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Effective game / app marketing

07-31-2009, 11:10 AM
#1
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 53
Effective game / app marketing

Hey Guys,

We are new to developing games for the iphone/ipod touch, and, having just released our first full game taxi jam I was just wondering what you guys have found useful and not so useful in marketing games after their release to drive sales.

We are currently considering running banner ads on certain iphone/game/forum sites, has anyone else had any experience of this as we would love to hear about the success/failure of doing this.

Is it all just about giving promo codes to the right people / review sites, and hoping their reviews spur people on to buy it?

Does a good game always find its way to the top of the tree or do some un-advertised games that are excellent - languish in the doldrums because they haven't been correctly publicised?

Why do some games (like minigore for example) get an incredible hype built up around them, whereas others seem to be less eagerly anticipated even if they are really good games?

I would be really interested to hear your views and opinions about this, and even comments around the subject.

Cheers,

Ringo
nerv media
07-31-2009, 11:47 AM
#2
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 515
My personal opinion is that giving promo codes to random users in the forums is a waste of time + promo codes.

I have also found that reviews from web sites that aren't one of the big 4 don't have any affect on sales at all.

I don't have any experience with banner ads on the big sites, but I have seen forum posts from others saying that the return on investment was too low to cover the cost of the ad.

I would recommend not talking to users in the forums, since it will mostly be complaints, unrealistic expectations, begging + hinting for promo codes and ideas that you probably already have for improvements.

You can probably get non-USA countries top 100 charts for at least a day by getting 20 or so people from that country to all buy your game on the same day.

Download MajicRank to track your app on the worldwide charts.

http://majicjungle.com/majicrank.html

07-31-2009, 12:05 PM
#3
Joined: May 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by nerv_media View Post
Does a good game always find its way to the top of the tree or do some un-advertised games that are excellent - languish in the doldrums because they haven't been correctly publicised?
No... there 60k+ apps - lots of good ones (IMO) are burried in the app store and no where near the top 100

Quote:
Originally Posted by nerv_media View Post
Why do some games (like minigore for example) get an incredible hype built up around them, whereas others seem to be less eagerly anticipated even if they are really good games?
Probably because Chillingo is publishing minigore... Major sites are much more likely to post news about a game published from Chillingo, Gameloft, Digital Chocolate, ngmoco etc than they are about an indie dev group (unless they already have some hit games). I assume this is because there is some assurance of quality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nerv_media View Post
I would be really interested to hear your views and opinions about this, and even comments around the subject.
We released Anomaly / Anomaly Lite independently and we struggled to find any one to review or consider our game for news. TA wouldn't news it despite a great review from Big Albie. In many cases, the promo codes we sent out to different review sites where never used.

We've since had about 4 or 5 reviews done from various review sites but they have had no noticeable impact on sales - despite the reviews being very good.

My advice - shop around for a publisher unless you have someone dedicated to marketing and the ear of some major iphone news/review sites. Good luck!!

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07-31-2009, 12:10 PM
#4
iPhone Game PR

Saw the thread and wanted to point everyone to a case study I wrote up about effective iPhone game PR:

http://triplepointpr.com/iphone-game-pr-a-case-study

Chris
07-31-2009, 12:13 PM
#5
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 53
Brilliant

Thats brilliant stuff shen,

I had no idea about MajicRank, I have just downloaded but taxi jam isnt in the top 100 anywhere yet, maybe we will have a peak at the weekend - fingers crossed.

Thanks for your post, it really helped! Anyone else have any advice for us?

Cheers,

Ringo
nerv media
07-31-2009, 01:09 PM
#6
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 515
Be careful about taking advice from me, as my games haven't earned me enough to pay back the cost of my iPod Touch.

Marketing my games I did spend a lot of time on the TA forums, giving away promo codes and running contests etc, and it didn't help at all.

Now I am just a bitter old man :-p

I did get quite a few 3 - 5 star reviews from the people I gave promo codes to, but they don't seem to do much for sales, or maybe the help once a person is looking at your iTunes page, but the real problem is getting people to that page in the first place.

Be careful about dropping your price to zero (if you are trying to earn money). You will get heaps of 1 star reviews from people who download the game for free and delete it after 10 seconds. You will also get text reviews from people saying the game is ok for free, which will not help if you start charging for it again.

