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Mobile game discovery for indies


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Harsh truths about the mobile games ecosystem and discovery plus steps you can take as an indie mobile games developer to drive awareness.

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Mobile game discovery for indies

  1. 1. Kevin Corti (Product Lead) Founder Everyone’s Playing 15+ years digital games/media Co-founded 3 studios since 1998 Game studio viewpoint Don Turner Developer Evangelist at BlackBerry 14 years mobile/web development Co-founded digital agency (£1.7m t/o) Mobile platform/store viewpoint
  2. 2. games makers games consumers • Cluttered app stores / no visibility • Traditional media/PR doesn’t work • Performance ads are very expensive • Hard to get quality traffic (users) • Limits product innovation “How do I show players we have a great game without spending $100k/day?” • Finding good games is hard in app stores • Want more variety, more choice • Want much better search filters • Frequently waste time & money • Frequently frustrated Discovery is a problem for…
  3. 3. A mobile games discovery platform… EVERYONE’S PLAYING assesses the quality & nature of every mobile game finds the best matches for YOU! that learns exactly what YOU like
  4. 4. What’s your experience with commercialising mobile games?
  5. 5. Let’s start with some good news…  $17bn total annual revenue (large!)  Growing rapidly (Android, Asia)  Devices/connectivity always getting better  People will always want new devices  People will always want to play games
  6. 6. Before mobile… Significant challenges to small/indie studios:  Production – make the game  Distribution – put game in shops  Marketing – make people want to buy
  7. 7. After mobile… Reduced barriers to small/indie studios:  Production – make the game  Distribution – put game in stores  Marketing – make them want to play THEN make them want to pay!
  8. 8. Marketing: Games makers – gaining an audience for your games Games players – finding games that are right for you
  9. 9. Marketing: Games makers – gaining an audience for your games Games players – finding games that are right for you The ecosystem is bad at doing this So it costs $$$$$$!!!!
  10. 10. It’s not one market Find a (viable, addressable) niche The more precise the niche, the easier to target right users
  11. 11. Hope is not a strategy! Is this you/your team? • “We will just make the best game we can” • “We want to get featured by Apple” • “We would like games press/media coverage”
  12. 12. Naive marketing strategy 101 Will get our friends to download & post reviews Will issue press releases My mate writes game reviews for = 1,000 installs (at best)
  13. 13. 1,000 users is worth… At $0.99 / install = $700 (AAT)* AAT = ‘After Apple Tax’ Premium Free to play At $40 LTV At 2% conversion = $560 (AAT)* Success?
  14. 14. You make your own luck! Work hard, over a long period. Exploit every user acquisition channel you can
  15. 15. The channels SEO / ASO Platform feature Traditional media Social network Cross- promotion Paid advertising Get found in the stores Interest & word of mouth Get eyeballs
  16. 16. App Store Optimisation (ASO) [1] Maximise chances of being found [2] Maximise chances of getting install (SELL) Space monkey tennis wars.. Search “5 stars from, epic art…”
  17. 17. THE APP STORES Sell devices Sell ads/propagate Android More open (whilst they catch up) + 200 Android stores Build ecosystem
  18. 18. THE APP STORES  Distribute your game  Handle purchase  Discovery “Imagine a shop with 1,000,000 kinds of beer…”
  19. 19. THE APP STORES  Search is bad  Categories inconsistent  Ratings & review systems weak (broken)
  20. 20. THE APP STORES Buying chart position…top free games (iOS) • #1 155k installs/day • #10 45k installs/day • #50 16k installs/day • $25k spend on UA • Circa top 35 in ‘adventure’ & ‘role playing’ charts for week • $10k revenue • Game cost $150k to make! $1-3 per install
  21. 21. GAMES MEDIA  Recent PocketGamer ‘top iOS games’ list  All ‘great’ well-made games  Most had <1,000 installs and <50 reviews “We got coverage in X magazine…it generated 17 new users”
  22. 22. CROSS-PROMOTION  Great (free installs) ….if you already have users.  Amplify/boost only “…they are the turbo for a car engine. You still need to buy petrol though!”
  23. 23. SOCIAL HOOKS  Doesn’t have to be horrible Zynga mechanics  Give users opportunity to share moments of delight Also – helps with getting featured if you use platform APIs (Game Centre on iOS)
  24. 24. PAID USER ACQUISITION  Banners, interstitals (static, video), FB mobile ad units…  Quality of user is paramount! (play? pay?)  Know your CPC, CPM, CPI, eCPI, CPA etc Do LOTS of tiny experiments (FB ads are great for this!)
  25. 25. MEASUREMENT  You use analytics for in-game events…  …so use them to assess quality of traffic  Do they play? Do they pay?  Attribution is key (where did user come from?)
  26. 26. FUNDING ‘MARKETING’ Investors will want: • Multiple games in pipeline (similar niche) • GAAS & FTP skills • Industry experience / successes FUNDAMENTAL: ACPU < ARPU
  27. 27. PUBLISHERS Gauge their interest at concept stage NOT once you have made a game! MVP may be too late! Why would you start to build a game if you don’t know if you can market it?
  28. 28. SUMMARY • Devote serious time & effort to marketing • Do everything possible (all channels) • Have a meaningful budget – use wisely • Target a (proven) niche • Great game (no serious bugs!) • Cross-promote & cross-platform • Localise game & store presence ‘Build it & they will come’ is NOT a viable strategy!
  30. 30. “EVERYONE’S PLAYING…” “EVERYONE’S PLAYING…” “EVERYONE’S PLAYING…” Kevin Corti +44 7415 097822 @every1playing Questions