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"How to Market Digital Games" Game Connection presentation


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The presentation deck from my recent talk at Game Connection Paris. This deck focuses on the practice of marketing videogames in the new era of digital distribution and the changes that marketers face. Primary focus is payed to the difference in marketing games as a service vs. games as a product.

"How to Market Digital Games" Game Connection presentation

  1. 1. How to market Digital GamesWhat we will cover• The shift in game marketing from games as a “product” to games as a “service”• How you can prepare for your game marketing campaign, budgeting, forecasting, positioning and target market definition• Definition of the three major areas of customer acquisition • Paid Media • Owned Media • Earned Media• Strategies to employ in each of the media types to maximize your budget• Case study of an integrated marketing campaign for the launch of APB Reloaded F2P
  2. 2. How to market Digital GamesWhat we WON’T cover• Marketing strategies for packaged games• Marketing strategies for single SKU pay to download games• Monetization strategies• Digital game operations• Game design strategies• Unique strategies per platform (iOS, F2P, Browser, Facebook etc.)
  3. 3. How to market digital games“AT AN END YOUR RULE IS… ANDNOT SHORTIS SIMPLE IT WAS.” OUR GOAL ENOUGH Stop marketing a product launch and instead startYODA TO PALPATINE, STAR WARS: REVENGE connecting consumers to the ultimate portable OF THE SITH gaming platform.
  4. 4. The emergence of digital games“62% of all global games revenue forecast to be from thedigital sector by 2014”
  5. 5. The problem
  6. 6. The problem There is a paradigm shift in our industry now Emerging platforms are creating a huge opportunity for independent developers to go direct to consumers Early on these platforms were uncluttered so if you had a good game it sold Now the platforms are jam packed with content and discoverability is difficult to garner Marketing is essential to success but traditional methods are not effective in this new era
  7. 7. How to market digital games“HALF OF THE MONEY I SPENDON MARKETING IS WASTED- THEPROBLEM IS I SIMPLEKNOW OUR GOAL IS DON’TWHICHa product the ultimateinstead start Stop marketing HALF.” portable connecting consumers to launch and gaming platform.JOHN WANAMAKER - 1838-1922
  8. 8. Games as a serviceThe vast majority of digitalgames will be run andmarketed as “services”Traditional packaged productmarketing tactics will not work vs.Marketing services requiresanalytics and optimization
  9. 9. Games as a service• “Performance-based” marketing is a laborious but Performance Marketing rewarding process if done right Huge efficiencies can be realized through performance marketing Analytics are integrated into game design decisions KPI’s - decide what to track and then act on the data
  10. 10. Games as a serviceAdvantages marketing games as a service• Slower spend Tests and Optimization Community building Direct dialogue with the consumer RESPONSIBLE SPENDING
  11. 11. Games as a service – Spend Cycle
  12. 12. Games as a service – Marketing Cycle Packaged Game Marketing Beats • Game as Product • Dominated by publishers/retailers • Launch spend concentration • Blockbuster-driven Price Inventory Deassortment Previews Launch Decline ManagementAnnounce Pre Order Accolades DLC Push Reviews MonthsClosed Open Beta Paid Content Paid Content Pack Paid Cash Shop Content Pack PR Milestone Cash Shop Beta Launched acquisition Pack 1 acquisition 2 Announced acquisition Sale 3 Released Push Sale marketing Announced 2nd spend 3rd spend Open Beta Monetization Open Beta Content Pack In Game Content Pack In Game Content Pack Paid In Game Announced Begins no Lifted 1 Released Event 2 Released Event 3 Announced acquisition Event more wipes 4th spend Service Game Marketing Beats • Game as Service • Direct to consumer • Indie friendly • Long term sustained spend • Niche categories
