You would think that after developing a game for a few months, launching would mean ‘close-to-being-finished”… but in the world of social games…this is when the real work begins!
We are now on-to-square 2, analytics land. (square 1 being, MVG – minimum viable game).
Because we aren’t flowing with endless cash, we need to be VERY creative and careful with our marketing strategies & spend. (Even if we had endless cash, being smart/creative is still advised 🙂
The ways to market games on Facebook is quite limited to buying players (CPC, installs, cross-promos), we have an option of app strips aka in-game ad banner bars aka cross promotion ad strips. Others use off-site SEO tactics, email marketing, joint ventures, player sharing etc. but if you don’t have those channels setup or money to hire an external marketing team to manage this for you, you will have the opportunity to do it yourself and learn all the ins and outs. This is where we are currently at with marketing and though we have some alliances already in the game willing to ‘potentially help us’ out, I always feel better setting JVs when there are mutual benefits to both parties involved. Something for down the road when we get our initial numbers and the MVG straight.
Test & Tune
Our game is designed with many viral engagement features, but in order to test the effectiveness (our K-factor) we definitely need some traffic first and foremost.
I am currently trying to come up with the most cost-effect strategy of how to market our game while also tuning our product at the same time, with the latter being the priority.
Our initial main objective is not actually to market and drive users, but to a/b test our product and get some data flowing through it so we can do some analytics testing. Test & Tune, I guess you can call this next phase for us. Aside from buying traffic, I have been in research about what appstrip, in-game ad banner bars or cross promotion ad strip to include in the launch and they all pretty much do the same thing. Im also thinking about rotating between them and testing with how players respond if we put one on top, one on the bottom… maybe one on the left side…heck while I am at it, one on the right side too? Completely frame the game? Lol… j/k. But I just might a/b test that 😉
I will be able to share what traffic per players costs from ad strips vs. direct Facebook soon – a number I am very interested in knowing myself. I spent an hour on the phone with Facebook April 8, 2013 and they currently do not have a CPI (cost per install) model, even though the wording on their setup page requests you to bid by install. This is a mistake as you are still bidding on an estimated best guess by CPM (cost per thousand impressions) and this includes their mobile marketing. I currently do not know which method is cheaper or more effective, but Facebook seems to do a good job with their power editor. Will have to test and see about that too.
Here is a list of a different promo app / cross promotion bars I am considering and some alternative revenue sources (all are free to implement):
Every time your user clicks on another app in maudau, you will get a click coming back to your app. 100% transparent reporting features 20 million DAU cross platform distribution. Using maudau is totally free. In addition, they offer 5000 free credits for new accounts.
The appstrip bar is designed to be adaptable. Users click on an ad on your Appstrip bar. In exchange your add is displayed on the appstrip network to millions of new players. This service is completely free but we do give you the ability to buy credits to drive more traffic to your game if you wish. Offers: custom skins, cpc, genre targeting, real time stats.
Applifier is self-claimed as trusted by over 800 games by hundreds of developers on various platforms to provide them with cross-promotion. Delivered over 120 million installs to date. Free to use.
How it works: Instead of paying you directly a user is given the option to act on an offer by taking a survey, watching a video, or signing up for a new service in exchange for virtual currency or other in-game advancements. Advertiser partner subsidizes a user’s engagement within a game by paying you, thus giving you revenue for non-paying users.
There are 2 that I know about off the top of my head (I copied their marketing lingo for you), but I am sure there are more up and coming.
Playerize Offer Wall
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Ill let you know what we decided on and how it worked for us in up-coming posts.
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