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LAFS Marketing and Monetization Lecture 6: Advertising and Publicity


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Level 6 of the Los Angeles Film School's Marketing and Monetization class.

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LAFS Marketing and Monetization Lecture 6: Advertising and Publicity

  1. 1. Level 6 David Mullich Marketing and Monetization The Los Angeles Film School
  2. 2. Media
  3. 3. Owned, Earned and Paid Media Owned Communication channels you own Your Website, email list, online forum Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel Earned Coverage you earn Word-of-mouth through Facebook/Twitter chatter, view count for your YouTube videos, reviews and articles about your game Paid Media you pay for Website banner ads, billboards, television commercials.
  4. 4. Advertising vs. Public Relations Advertising is paid media. Public relations (aka PR or publicity) is earned media. ”Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.”
  5. 5. Advertising vs. Public Relations
  6. 6. Advertising vs. Public Relations Factor Advertising Public Relations Cost You pay for ad space You try to get free coverage Control You have creative control over what goes into the ad You have no control over how, or if, the media presents your information Shelf Life You can run ads for as long as your budget allows You can submit a press release about a new game only once Consumers Skeptical of ads Trusting of publicity Creativity Designing ads Generating buzz
  7. 7. Advertising vs. Public Relations Factor Advertising Public Relations Contacts Media (advertising) salespeople The media (press) Target Your customers Editors Visibility No direct contact with customers Lots of contact with the media Good Deeds Rarely advertised Often publicized Writing Style “Buy this product! Act now! Call today!” No-nonsense news format
  8. 8. Which is more effective?
  9. 9. Which is more effective? A recent study from 2014 by Nielsen commissioned by inPowered on the role of content in the consumer decision-making process concluded that public relations is almost 90% more effective than advertising.
  11. 11. Newspaper Advertising
  12. 12. What are the pros and cons of newspaper advertising?
  13. 13. Newspaper Advertising PRO  Broad reach within a defined market area  Offers targeting capability with regional delivery and special advertising sections  Marketplace for competitive price shopping CON  Decreasing market penetration and readership with many newspapers reaching less than 50 percent penetration  Low younger audience (18-24) readership  Costly frequency medium  Some ad recall studies show less than 50 percent of newspaper readers recall noting ads  Ad clutter
  14. 14. Magazine Advertising
  15. 15. What are the pros and cons of magazine advertising?
  16. 16. Magazine Advertising PRO  High degree of selective targeting based on demographics, product affinity, or lifestyle  High production quality  Focused editorial environment  Regional editions offer localized targeting capabilities CON  Specific issue audience data is not typically available  Magazines produce minimal short term (daily/weekly) reach  Broad market reach is difficult to achieve because of niche readership behavior
  17. 17. Radio Advertising
  18. 18. What are the pros and cons of radio advertising?
  19. 19. Radio Advertising PROS  Targeting capabilities  Inexpensive compared to other traditional broadcast media  Branded promotions offer advertisers appealing community involvement opportunities CONS  No visual component  Advertisers must buy multiple stations and formats to accumulate audience reach  Peak listening is during morning and evening drive times with relatively low audiences during other day parts
  20. 20. Television Advertising
  21. 21. Machine Zone Advertising Social Features Game of War: Library War
  22. 22. Supercell Promoting Character Personalities Clash of Clans “Wizard” Ad
  23. 23. What are the pros and cons of television advertising?
  24. 24. Television Advertising PROS  Wide geographic coverage and broad audience reach  Perceived accountability with well accepted audience measurement metrics  Relative ease of buying and post-buy maintenance  Proven success record for promoting mass consumer products CONS  Audience share is generally declining due to fragmented audiences  Increasing use of DVRs diminishes the impact of commercials  Many television shows skew older and lower income  Typically high CPM costs and rising production costs  Primetime is no longer the preeminent reach builder with a large part of the viewing population not substantially reached by the primetime networks  Increasing ad clutter as commercial pods lengthen
  25. 25. Internet Advertising
  26. 26. What are the pros and cons of internet advertising?
  27. 27. Internet Advertising PRO  Direct response and transactional opportunity are available to consumers in real-time  One-to-one marketing any time and any place  Long-term reduction of transactional business costs CON  Limited frequency across millions of websites with users able to access only a fraction of sites available  Privacy and security concerns
  28. 28. Banner Ads  Very common and come in a variety of sizes.  Tend to target customers who are not actively looking for something new.  Purchased using a pay-per-click model or they simply can be displayed for a certain length of time.
