marketing a game on android - QnA

zohaibhisam

  • Posts: 67
peace guys.
was just going a bit through the new games forums, and i've seen that a lot of people have questions regarding data and monetization . Ive been doing digital marketing for more years than i can count, n i thought it would help putting in some free advice where its needed.

For people who need professional help with monetizing and promoting their games, drop me a pvt. message. for general questions, feel free to post here.

Some basic terms you need to know about app monetization/marketing (ad network based or in-app purchases):

Basic Terms
DL -downloads
Impressions - number of ad impressions made in your game
Sessions - one active duration of the app (start to finish)
session time - avg. duration per session
avg. sessions per install  - (droid industry avg. is 2.2)
avg. session duration - 2 mins.
favored ad monetization type - banner (admob works best)
ERPM (est. rev. per 1000 impressions of ads) - varies between 1 to 2 USD, depending upon search terms targetted in your game (yes its context sensitive).
CTR - click through rate  - % of ads clicked by users (you only get paid 99% of the time on admob if people click the ads, else its free ads) - portrait CTR is 2-3% avg. landscape is .8% to 2% avg.
ARPDL - avg. rev. per download - for an ad based monetization model this is 0.02 USD avg.
ARPDAU - avg. rev. per daily active user - this is usually half of ARPDL (unless your game is really sticky/addictive).

Theres tons more but ill stop  here for now.

Whats needed to survive as a mobile apps developer(droid)
Depending on your country of origin, you need to make at least 20 to 100 dollars a day (minimum) to continuously make games. to do that (using the data given above)  , you need to server at least 10000-50000 impressions of ads in your games in a day.
these would require at least 5000 to 25000 daily installs. Usually it takes an indie/SME eam 6 to 12 months and around 10 - 50 games to reach self sufficiency (done it twice before for two brands, doing it again). once you have 5 to 10 games, cross promotion using interstitials (chartboost) can help bump your new games in the rankings. push power gets stronger as you make more and more games.

example success stories of indies/SMEs ive helped out as a consultant can be seen first hand on their droid stores (100+ apps on both brands, homegrown from 2 to 3 people to 50+ HR and multi million revs annually, less than an years worth of effort) .
https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=ICAW+(I+Can+And+Will)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Nutty+Apps


Resources Needed
All you need to get started is a dev guy, an art guy, a bit of exp. with sound editing and a network management/analytics guy (thats usually missing, which causes money issues). You also need basic hardware (assuming youre reading this at an online forum, id say you have a pc, a steady internet connection and a mobile device thats droid).

Questions welcome! Feel free to add me at LI - pk.linkedin.com/in/zohaibhisam/
Games (Droid)

rob1221

  • *
  • Posts: 9419
When did company-icon-in-the-corner become a thing, and why does it seem so prevalent now on mobile?  Do users actually care who makes a game?  It seems strange to me to take a good chunk of your game icon space and use it to put a generic icon which means nothing at all to new users.

Also I see a lot of reskins/clones on those two accounts, but sadly that seems to be the norm for mobile.  Those games would crash and burn on Flash, especially given their genre.

SadiQ

  • Posts: 1778
Interesting read. Marketing is something everyone wants to know something about. Hope people don't ask questions over PM's so we could all learn a few things :)
Just so I learn something...it's the guy in charge of the marketing that will give advice on how to achieve those 5k to 25k daily installs?
 Will that be possible if a game isnĀ“t REALLY that good?
What does a marketing guy actually do? Can he influence the design of a game? (as in give advice to get a better player retention and things like that)
Proud member of the League of Idiotic Stencylers! Doing things in Stencyl that probably shouldn't be done.

Fraz

  • Posts: 159
Doing the Android review website circuit recently I noticed something. A lot of these sites have a "fast-track" system where you pay and you will be guaranteed a spot on their "Featured Apps" on their site.

I know this practice is not a new thing, I just don't personally agree with it, especially among mobile developers where many of the good ones are by individuals or those who do not have a marketing budget. However if you've got the cash (can cost from anywhere from $50 up to $300 it seems) this is an easy way to get your game in front of a lot of gamers with zero effort.

That's just my two cents.

Cheers,
Fraz
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zohaibhisam

  • Posts: 67
all relevant questions saadiq.
The numbers guy  is the guy that ensures that the product is planned out to be commercially viable prior to getting into the design/dev. phase. Effort hours  are defined (e.g. for a first droid indie game, it shouldn't be more than a months worth of work, scope can be increased as you get better at what you do). Other broad metrics like target session length, k factor (virality), estimated ARPDAU/DL are chalked out. most importantly, for a start-up game to be visible at droid, it cannot create its own search recognition, it has to relate to terms already popular on the market. So a set of 10 to 20 base search terms need to be found that relate to each other and will have a decent search volume on droid by game release date (and are not completely saturated in terms of listings/competition either).  Google is all about ASO, unlike IOS and flash.

so a short answer to your question would be that the marketing guy has nothing to do with the content of the game, he just sets some realistic expectations on what will be the projection of the games performance, and how he/she will ensure its commercial viability using those numbers. a bit of tweaking in the marketing material (pre install items, title, description, creatives, ASO, even promotion ads their copy and their usage of colors) all effects CTR and game install rate.

e.g. if you've made a game about a bee, the marketing guy wont tell you to go back to the drawing board and make it about a monkey (thats the bitching guy, not the marketing guy :)). But he might tell you a search friendly name for the game, and how to do the pre-install marketing material, help you with your target keyword set, imrpove your CTRs, ad placements, and suggest decent in-app monetization.

