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Advice needed for promotion with budget and game review

09-09-2014, 10:48 AM
#1
Joined: Sep 2014
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 58
Advice needed for promotion with budget and game review

We are new mobile game company IF Interactive. We had recently released a new game:
https://itunes.apple.com/app/arrow-c/id899484692
https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...alMedia.ArrowC

However, the number of downloads is way too low. It is less than 5k downloads in a month (iOS + Android). We have already spent some money for promotion and advertisement but is not effective. Would need some tips for how to do it effectively. Of course we do not have huge budget to advertise on TV but we can spend up to 10k for it.

Here are the things we did so far:
- Sent email to around 50 review sites that can found on Google. But no one would do a review for us for free. However we tried to pay for one of them for a review, the reason will be mentioned below.
- Sent email to around 30 youtubers for those who had videos related to mobile games. But so far only 2 of them with low views helped us to make video reviews for free.
- Setup ad with Chartboost. We had spent nearly 1k on it. Almost 90% of the downloads from USA and Canada come from this. Imagine how terrible it is, almost no downloads (since we do not have good app store ranking) from NA if we didn't even pay.
- Opened about 20 forum posts. Most of them searched from Google. But seldom has response.
- Setup facebook page, but no feedback from users so far.

We tried to do everything we could and even try to spend money on promotion but the result is quite disappointing. Hope someone can give us some advices.

And the reason we pay for a review because almost all reviews from App Store and Google Play are 5 stars reviews, and no real negative feedback. However, among 5k downloads, we got 0 revenue from IAP which is quite terrible. People who spoke love your game, but no one pay. So we want to get some feedback from professionals and so we tried to pay for a review. However no really useful comment so far. Would love to hear some feedbacks if anyone can try out our game. Thanks everyone.

In case someone will mention our app icon is not outstanding enough, here is the new app icon we are trying to modify (in app store review now)
09-09-2014, 04:31 PM
#2
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,065
Do you have any analytics on how long people play the game?

The screenshots don't clearly tell user what you do in the game and once I realised I wasn't that interested in it.

I don't think the icon is better. It is really confusing.

Please follow me on twitter @JamesDestined I post lots of development from both my game creation and professional development.
Time to measure - Brain challenge https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/time...820864672?mt=8
The light box, can you solve it (free) (on google play too)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-...6300?ls=1&mt=8

09-09-2014, 06:27 PM
#3
Joined: Sep 2013
Location: Auckland
Posts: 114
Sadly it is not 2008 any more. And as apple just said in their talk there are over 1.3 million apps in the app store. Of which they basically feature 20 a week. So you have to be something extra special to get featured, and most of the time apple are going to judge this on the number of downloads you get to decide it you should be featured anyway.

So your only hope with your first game is either a clone, which I have talked about in other posts. Or make something that is so so good that it spreads by word of mouth, combined with a lot of luck of getting picked up by some good youtubers. For this to work you need a game that teenagers like, and also needs a name that is easy to find. And Arrow C is not that at all, someone plays your game, tells their friends "this game is great", friend says "what is it called?", "Arrow". First the name is so generic that the friend forgets it, second when they search for "Arrow" your game is not there.

I don't want to say this in a cynical or hurtful way. I have endured this rollercoaster of emotions as well. Particularly with my first few apps, the dream of success meeting the reality of the app store. But it is very good to have passion and excitement, because you can succeed on the app store, but you must be willing to really learn and adapt and keep on trying. It is certainly not as simple as the "build it and they will come" attitude that worked for a small number back at the start, but it can be done.

In terms of IAP, if this is low it is probably an indication that people do not enjoy your game as much as you expected, and are giving up on it too early to need to buy any IAP.
So I think before you risk wasting 10k on marketing, you need to take a long hard look at whether it is worth going on with this. If this was one of my apps, I would give up on it and make another app. You have to be very very honest with yourself in the app world if you want to survive.

The lessons you should learn are, 1. make games for teenagers, 2. search is the only way your game is found, so call it something smart to leverage this.
09-09-2014, 07:06 PM
#4
Joined: Sep 2014
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Destined View Post
Do you have any analytics on how long people play the game?

