our customer happy, I will recut another video app demo and give you another month side bar and Tweets for 7 days on the house. I will take additional time to do a more in depth look at the deeper levels as long as it does not take me 12 hours to get there

As a follow up here are some stats that I had, and remember our service is that we cut a video app demo, upload it to 10 sites overall and Tweet for 14 days, as well as throw in a sidebar banner ad for 3 weeks, for the price there is not a better deal on the web for marketing apps I find it a little hard to believe you did not get one sale. My bitly link for your app got 45 clicks, which is fairly good for a 3 week side bar banner ad, 14 days of tweets and a created video app demo pushed out to YouTube, iTunes, which had an additional 260 views, not to mention the streaming views.

Please contact us again and I will get you on our schedule, if you have promo codes I will work those into the review as well.

Alos, a few tips from my end, I think you need a better app icon, not trying to be a jerk, just constructive criticism. Your icon makes me think of the Matrix, but the colors are off and it does not tell me anything about the app. There are best practices for this and the color red happens to be a number 1 app icon color. Also the name while perfect for the game, may need to be more thoughtful from a marketing perspective..Like Kunundrum - The Puzzle Game You Can't Solve or Kunundrum - Puzzle Game Madness, or even get rid of Kunundrum and think more towards targeting users.

Sorry for the long winded response, we really try to offer developers a reasonable advertising and marketing solution and I apologize that we left you feeling like we did not give your app the attention it deserves.

Again please hit us up and we will run another campaign for free.

thanks

Mike
01-04-2012, 01:49 AM
#10
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Toronto/Vancouver
Posts: 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyMikesapps View Post
@HTW Games... I thought the name of your game sounded familiar

Listen, because we pride ourselves on making our customer happy, I will recut another video app demo and give you another month side bar and Tweets for 7 days on the house. I will take additional time to do a more in depth look at the deeper levels as long as it does not take me 12 hours to get there

As a follow up here are some stats that I had, and remember our service is that we cut a video app demo, upload it to 10 sites overall and Tweet for 14 days, as well as throw in a sidebar banner ad for 3 weeks, for the price there is not a better deal on the web for marketing apps I find it a little hard to believe you did not get one sale. My bitly link for your app got 45 clicks, which is fairly good for a 3 week side bar banner ad, 14 days of tweets and a created video app demo pushed out to YouTube, iTunes, which had an additional 260 views, not to mention the streaming views.

Please contact us again and I will get you on our schedule, if you have promo codes I will work those into the review as well.

Alos, a few tips from my end, I think you need a better app icon, not trying to be a jerk, just constructive criticism. Your icon makes me think of the Matrix, but the colors are off and it does not tell me anything about the app. There are best practices for this and the color red happens to be a number 1 app icon color. Also the name while perfect for the game, may need to be more thoughtful from a marketing perspective..Like Kunundrum - The Puzzle Game You Can't Solve or Kunundrum - Puzzle Game Madness, or even get rid of Kunundrum and think more towards targeting users.

Sorry for the long winded response, we really try to offer developers a reasonable advertising and marketing solution and I apologize that we left you feeling like we did not give your app the attention it deserves.

Again please hit us up and we will run another campaign for free.

thanks

Mike
Hey Mike!

Let's take this off the forum, there's no need for anything to be taken the wrong way I appreciate the offer! I'll pm you, so we can let the thread thrive beyond this.

Cheers