  13. 13. Games as a service - KPI’s1. Brand Awareness 9. Payback – “Breakeven Time”2. Test-Drive – “Try before you buy” 10. Lifetime Value3. Churn 11. CPC – “Cost per Click”4. Customer Satisfaction 12. Transaction Conversion Rate –5. Take Rate – “Cost “Click to per Acquisition” convert/percent that pay”6. Profit – “Rev – Cost” 13. Return on Ad Dollars Spent7. Net Present Value- “PV – Cost” 14. Bounce Rate – “Funnel Optimization”8. Internal Rate of Return – “Speed of return” 15. Word of Mouth
  14. 14. Games as a service – Conversion FunnelCPM Banner Impression CPC Banner Click Click to RegisterSingle Opt In Registration Complete Customer loss Registration Confirmation Double Opt In Download Client Patch/Update FTL First Time Login Time Spent Prior to Purchase First CPS/Rev Share Purchase
  15. 15. Games as a service Forecasting and budgeting
  16. 16. Games as a service – Planning Forecasting and budgeting KPI’s Spend Cycles Marketing Budget Categories Source of Acquisition
  17. 17. Games as a service – Consumer Targets
  18. 18. Games as a service – Consumer Targets Target market evolution Console Shooter MMO Gamer F2P Gamer F2P Shooter
  19. 19. Games as a service - MessagingFeature Affinity
  20. 20. Games as a service – Competitive SWOT Competitive SWOT analysis
  21. 21. Games as a service – PositioningGreat positioning statements deliver three core elements: 1.Uniqueness factor 2.Compelling and exciting promise 3.Delivers on an unmet need
  22. 22. How to market digital games“ADVERTISING IS LEGALIZEDLYING.” OUR GOAL IS SIMPLE Stop marketing a product launch and instead start connecting consumers to the ultimate portableH. G. WELLS gaming platform.
  23. 23. Acquisition Sources It attracts OWNED MEDIA CUSTOMERS Media Consists of Website, Trailers, Facebook page, Blog, TwitterIt attracts page, Art Assets, Email list… It attractsNEW USERS FANS IDEA Media Consists of Media Consists of PAID Online ads, Print ads, TV, Outdoor… PR, Word of mouth, Viral, Buzz, Incentiv EARNEDMEDIA e Sharing… MEDIA
  24. 24. Paid vs. Owned vs. Earned Media
  25. 25. How to market digital games“BY CREATING COMPELLINGCONTENT, YOU CAN BECOME A OUR GOAL IS SIMPLECELEBRITY.”and instead start Stop marketing a product launch connecting consumers to the ultimate portable gaming platform.– PAUL GILLIN
  26. 26. Owned Media - Overview Your Game! Trailers EmailGame Art Assets Apps Promotions Facebook SEO Website
  27. 27. Owned Media - OverviewTrailers • Build a Youtube brand channel.. THEY’RE FREE  Put a clear call to action in your trailer. What do you want your viewer to do after watching?  Leverage and repurpose the assets generated from your trailer production
  28. 28. Owned Media - OverviewGame Art Assets • Use your concept art as marketing content  Consider mapping art releases to PR beats  Use the best assets as leverage to get better editorial coverage
  29. 29. Owned Media - OverviewSocial Sites • Engage with your community, be a participant in the communication  Provide them assets and content to share with their friends  Reward and recognize your evangelists
  30. 30. Owned Media - Overview • Build separate sites that areWebsite focused on the goal (conversion, community, information) • Build your website in HTML and make it mobile friendly  If you are a conversion based game (F2P) simplify your call SEO to action  Pay careful attention to how you word your nav, headers, buttons as they all play into your searchability  Frequently update your content
  31. 31. How to market digital games“THE REPORTS OF THE DEATHOF ADVERTISING HAVE BEEN OUR GOAL IS SIMPLEGREATLYtoEXAGGERATED.” Stop marketing a product launch and instead start connecting consumers the ultimate portable gaming platform.FORRESTER RESEARCH
  32. 32. Paid Media
  33. 33. Paid Media - TV Advantages  Sight, sound, motion  95% reach - including upscale demographics  Frequency opportunity  High potential impact – intrusiveness & message communication  Geographic flexibility  Targeting via DMAs, dayparts, programs, cable systems Disadvantages  High cost to achieve effective reach / frequency  DVR skipping  High clutter & competitive activity  Declining broadcast & commercial audiences  Production costs can be very high  NOT ACCOUNTABLE