  29. 29. Purchasing Banner Ads BuySellAds is one platform for purchasing online advertising.  Search or browse directory to select from among thousands of websites  Select ad zones to book and add them to your cart  Upload your ad creatives, set up advanced targeting, and schedule your ads to run on certain dates  Ads go live once website publisher approves them
  30. 30. Text Ads  The type you usually see on the primary Google search page  Generally are less expensive than banner ads and target customers that actually are looking for something specific  Depend heavily on good keyword research and A/B testing
  31. 31. Long Tail Keywords Longer, more specific keywords that, when added together, make up the majority of search-driven traffic. You will get a lot more bang for your buck by targeting a large number of lower-traffic terms than by targeting a small number of higher-traffic terms.
  32. 32. Purchasing Text Ads Google AdWords is used to purchase ads to appear in Google searches.  Write an advertisement  Choose the search terms that will make your ad show in Google results  Target certain countries, regions or cities  Set a daily budget  You pay only when someone clicks on your ad to visit your website  Analytics show how many people see your ads and what percentage click through.
  33. 33. Combination Text and Display Ads Facebook Ads allows you to create targeted ads to reach different audiences.  Select your marketing objective  Choose traits such as location, age, gender and interests of the Facebook users to reach  Set your budget and schedule  Write your ad text and upload your media  Pay only for click-throughs  Track views and click-throughs
  34. 34. Tracking If you aren’t able to see how each of your ads is performing, then you shouldn’t be buying paid advertising at all. Google Analytics allows you to create a customized URL for each ad that will help you see overall performance for all of your advertising. Kissmetrics allows you to see the amount of traffic that you received from the ad but also how many of the clicks converted into a genuine lead, a purchase, or even a long- term subscriber.
  35. 35. Return on Investment (ROI) How much profit you've made from your ads compared to how much you've spent on those ads. To calculate ROI, take the revenue that resulted from your ads, subtract your advertising costs, then divide by your overall costs: ROI = (Revenue – Advertising Costs) / Advertising Costs.
  36. 36. Conversions You can also measure ROI in terms of conversions: actions that you want your customers to take on your website after clicking your ad:  Signing up for your mailing list  Entering a contest  Downloading a trailer  Purchasing a game
  38. 38. Competition For Customer’s Attention We are bombarded by between 300 and 700 marketing messages per day.
  39. 39. How Can We Cut Through The Clutter?
  40. 40. Storytelling Our brains are wired to better remember stories than facts or figures.
  41. 41. Every Great Ad Tells A Story Mad Men: Peggy’s Burger Chef Pitch
  42. 42. What Was “The Story” In The Burger King Ad Campaign?
  43. 43. Marketing and Science  Neural Coupling  Mirroring  Dopamine  Cortex Activity
  44. 44. Ad Blockers Many people use ad blockers because they find advertising to be interruptive and annoying.
  45. 45. How Can We Not Be Annoying?
  46. 46. Emotional Engagement If an ad is funny or moving enough, we’ll seek it out for entertainment.
  47. 47. Top Ten Super Bowl Ads Top 10 Super Bowl Ads of all time
  48. 48. Which Ad Was Your Favorite? Why?
  49. 49. Marketing and Science Functional MRI imaging shows that when evaluating brands, the primary driver is how the brand makes the person feel rather than its attributes, facts and figures.
  50. 50. Making The Emotional Connection  Choose emotional triggers  Be them in a different way  Think-Discuss-Write until Aha moment  Nail down look and tone of voice  Implement and persist
  51. 51. But There Is A Cost! Advertising is an option, regularly for larger companies. If you are a small developer, then advertising may not be an alternative. The Cost Per Install (CPI) with advertising is between $1.50 and almost $2, which makes $1 and something x 100,000 downloads = a lot of money!
  53. 53. Game Press Most publicity for your game that is not done virally through your social marketing or by word-of-mouth through your community development efforts is done through the game press.
  54. 54. Press Kits Your website should have either a Press Assets Page or a link to a downloadable Press Kit. Press kits have concept art, screenshots, gameplay video and trailers. Check out for a handy press kit template.
  55. 55. Press Kit Do’s and Don’ts DO  Host asset files on an ftp or cloud-based drive that’s convenient for the press DON’T  Have press kits that are massive zip files with every asset you’ve ever released
  56. 56. Be Proactive! Don’t rely on the press coming to you! You have go out to them and convince them to give you coverage!