I think I good strategy is to make your code portable, so you can sell the game on a few different mobile platforms if possible, but that i something you need to plan on from the start, so you minimize the use of objective c as much as possible.
07-31-2009, 02:18 PM
#7
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by nerv_media View Post
Hey Guys,

We are new to developing games for the iphone/ipod touch, and, having just released our first full game taxi jam I was just wondering what you guys have found useful and not so useful in marketing games after their release to drive sales.

We are currently considering running banner ads on certain iphone/game/forum sites, has anyone else had any experience of this as we would love to hear about the success/failure of doing this.

Is it all just about giving promo codes to the right people / review sites, and hoping their reviews spur people on to buy it?

Does a good game always find its way to the top of the tree or do some un-advertised games that are excellent - languish in the doldrums because they haven't been correctly publicised?

Why do some games (like minigore for example) get an incredible hype built up around them, whereas others seem to be less eagerly anticipated even if they are really good games?

I would be really interested to hear your views and opinions about this, and even comments around the subject.

Cheers,

Ringo
nerv media
Congratulations on releasing your first game. There were two articles we considered when marketing Earth vs Moon. I found these helpful -

http://www.mobileorchard.com/five-ti...phone-reviews/
http://www.mobileorchard.com/6-tips-...r-app-noticed/

Before we released Earth Vs Moon, we were complete novices at marketing anything, much less an iPhone app. So the articles were a good place for us to start, though it may seem basic to others. One thing we took away from the articles was the need to focus on eye-grabbing screenshots and a memorable trailer. I think that was helpful in attracting attention on the TA forum, which then led to a review by TA.

I think we emailed over 50 websites and media organizations regarding the game. Only a handful responded with reviews. We always tried to differentiate ourselves in some way in our emails. I'm sure these sites get tens of thousands of similar emails requesting reviews. In our emails for reviews, we capitalized on our sense of humor. Earth Vs Moon showcases our style of humor and we continued that in our emails to review sites. We actually got responses to humorous emails and none to our formal, business emails.

Also, utilize the forums. I'm fairly certain that many industry professionals and media sites keep a watchful eye on the TA user forums, so try to be active on them.

We were tremendously fortunate to have Apple feature us. I'm truly grateful to them for giving a little indie game that type of attention. But since no developer has control over Apple, I can't really give you any advice about that.

Marketing is hustling. It's horribly time consuming with a high rate of rejection, but we all have to do it. Good luck to all the indie developers out there.

Grace
Low Five Games Twitter
Purveyors of the delectable Earth Vs Moon and The Horrible Vikings

Last edited by lfg_grace; 07-31-2009 at 02:23 PM.
07-31-2009, 02:40 PM
#8
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 515
Thinking a bit more about giving away promo codes in the forums:

If you don't get an article on the main page, the next best opportunity to get word about your game out is in the forums.

If you give away promo codes, the recipients will often want to repay you, and will do so by giving you suggestions for improving the game.

Other people reading the thread will interpret these suggestions as problems / missing features with the current game.

If people buy the game, then the will be more likely to point out the good points of the game, in an effort to rationalize their spending.
07-31-2009, 02:43 PM
#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by shen View Post
I have also found that reviews from web sites that aren't one of the big 4 don't have any affect on sales at all.
I'm curious what sites are considered to be in the "big 4." I'm assuming (obviously) TouchArcade, PocketGamer, and... what?

Also, thanks for the great links, Grace It's encouraging to hear you say that you started out as novices in app marketing, considering the success of your game. Your advice is greatly appreciated! I'd really like to know what media organizations you contacted, though, and perhaps which ones gave you the best response. Are you talking about mainstream magazines here?
07-31-2009, 03:02 PM
#10
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 515
TouchArcade
SlideToPlay
PocketGamer.co.uk
Choose your other favorite :-)

If in doubt, you can check out the sites traffic at http://www.alexa.com/

If you can access the private developer forum, there is a thread about this at

http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=20143

If your game has a marketable niche (say a game based on guitars, or fishing, or wrestling, etc), then sites aimed at that niche might also be worthwhile contacting. They won't be getting hundreds of requests a day from developers, so will probably be more willing to work with you.

If you can write in another language, or know someone who you trust, then putting up a page for that country in iTunes is probably a good idea.

When GumDrops was free about 90% of downloads were from Japan. I imagine if I had had a Japanese iTunes description page it would have done even better.

Last edited by shen; 07-31-2009 at 03:08 PM.