Mobile gaming is a booming market with fierce competition. Major titles skyrocket to the top of the charts, and there’s always a new and improved version of everything just around the corner. Because of this, it is not uncommon to see a game development company releasing a polished and original product that never gets traction, overshadowed by louder competitors. To avoid this pitfall, one must understand the intricacies of mobile game marketing and use them to create a truly unique proposition.
Mind the Audience
This one probably sounds too obvious to be mentioned at all. However, the mobile game market is still different enough from its console and PC counterparts to mess up an otherwise solid marketing effort. The most apparent difference is the preferences of the audience, which is more keen on short bursts of fun than sprawling adventures of traditional games. This is confirmed simply by looking at the most popular genres on the platform:
– Collectible card games
In other words, mobile gamers prefer products with short but feature-rich gameplay loops – a tried formula that aligns well with the mobile platform. These gameplay loops are what you want to capitalize on in your marketing campaign. A rich plot may be a welcome, if somewhat unexpected, addition to your game but it would hardly get any heads turned when showcased in the trailer. A cleverly placed witty dialog piece or a glimpse of the addictive gameplay mechanic, on the other hand, can make a difference, so make sure to display what matters to your audience the most.
Use Platform’s Strengths
Another important feature of the mobile market segment is the advertising potential. Mobile products are generally easier to advertise through digital channels – simply because they are general-purpose devices in comparison to more specialized hardware like consoles. Popular mobile platforms are also equipped with various analytical tools like app conversion tracking, which makes the marketing process seamless. When combined, these tools can give an unprecedented level of control over the promotion process, so be sure not to skip on them.
Come Up With a Memorable Title
A runner up in the list of obvious things to say about marketing, yet somehow still among the most neglected pieces of advice in today’s mobile development scene. The competition in the mobile app market is fierce, with many contenders opting for chasing the success of industry leaders instead of paving their own path. Similarly, the mobile game segment is not exactly a breeding ground for innovation, with the majority of developers choosing to play it safe by mimicking the tried formulas.
Of course, there is a difference between adding a unique twist to a familiar game and creating a carbon copy with redrawn assets. Game titles are the worst offenders in this regard. So much so, in fact, that seasoned gamers will avoid titles that sound derivative without ever checking them out. A recycled name may give you a boost in downloads early on, yet in the long run, it will drag your game to the bottom of charts no matter how brilliant the product is. Don’t afraid to be bold – and maybe it’s your game that will become the new leading brand aped by also-rans.
Social media platforms remain in top positions of popular apps charts, rivaled only by messengers. For millennials, which are one of the most numerous demographics in the market, they are an essential component of the online experience. So a good place to start would be to use social media as an advertisement platform. Anyone who engages with social media through a phone is more likely to also be interested in mobile games, (in contrast to the general videogame audience, which is more diverse and nuanced).
A more original approach would be to integrate social media functionality into the game. For instance, you can give the players an opportunity to share their experience with friends. This can take any form, from letting them brag about new records to sharing cryptic and intriguing messages that showcase a unique setting. The social component is particularly prominent in the mobile domain, so do not miss the opportunity to use it to your advantage.
Engage with the Community
No matter how elaborate the marketing campaign, the real ties with the game are formed within the community. There are hundreds of places on the Internet where gamers congregate to exchange tips, find worthy opponents, and form alliances:
– Game-specific Wikis
In addition to being active social hubs, these places can be a valuable source of feedback, or even offer insights on feasible directions to take in the development process. A word of caution, though: when engaging with the audience directly, be mindful of what you actually can or cannot do. Making grandiose claims in the ad is one thing, promising something on the forum and failing to deliver is another, and there is more than one project out there that was ruined by just that.
Mobile games are an interesting niche with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Its demographic and gaming conventions are quite different from the general video game audience. Incidentally, the platform itself offers quite a few possibilities for marketing. Capitalizing on these opportunities will not only help your product become visible but can actually create a product that goes beyond the traditional game concepts and creates a unique experience.