The screenshots don't clearly tell user what you do in the game and once I realised I wasn't that interested in it.

I don't think the icon is better. It is really confusing.
We have implemented analytic system in the game and will be available in the next update. About the screenshots, any suggestion to make it better? Because shooting the ball and hitting blocks are all you need to do in the game and we have included in the screenshots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OnlyJoe View Post
Sadly it is not 2008 any more. And as apple just said in their talk there are over 1.3 million apps in the app store. Of which they basically feature 20 a week. So you have to be something extra special to get featured, and most of the time apple are going to judge this on the number of downloads you get to decide it you should be featured anyway.

So your only hope with your first game is either a clone, which I have talked about in other posts. Or make something that is so so good that it spreads by word of mouth, combined with a lot of luck of getting picked up by some good youtubers. For this to work you need a game that teenagers like, and also needs a name that is easy to find. And Arrow C is not that at all, someone plays your game, tells their friends "this game is great", friend says "what is it called?", "Arrow". First the name is so generic that the friend forgets it, second when they search for "Arrow" your game is not there.

I don't want to say this in a cynical or hurtful way. I have endured this rollercoaster of emotions as well. Particularly with my first few apps, the dream of success meeting the reality of the app store. But it is very good to have passion and excitement, because you can succeed on the app store, but you must be willing to really learn and adapt and keep on trying. It is certainly not as simple as the "build it and they will come" attitude that worked for a small number back at the start, but it can be done.

In terms of IAP, if this is low it is probably an indication that people do not enjoy your game as much as you expected, and are giving up on it too early to need to buy any IAP.
So I think before you risk wasting 10k on marketing, you need to take a long hard look at whether it is worth going on with this. If this was one of my apps, I would give up on it and make another app. You have to be very very honest with yourself in the app world if you want to survive.

The lessons you should learn are, 1. make games for teenagers, 2. search is the only way your game is found, so call it something smart to leverage this.
Thanks for your opinion. We make this game because many of us are actually enjoying with the gameplay. It is unique and challenging. That's why we had confidence to promote it, we ourselves think that the gameplay has much more potential than twodots and 2048. But of course those are our own feeling. What do you think about the game after you try it?

For the name, one of our staffs tells us that Arrow is a hot movie in US and arrow is one of the elements in our game so we stick on it. We have tried to search "Arrow C" in itunes it should be the first result. Anyway we will consider any name. Thanks for it.

Last edited by IF Interactive; 09-09-2014 at 07:27 PM.
09-11-2014, 12:37 PM
#5
Joined: Jan 2014
Location: VietNam
Posts: 42
Send a message via Skype™ to vbnn2
Hello,
I played your game two or three times 2 weeks ago. I was in your both situations.
First is my game is reviewed good by users but just some people purchase IAP, so this is not the gameplay's fault, you must to find why people don't buy IAP. My first game is 1Path, people love it, but they don't purchase IAP, not because the cost or something like that, that because people want to pass level by themself, trying to not use supporting item and they want to get 3 stars by themself too.
The second situation is my second game, i have some relationship with journalist in my country so i think the marketing in my country is good, i got many good review and it make me think this game will be success. But no, outside of my country, no one know the game although i send the presskit to hundreds of review site. There is many resons lead to this fail. I can write a list here:
- Your game is to simple
- Your game is too mainstream, or did not have any difference
- The presskit do not impress reviewer since they have a lot of mail per day
- Your email title is not impress, not every mail reviewer will open
- The way you name your game, unique but maybe make people hard to search and remember. (mine is 1Path and 5Numbers - i make the keyword 5 Numbers too but when i search on AppStore, i can't see my game)
- And many reason... that i don't know or remember

As an indie with 1 year experience and 2 games (1 medium and 1 small) working alone, i know you spend a lot of time, thinking of it and hope it will success, but now everything is getting harder. I make game because of my passion. I can see you have passion too. So keep going, make a game that you like, and people will like it. Don't go for a mainstream of clone game (this is my opinion). The more time you create game, the more experience you gain, one day you will be success Try your best at least 10 games =))))))

