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How (or where?) to market a word game

10-05-2009, 11:31 PM
#1
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 9
How (or where?) to market a word game

I am preparing for the (hopefully very soon!) release of my game "Word Ghost", I am looking around for marketing ideas. As a word game, it's pretty much a niche product, so I am interested in hearing if anyone has suggestions on how to go about marketing such a beast. I also started a thread in the Upcoming Releases forum, though folks did not really seem taken with the concept so far.

I have two specific areas where I am dying for input:
1. Has anyone had success with actual advertising for a paid ($.99) app on, say, AdWords? It seems like the conversion rate would have to be EXTREMELY high to make this worthwhile.

2. If you are familiar with the word game "Ghost", which is the basis for this game, would you take a look at my explanatory copy here and let me know if it makes sense? Ideally I would like to be able to describe the game AND fit a bit.ly link to the app store in a single twitter message.

Thank you!
Will

Altidude :: altitude conversion app for runners
Word Ghost :: strategy based spelling game, no opponent needed!
@awesomesoft on twitter
10-06-2009, 01:39 AM
#2
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,512
I'll be watching this thread

Front Page Tug Boat Chief Engineer
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preview thread (Fuzion is still in development)

10-06-2009, 04:47 AM
#3
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: UK / Toronto
Posts: 602
That's an extremely difficult game concept to market… you're very limited in what you can do, particularly with keywords, but it's not impossible to advertise it.

I have personally never played "HORSE" but if you believe enough people are familiar with that game, I would advertise it off of that familiarity. Otherwise, my next suggestion would be to condense the basic gameplay concept into a quick animated banner. You could also, hopefully, get a few positive review quotes you can use as well.

Ultimately, you should be researching for websites with communities who enjoy word games… Scrabble is a big game that's got a big similarity to your game. There are also various TV shows throughout the world based on word games, and those surely have plenty of fans across various forums, Twitter and Facebook groups you can target. Community sites for word games may be rare, but hopefully you'll have the advantage that they'll be relatively amateur enough that you can benefit from cheap advertising rates. Maybe look at long-term affiliations with any modest community websites you come across.

Moving away from the net, I'd go as far as to look at getting exposure in the crossword and puzzle sections at the backs of newspapers. Hugely popular and a huge focus on your target market, many of whom could easily have iPhones. You may not be able to afford the large newspapers, but I'd definitely investigate my local papers to experiment advertising in those sections, and then move onto other local papers throughout America if it proves viably popular. (I purposely said 'America' as the iPhone isn't as popular in other countries yet – I've seen reports from developers stating 90% of their sales revenue comes solely from the US, so I would recommend US papers more than other countries, but you could certainly look into other countries newspapers as well.)

If you live in a small town, your new 'venture' into iPhone Apps might prove a good local story, which will get your app in front of anything from a few thousand to a tens of thousands of eyeballs, nothing to sniff at.

That's about all I can think of, I'm afraid! And I'm sure most of those you've already thought of yourself.

I'll be interested to see what better suggestions others can give, I wouldn't be surprised if there's something really obvious that I've missed.

Above everything else: Good Luck!
10-06-2009, 12:46 PM
#4
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Portland, OR, Cascadia
Posts: 332
Quote:
It seems like the conversion rate would have to be EXTREMELY high to make this worthwhile.
Bingo on this one. Though this is tough in general. It's hard to make money when the product is only going to bring in $1-$2 of revenue per copy sold. In fact, I won't name names, but I advertised through a site that netted me so few clicks that I would have needed a 100% buys per clicks rate to break even.

I agree with the other poster. Place your advertisements with laser-like precision. I plan on eventually blogging about this, but it's not hard to do the math to see that generic ads won't bring in more money than they cost.

Last edited by xenoclone; 10-06-2009 at 12:51 PM.
10-06-2009, 07:34 PM
#5
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 9
Thanks everyone for your votes of confidence and advice!
Xenoclone, I suspected that highly specified ad-targeting would be important for this project. Of course I like to imagine that my game is incredibly fascinating to play, but even if that turns out to be true it will surely not be enough.

Pharmx, I am humbled just looking at the screenshots of your game, mine does not look nearly as good! I will be really interested to play yours when it is available.

EssentialParadox, thank you especially for the suggestion to branch out to facebook, twitter, and even newspapers. I will keep an eye out for communities that might be interested!

This game actually has much, much wider appeal than my first published app, so I hope I am going in the right direction moving into a bigger niche!!

Altidude :: altitude conversion app for runners
Word Ghost :: strategy based spelling game, no opponent needed!
@awesomesoft on twitter
10-08-2009, 07:43 PM
#6
I have had a close look at a lot of the word games on itunes! The majority seem to have a bunch of letters touching each other and a player has to make words by rearranging the given letters. That market has to be impossible to crack! Since the competition is in the hundreds of similar apps. Wronco the best chance of success is to have a word product that breaks the mould of existing word games. If "Word Ghost" provides a different experience you will do well enough to be encouraged to make more apps.....
10-08-2009, 11:12 PM
#7
My word game: Word Connect, gained good reviews, it is different from other word games, but sold only a little. I also want to know how to promote it or where to promote it.

Word Connect :: A different take on word games!
Escape Away: First Mission :: Arcade action game.
10-08-2009, 11:54 PM
#8
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 501
wronco,

I want to let you know upfront that I' am just a marketing intern but nevertheless I will of course share my thoughts as I consider myself to be somewhat of a marketing genius

some pointers off the top of my head:

leverage social media marketing i wouldn't put much faith in adverts -- basically focus on building out (as in adding friends) to myspace and facebook profiles, utilize youtube for some gameplay vids, and twitter of course

if your feeling creative you can put in some effort to try and ramp up the art style and UI a bit make it fitting for a Halloween themed word game which would actually work since its like the word game "Ghost" might pick up some exposure just because your app has a Halloween theme -- if you can get it out before or right on Halloween that is

if not don't worry and focus on promoting the app itself as is and the upcoming multi player aspect

lastly,

i also agree with what the other guys have said in this thread in that its extremely difficult to market such a product i really cant come up with anything other then the Halloween theme idea but kudos on the effort for sure as an idea guy/marketing guy im a dime a dozen i just wish i knew how to write some code

anyways hope this helps

D
10-09-2009, 01:36 AM
#9
Message to Kooworx!

I wouldn't buy your word game! Your App description needs a complete make over. More than half your potential customers are turned off, before they would even look closer at your game! You are messing with players that love to read well formulated and complete sentences. If your game was anything but a word game you might get away with this app description, but not for a word game.

You asked for help and advice. You need to improve the English in your game to gain the respect of word fanatics. With your present copy you are not making a great first impression! The few seconds you have to make the sale are ruined .....

Spend the money to get professional help and you will see an improvement in sales.
10-09-2009, 03:55 AM
#10
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Amsterdam, NL
Posts: 68
I may be speaking out of my depth here since I don't really play word games or understand the habits of those that do, and it's quite possible the market is too small or indistinguishable for this to work, but you might be able to take advantage of your niche by contacting other developers of similar games and figuring out a way to cross-promote apps to your respective users.

Also, your copy is instructive, but doesn't really communicate why or how I would have fun with the game if I'm not already a word game enthusiast to begin with.

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