What makes a mobile game successful? Is it the best graphics, the right monetisation model, the ability to keep players engaged? All of those things certainly contribute to bringing home the bacon, but the data shows us that it is marketing and advertising, especially using video, that really separate the winners from losers in the mobile gaming market.
The mobile gaming industry is a fast growing sector that is continuously breaking financial records, turning of a record breaking 41 Billion Dollars in 2016. As of this year, mobile games make up a massive 75% of revenue on Apple’s App Store and a monstrous 90% of revenue on Google’s Play Store.
This growth creates massive opportunities, but it also means that the market has become so competitive that consumers have become extremely discerning about what they will put on their phone or tablet. Most people will hesitate to install a new app on their beloved device, just to see if a game is worth their time. In order to attract as many mobile device users as possible to your product, you are going to have to sell it to your customers. By far the most effective way to do this is with video.
How do you market a mobile game as a small independent developer on a limited budget?
If the data is to be believed, the biggest spenders on marketing are making the biggest ROIs.
The majority of game downloads are the result of clicking on 2 adverts. Meaning that the customer saw and clicked on an advert for that game, twice before they actually downloaded it.
This means that there is a massive opportunity to win users over to your product, simply by presenting it at the right time and in the right way.
We are dealing with an all or nothing market, where the most aggressive marketers get the biggest returns, but the majority of under-funded marketing campaigns flounder at the bottom. It is no surprise that the average spend for app developers on marketing is in the region of £49,000 in the lead up to launch.
Machine War, known for Mobile Strike and Game of War have been leveraging aggressive marketing to great effect with Mobile Strike being a top grossing app in both 2015 and 2016 in spite of being extremely poorly received. A disappointment for the gaming industry no doubt but truly a testament to the power of effective video advertising. Their TV advert featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger was a massive success. The $6million dollar Super Bowl advertising slot certainly helped, but the advert going viral on Youtube afterwards sealed the deal. Mobile Strikes Superbowl advert was the most watched Youtube video in 2016.
While the data shows that bigger spends reap greater ROI. With smart allocation of resources you can put videos showing what’s unique about your mobile game, right in front of the customers who will care about it. Currently, thanks to the wide accessibility and convenience of the medium. targeted video ads currently offer the best bang for your buck in terms of ROI.
Is social video good for mobile games?
Facebook themselves predict that all advertising on the platform will eventually move towards video, due to its comparable effectiveness over other traditional text and picture based advertising.
Both Facebook and Google both favour video quite heavily in their algorithms also, meaning that a medium spend on video will often outpace a large spend on traditional text/photo adverts.
The ability to target specific demographics, makes social video particularly useful for game developers. Finding users that have a track record of downloading and playing games on their mobile devices means that it is far easier to reel them in with quality video advertising. Social video is also a good way to test video content for viability before moving on towards more traditional video marketing. You can take full advantage of data driven content tweaking online before investing bigger money into video billboards or tv advertising.
Should I only show gameplay when making a video for my mobile game?
While it is important to show how the mechanics of your how your game functions, it should be just as important to capture the concepts, moods and feelings that make your game engaging to people. Filmmaking and video are particularly good for this as we are hardwired to look to other humans to understand emotion . Nothing portrays a mood or feeling better than the expressions on a human face. Use this to your advantage.
Narrative makes it easier for people to understand ideas. If you can tell a human story that captures the mood of your game, people will be drawn in more easily.
How do I go about making video content for my games?
As a game developer, you will no doubt have tools at your disposal to record the content of your game. The increasing quality of phone cameras and the widespread availability of free or nearly free video editing software, means that you could probably put together passable content yourself. Failing that, there are a variety of e-lancing platforms that offer competent freelancers, provided you don’t mind overseeing the project yourself.
It can be hard to make your video stand out from the crowd and taking on a video project can be an unwelcome challenge on top of running your business. In some cases, it is worth reaching out to a trusted film production company that specialises in social video.
If you have any questions, ideas or experiences on the use of video for marketing mobile games; why not drop a comment in the comment section below?