In case of most indie games, the game is already done, so im not expecting to change scope etc. midway. this thread is about advice for how to market a prepared product. Aligning ASO (app search optimization) early before you start a game, doing some STA (search term analytics) is important, but itf it hasnt been done early, it can still be tweaked a bit before the release. The content of the game has nothing to do with it, content only effects session length/frequency.

Usually when we get into making a game, we dont consider how we will ensure its visibility to the mass market, and thats what makes most great games fail. Been playing games for a while, and i can name tons of underdog games that never made it to the big time because people never knew they were there until it was too late. Sierra, MPS, and a ton of such companies etc. ended up closing down and other companies buying their IP. EA makes a living off this frequently repeated error :)

At android, success is tied up to search term recognition. at this thread, am looking to help w.r.t. visibility and monetization for pre-prepared games, not looking to tell what 'the next indie game' should be like, that's your call all together.  Also, good advice is always free, so ask away :)

Hope this helps,

z
Games (Droid)

zohaibhisam

  • Posts: 67
Valid point Rob,
Most of the games are basically a set of 30 to 40 core algos/screens re-skinned for different popular kids themes. This way dev. takes substantially lesser time, but each game has to be done from an art perspective ona  fresh theme. Most of these games are kids kitchen games and 'how to' games.

I personally do not agree with the reskinning method, but it does have an advantage w.r.t. reducing dev. time and increasing title reach over multiple search volumes/genres.

Also, android is more than 80 % of the mobile market now, and varies drastically from flash and IOS w.r.t. its marketing strategies.
I started this thread because i felt that there's a lot of good content here on the new games posts that doesn't make it very far in android, due to the reasons listed. willing to contribute in any way i can to make that happen :)
Games (Droid)

zohaibhisam

  • Posts: 67
also, for the 'company tag on icon' thing - it kinda works w.r.t. I2IR (impression to install rate). existing users that like your games immediately recognize new titles on the mobile search listings and install, without worrying about whats in-it.  e.g. i download all com2us games, glu games and quite a few of the mobage games on droid. just to see what they are like, as com2us games always have quite a bit of depth, and glu is a frontline 3d game studio.

So if im searching 'rpg' and theres a 'com2us' logo on an icon (the smily face) - i literally dont even read the name of the title, i just install it.

2 year data says that the install rate (IR) improves by around 4 to 5%  (CTR x ir=i2ir), due to these tags, which is a LOT, esp. for games that are being pushed by advertising. If the tag is artistically crap (or if the general perception about your brands games is negative) it can also have a negative effect. which is why most starter brands dont use it.

My recommendation would be to use it, if you enjoy PLAYING (not making, playing) your own games. if youre still learning the ropes and experimenting with game design, don't use it yet (you can always do it later).
Games (Droid)

GeorgeN

  • Posts: 859
Google is all about ASO, unlike IOS and flash.

I don't agree with you on this one. Make an iOS game, put a short title, bad keywords,description,icon and screenshots and you will have 0 downloads after the initial spike of few days.  It doesn't matter if is Google Play, App Store or a fruit market, make your products to look good.

zohaibhisam

  • Posts: 67
same on google, just saying that the search term weightage given by google is greater than ios, a lot of people miss out on that. Also, major buik of IOS downloads comes from categories, while play downloads major volume comes from organic search listings.

Not advocating people should make trash games, just saying that a similar amount of effort/planning needs to be put on marketing the game too. a great game that doesnt appear in the top 20-50 on any search results will not work (which usually happens with a lot of droid indies).
Games (Droid)

Joraanpe

  • Posts: 288
same on google, just saying that the search term weightage given by google is greater than ios, a lot of people miss out on that. Also, major buik of IOS downloads comes from categories, while play downloads major volume comes from organic search listings.

Not advocating people should make trash games, just saying that a similar amount of effort/planning needs to be put on marketing the game too. a great game that doesnt appear in the top 20-50 on any search results will not work (which usually happens with a lot of droid indies).

Hmm ok the thread is cool, it clarifies what we are going to face and some of the basic terms and moves...
But what exactly do you recommend for marketing and getting people to your game hardly? In my case im a single man team that does everything here so its matter of pulishing each skill this way hehe


zohaibhisam

  • Posts: 67
if you're doing an android game, id suggest you start with a name/game type that has decent search/market recognition. check out your target genre category, see whats popular these days, try and make something original, but link it to pre-existing name recognition (thats ideal for indies that cant afford a marketing ad budget).

z
Games (Droid)

Joraanpe

  • Posts: 288
if you're doing an android game, id suggest you start with a name/game type that has decent search/market recognition. check out your target genre category, see whats popular these days, try and make something original, but link it to pre-existing name recognition (thats ideal for indies that cant afford a marketing ad budget).

z

Thanks for your reply Zoha :)
Yes, thats basically what ivd been having on mind.

Honestly i have published my game like a week ago, its named Parkour Cat.... Its funny that even typing the exact name on the search of play store android, it appears around position 10! I know that it might be because its still new, but the system is weird indeed, gotta learn how this stuff works.

By other side, i haven't done a single move of any kind of free nor paid marketing, just published it and left it there (Need to solve some stuff with linking the bank, ITIN id and stuff first)

But if you were on my case and were about to start managin marketing of this or any game, which would be your first move?

Thanks again for ur time and for sharing your experiences, its so valuable for newcomers like me :)