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Marketing my latest mobile game - post mortem of the first month

07-22-2015, 11:37 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 9
Marketing my latest mobile game - post mortem of the first month

Article from my indie dev blog

So about a month ago I published my second game. Never thought I would go this far, but I guess this really makes me an indie developer, no doubt about it. My first game was released last year, just a trial to understand the development and publishing process from start to finish. I outsourced everything. Obviously it did not give tangible results, but I learned a lot, which was the point.

Now with my new game Planet Lander, I really want to go all the way with marketing strategies and tools for a lone indie dev like me. Just listing all my actions from the first month can work as a to-do list, since I’m quite positive these are all necessary things to accomplish for a successful launch. Is my game successful? Can’t say for now, but at least I did have some results. So read on:

There are tons of great info on indie game marketing out there, but if I had to pick something that stands out, it’s this 3 hour video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd2IHO2xBrY from http://vgamemarketing.com/ Watch all of it, and check out their site, it is extremely informative.

The specific marketing elements to address, pretty much all at once and as soon as possible:


First, the name. I wanted two descriptive words. I needed “lander” since it’s a particular genre and checking with the tools listed below it’s not overcrowded. With some trials I ended up with “Planet Lander”, simple and to the point.
Some say ASO is a waste of time; still it does not take too long to gather a list of words to help your store visibility. I used basic free tools from these ASO sites to help me determine what keywords to include in my store listings and how I rank in relation to direct “competitors”.
On-line branding

Built a landing page with a clear call to action for downloading the game on the available platforms.
Made a press kit page, for all the info and assets related. http://dopresskit.com/ for guidelines.
Twitter feed, Facebook page, Google+ page, Youtube channel with demos, LinkedIn page, Pinterest board. Anything and everything posted is spread across all.

Review websites

Emailed over 150 websites that are mobile game friendly, to ask for a review of Planet Lander, mention its release or list the game on the site. Some replied with offers for paid reviews. A couple of posts and tweets about the game, all giving a great instant boost in downloads. I’m sending a follow-up e-mail to all the sites that did not write back since a few weeks have passed and the results are very good if you get coverage.

Contacted over 75 YouTubers that *might* be interested in reviewing mobile games. It’s much harder to record decent videos from handhelds screens, so very few are interested in mobile games.
I got one video review (modest but friendly YouTuber), instant results; nothing else yet except a few followings on my Twitter account.
Press releases

Published a press release for the launch of the game. Using only 3 press sites suggested by vgamemarketing.com/, (two are free, one is only 30$ for two releases) it got me a lot of visibility and added credibility. With this I got a great interview from GameZone about the inspiration for Planet Lander, that was awesome!
Game Dev community

Just started on Reddit, already got great feedback. Contributing to the diffrent indie forums such as this one. I used to write a blog about digital effects and running a VFX studio, I am going back to it with a game dev blog on all my efforts.

With all this work I now have around 2,000 Android downloads and 500 iOS downloads; most of them from peaks following the actions above. Daily numbers are low but steady and growing each day. I’m happy to see return users every day and the feedback is good - so all I really need to do is get the game noticed.

It is a lot of work, but I was prepared for it. I am still not certain of the short term results considering my lack of experience in this particular market. But every day I break new grounds, the numbers are growing slowly but surely and the feedback is good. Also I am a very stubborn entrepreneur so I will continue until I have tried everything I can.

I wonder what’s better when contacting journalists and game review sites: send a short, concise message (it worked with the press release to get a thorough interview on GameZone) or throw all the information at hand, links and graphics in the message and help get your word out (it worked for instant coverage and mentions on some game review sites)

And of course you can check out my game Planet Lander on the App store!

Marc Bourbonnais
Djee Games

Last edited by DjeeGames; 07-27-2015 at 10:07 AM.
07-23-2015, 12:53 AM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 6
Wow, congratulations for your success and thanks for sharing this.

I agree, I've heard a lot of developers say ASO is not worth it but when you're an indie dev, all the money that's not going into paid marketing should be converted into ASO effort for organic discovery. You should check out Tasnim's comment here for better keyword research, it taught me a lot: http://iphonedevsdk.com/discussion/c...Comment_496024

Regarding journalists/game review sites, I think you should provide them with all the information they need to write a good article when it's for immediate release. Big website don't have time for countless e-mail exchanges.

Good luck with your app and keep us posted!

07-24-2015, 09:00 AM
Joined: Jul 2015
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 9
Thanks for the link, good stuff!
07-26-2015, 03:07 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 4
Thanks for sharing your experience and insights, Marc. Some very useful resources there.

I'm just in the process of launching our first iOS game and boy, this marketing and promotion stuff is a lot of work for someone who never did this before. I actually severely underestimated this aspect and only realized once I started learning about it.

Cheers, and best of luck with your game and any future project.
07-26-2015, 08:52 PM
Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 11
Thanks for sharing such a detailed account of your experience! It's tough out there. Good luck to you!
08-08-2015, 12:11 PM
Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 15
Great post, very informative.
08-08-2015, 05:40 PM
Its a little disheartening you only have 2,500 downloads after all your marketing efforts. But obviously it would be a lot worse without those efforts!
08-11-2015, 11:57 PM
Great post! Thanks for sharing.

- currently developing: Epic Skater 2
08-12-2015, 10:35 AM
thanks pal, this is very informative, i wish you the best of lucks!
08-20-2015, 02:03 AM
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 1
Tks for the great post, it helped me alot for knowing the real harsh world out there. Still, with all that efforts and just 500 IOS downloads, that's just shocking news to me @_@