Creator of 1Path, 5Numbers game

Last edited by vbnn2; 09-11-2014 at 12:41 PM.
09-11-2014, 07:10 PM
#6
Joined: Sep 2014
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by vbnn2 View Post
Hello,
I played your game two or three times 2 weeks ago. I was in your both situations.
First is my game is reviewed good by users but just some people purchase IAP, so this is not the gameplay's fault, you must to find why people don't buy IAP. My first game is 1Path, people love it, but they don't purchase IAP, not because the cost or something like that, that because people want to pass level by themself, trying to not use supporting item and they want to get 3 stars by themself too.
The second situation is my second game, i have some relationship with journalist in my country so i think the marketing in my country is good, i got many good review and it make me think this game will be success. But no, outside of my country, no one know the game although i send the presskit to hundreds of review site. There is many resons lead to this fail. I can write a list here:
- Your game is to simple
- Your game is too mainstream, or did not have any difference
- The presskit do not impress reviewer since they have a lot of mail per day
- Your email title is not impress, not every mail reviewer will open
- The way you name your game, unique but maybe make people hard to search and remember. (mine is 1Path and 5Numbers - i make the keyword 5 Numbers too but when i search on AppStore, i can't see my game)
- And many reason... that i don't know or remember

As an indie with 1 year experience and 2 games (1 medium and 1 small) working alone, i know you spend a lot of time, thinking of it and hope it will success, but now everything is getting harder. I make game because of my passion. I can see you have passion too. So keep going, make a game that you like, and people will like it. Don't go for a mainstream of clone game (this is my opinion). The more time you create game, the more experience you gain, one day you will be success Try your best at least 10 games =))))))
Thanks for your experience. Actually all your points make sense and are true for many indies, but you will find that many games on top chart have the same problem. I really can't see any special in ketchapp's games or other games that was top 1 before. I believe that's part of luck plus way of promotion, though I haven't figured out what it is
09-12-2014, 08:03 AM
#7
Joined: Sep 2013
Location: Auckland
Posts: 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by IF Interactive View Post
Thanks for your experience. Actually all your points make sense and are true for many indies, but you will find that many games on top chart have the same problem. I really can't see any special in ketchapp's games or other games that was top 1 before. I believe that's part of luck plus way of promotion, though I haven't figured out what it is
Its called copy an already great game and make it for iOS first, 2048. Then cross promote your other games. Although I don't think ketchapp makes original games, they just copy existing fun games. Which is a good model really, reduces the risk of making a fun game. But its not a very creative model if you are trying to make something different.

Also in your app, I think the level progression is too steep. I got to that level where you have to bounce the ball of the corner of the square and gave up because it kept going the wrong way. Also it is very confusing what actually makes the ball change color, so I found it more frustrating than fun
09-12-2014, 08:52 AM
#8
Hello,

I am an indie game dev to. And same problem of visibility. I have made 3 games and just release my last with the same method(soft launch, PR, Pay User acquisition, blog, twitter, forum a little)....

And only 4500 downloads for now and the 30 days visibility in top new will end soon.

Now i must add my game on every anrdoid store and make an ios, black berry release.
09-12-2014, 10:48 AM
#9
Joined: Sep 2014
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnlyJoe View Post
Its called copy an already great game and make it for iOS first, 2048. Then cross promote your other games. Although I don't think ketchapp makes original games, they just copy existing fun games. Which is a good model really, reduces the risk of making a fun game. But its not a very creative model if you are trying to make something different.

Also in your app, I think the level progression is too steep. I got to that level where you have to bounce the ball of the corner of the square and gave up because it kept going the wrong way. Also it is very confusing what actually makes the ball change color, so I found it more frustrating than fun
Could you tell me which level you stucked on, so I can try to fix it?

And do you mean you don't understand why the ball changes color and you don't understand how the ball changes color? Did you skip the tutorial at the beginning or the tutorial is not clear enough?

Thanks for reply.
09-19-2014, 01:14 AM
#10
5000 downloads within a month sounds pretty good to me?
People not spending on IAPs is an another issue though, but you shouldn't be complaining about the number of downloads.
For puzzle games, adding Ad banners can be more effective than selling IAPs. Have you considered it?