  57. 57. Game Press Mainstream Gaming Press GameSpot, IGN, Polygon, Eurogamer, Kotaku, US Gamer, Destructoid… Enthusiastic Gaming Sites and Blogs Thousands of smaller gaming sites and personal blogs Specialty Gaming Press, PocketGamer,, Consumer/Pop Culture/Tech Sites Publications for a consumer audience that cover games as well as entertainment or gadgets Video Streaming YouTube, Twitch Freelance Writers Writers who work for multiple publications.
  58. 58. Building Your Press List  Look for articles, reviews and websites about games similar to yours and add their writers’ names to your list  Ask organizers for gaming shows like PAX or IndieCade for registered press list  As developer friends who have shipped games which sites and press have worked out well for them  Look online for lists of indie-friendly press contacts  Use Google Analytics to look for referrals from particular sites  Clearly show on your website the best email address for press to contact you (e.g., press@ or pr@)
  59. 59. Where To Find Writers’ Contact Info  On an article they wrote  Through a link on an article they wrote  On the About Me or Contact Us page to a website having an article they wrote  Through a Google search on the writer’s name  Ask the writer directly through Twitter or LinkedIn  If all else fails, use news@ or editor@ to contact a site
  60. 60. Press List Do’s and Don’ts DO  Set a goal of adding 5-10 new press contacts a week  Have a good mix of press, so your news reaches different audiences  Separate contacts by categories, e.g. platforms when making a multi-platform game  Have an Unsubscribe option on all your bulk emails DON’T  Add a writer without first asking permission
  61. 61. When To Reveal Your Game To The World  Some indies announce a game early and tease it throughout development.  If you don’t have a following, wait for the game’s completion and reveal it with a big splash;  If you are pursuing a Kickstarter, announce soon enough to build up followers for your campaign.  If you are attending shows or submitting to competitions, announce prior to those events.
  62. 62. Major Announcements Do big announcements for major milestones:  Announcing the release date  Early gameplay video  Launch trailer with updated demo and full version  Game Launch Include all the details and assets you are hoping to see in your game. This gives the press something substantial to write about, along with compelling visuals to include in their story.
  63. 63. Minor Announcements Should you email your press list every time you post a few screenshots or a developer diary? They might publicize your announcement if it’s a slow news day OR they may start ignoring you if they feel like they are being spammed!
  64. 64. Press Releases A written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something ostensibly newsworthy. Typically, they are mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to assignment editors and journalists at newspapers, magazines, radio stations, online media, television stations or television networks.
  65. 65. Press Release Format FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE These words should appear at the top left of the page, in upper case Headline Just like a headline in an newspaper. Make sure this describes the content of the story. City, State/Country Month, Day, Year These details precede the story and orient the reader. Body This is where the actual story goes. There should be more than one paragraph, each paragraph no more than a few sentences. If there is more than one page, write "-more-" at the bottom of the page. Company Info Include any background information about the company Contact Info Include contact person, company name, phone/fax, email, physical/postal address. ENDS or ### This indicates the end of the press release. (xxx words) [optional] The total number of words contained in the press release.
  66. 66. Practice Round Let’s analyze a sample press release together!
  67. 67. Press Release Do’s and Don’ts DO  Get to the point in both the headline and first graph  Write in the third person  Include a quote from the designer, producer or studio head  Add links to press kits and other supporting material  Make the release available as an RSS feed DON’T  Use slang jargon, clichés, generalizations or superlatives  Trash the competition  Use news@ as a contact
  68. 68. Press Release Distribution Press release services like PRWeb, PRMac (for both Mac and iOS news), eReleases and other sites can distribute your press releases for a fee. Good if you haven’t built your own press list, but it won’t be as targeted. Also send press releases to GamesPress (, a free sites that aggregates news for the gaming press.
  69. 69. Media Alerts Big companies announce major news with a formal press release that uses a lot of important-sound language. Indie companies can use a less formal (but still well-written and informative) email called a Media Alert.
  70. 70. Understanding The Editor  Editors do not know your game and what it is about  Editors get lots of email  Editors are more likely to open mail with an interesting subject line  Editors appreciate short and concise emails  Editors are looking for newsworthy games
  71. 71. What Happens When An Editor Gets An Email 1. Goes to the inbox 2. Sees subject line and sender 3. Opens the email 4. Scans through it 5. Checks screenshots/video 6. Checks demo/full version 7. Considers to write about it
  72. 72. Emails To Press DO  Keep emails focused and to the point  Adapt your communications to the writer (e.g., hardcore gaming site, indie reporter, streaming reviewer)  Write like you are a real person, not a PR person DON’T  Be too formal with your language  Use too many buzzwords
  73. 73. Practice Round Let’s analyze a sample media alert together!
  74. 74. Types of Coverage Preview Coverage of a game that’s not finished yet. Interview Q&A with a member of a development team Review An assessment of a finished game, often with a score attached. Feature A story about a specific angle relating to your game or role in the industry Guest Article Some sites post guest articles or blogs written by developers
  75. 75. Media Alert Do’s and Don’ts DO  Put important details and call to action in subject line  Present information clearly with the most important information near the top  Include prominent links to assets and store pages DON’T  Assume the reader knows about your game. Always give genre, platforms, description, an link to more info  Send attachments. If you want to include graphics, embed these with html
  76. 76. PR at Alpha Your game is in a rough form, but it’s nowhere close to being in a state where you want the press to play it. If you have a big following, make a big announcements, along with assets. The press may be interested in interviewing you at this point or watching in-person demos.
  77. 77. Press Tour A game spokespeople, usually the producer and/or lead designer, demonstrate a game in development to members of the press.
  78. 78. PR at Beta You now have a stable build with only polish and bug fixes left to do, and if you haven’t announced your game yet, now is the time! You should announce your release timeframe – if not an exact date, then “early next year”, “this summer”, or “Q3”. Let the press know when review copies will be ready and start compiling a list of writers interested in reviewing your game.
  79. 79. Publicity Stunts A publicity stunt is a planned event designed to attract the public’s attention. For example, Microsoft delivered some of the first X-Box Ones in armored cars.
  80. 80. Publicity Stunts Capcom sent the game press $300 chess pieces as promotional items to promote Street Fighter Nintendo has Mario delivers review copies of Super Mario 3D Land
  81. 81. Top 10 Stupid Game Publicity Stunts
  82. 82. Which Stunt Was The Stupidest? Why?
  83. 83. PR at Release Candidate Your game is done, but you set aside 2-4 weeks so that reviewers can play it in advance of launch. Announce the release date, but discuss timing with distribution channel partners in case they want to change it. For channels that have a submission process (like the iTunes App Store or Nintendo eShop) wait for the game to be approved before announcing the release date.
  84. 84. Review Pitch Letters Written invitation to the press to review your game.  Have a really good/interesting/odd game  Attention grabbing subject line with a call to action  Personalize it  Game Description:  Game Name and Genre  Coolest Thing About Game  Who You Are Playing And Goal  Release Date, Price, Platform  Links to Media Assets  Provide codes for review copies, or if codes are limited, make them harder to get for press less likely to review you
  85. 85. Practice Round Let’s analyze a sample review pitch letter together!
  86. 86. Distributing Review Copies Send out review copies 2-4 weeks before launch, with:  URL to download a standalone build or redeem key  Important details like availability, price, platforms and press kit link  Embargo day and time
  87. 87. Review Copy Do’s And Don’ts DO  Make sure it is complete and bug free  Be generous with giving out review copies  Beware of imposters  Make a walkthrough or cheats available to the reviewr  Be available to provide assistance to the reviewer  Politely ask for a correction about a factual error in a review DON’T  Pay for news coverage  Make special reviewer versions with different features than the consumer version (note: You can mark review builds with “Review copy – not for distribution”.)  Argue publicly or privately with a bad review
  88. 88. How Can You Get Good Reviews?
  89. 89. How Can You Get Good Reviews? Make a good game. Seriously.
  90. 90. PR At Launch And Beyond  Send out an announcement on launch day  Keep track of press coverage and update your press list  Follow up with reviewers who got advance copies  Continue to distribute review copies  As favorable reviews come online, incorporate quotes and scores into your communications
  91. 91. Launch Parties A party to celebrate the launch of a game. Important members of the press are invited, and the parties are often themed or held at a special venue relating to the game
  92. 92. Group Quest Present a publicity plan for your game.  Announcement Publicity Stunt  Reviewer Promotional Item  Launch Party
  93. 93. PR FIRMS
  94. 94. Hiring A PR Firm Or Consultant There are PR firms and consultants who already have good press contacts that they talk to every day Whether you do your own PR or hire someone, the results are never guaranteed. If you hire someone to do PR, make sure you know what you’re paying for and never spend more than you can afford.
  95. 95. Sue Bohle Speaks About Game Publicity
  96. 96. Boss Battle Ahead! There will be a test on Levels 4-6 the next time we meet!
  97. 97. Away Mission Write a review copy pitch email for your game.  Subject Line  Paragraph with most important information  Paragraph with secondary information  Additional information and links