  34. 34. Paid Media - PRINTAdvantages• Choice of broad or selective reach• Flexibility – creative & geographic – demographic editions• Potentially relevant editorial context• Good for considered purchases• Coupon & promotional applications• Low relative cost• Incremental impactDisadvantages• Selective perception / less intrusive (easy to skip ads)• Build reach/brand slowly• Lack of immediacy• NOT ACCOUNTABLE
  35. 35. Paid Media - ONLINEAdvantages• Targets interested, engaged prospects seeking what you are selling or saying (epitome of engagement / consumer in control)• Growing number of creative options• High reach potential if investment sufficiently high• Flexible rate options, e.g., CPM, CPA, CPS impressions vs. pay per click vs. hybrid pricing model• HIGHLY ACCOUNTABLEDisadvantages• Limited creative flexibility vs. other media• High cost potential• Email spam / new spam laws• Complexity to plan, buy, track and optimize
  36. 36. Paid Media - ONLINECreative Options• Search – largest segment of internet advertising, text based• Display – includes display ads (flash, gif), banners, sponsorships, popups, rich media opportunities, roadblocks• Video– fastest growing, including commercials and preroll• Email - customer lists & opt-in lists of different target audiencesBuying Parameters• CPM– – Most common payment type – Not accountable• CPC– – Typical way search is sold – Somewhat accountable• CPA– – Typically only offered through Ad Networks – Highly accountable• CPS/Rev Share- – Mostly found in Affiliate networks – Extremely accountable
  37. 37. Paid Media – ALTERNATIVE MEDIAAdvertorials/Cover Wraps• Advertorials are advertising-sponsored sections in magazines or on the web which deal with a specific editorial theme• As we move from reach and frequency to “engagement,” advertorials may be increasingly important channels• If relevant to consumers, can be an effective way to engage a group of interested consumers with advertiserBarter• Companies with excess inventories may find it advantageous to trade those inventories for media time and / or space• Media is one of the most bartered commodities• May work directly with media (e.g. radio station may trade excess commercial inventory for airline tickets or other things needed for promoting or running business)• Or through a reputable barter house which will charge a commission based on the exchange• Barter can also be used with non traditional sources ex.YouTube celebrities!
  38. 38. Paid Media – ALTERNATIVE MEDIABuzz / Advocacy Marketing• Based on principle of “word of mouth”• Recruit people to use & promote product• Social media seeding companiesEvent Marketing & Sponsorships• Growing faster than advertising, events create brand experiences and / or product trial (experiential marketing)• Gamescom, PAX, TGS, E3• Assets may include rights, media and on-site activities• Opportunity for on site registration/acquisition• Costs usually include: space, staffing, sponsor fees, activation & media costs
  39. 39. Paid Media – ALTERNATIVE MEDIAMobile Ads• Text Messaging (SMS), Picture Messaging (MMS) and Mobile Internet Advertising (WAP), Referral (Tapjoy, Flurry)• Mobile ad networks can arrange in app and display adsProduct Placement• Used by major corporations as well as smaller companies• Goes both ways ads in game in exchange for external exposure• Product placement firms can arrange exposure in movies, TV programs, magazines, etc.Theater Screen Advertising / Cinema• Available on national, regional and local bases• Offerings include cinema spot advertising, slides, lobby & concession promotions, product sampling• Targeting by geography & selection of film types• Special large-format commercial production may be necessary to ensure quality
  40. 40. How to market digital games“IF YOU MAKE CUSTOMERSUNHAPPY IN THE PHYSICALWORLD, THEY TELL 6 FRIENDS. OUR GOAL IS CUSTOMERS SIMPLEIF YOUa product launch and instead start MAKEUNHAPPY the ultimate THE INTERNET, connecting consumers to ON portable Stop marketing gaming platform.THEY TELL 6,000 FRIENDS.”- JEFF BEZOS, CEO AT AMAZON.COM
  41. 41. Earned Media
  42. 42. Earned Media – TacticsPR• MARKETING IS NOT PR, but PR is a part of marketing• VOLUME – Maximize awareness with coordinated PR efforts around beats in the Marketing and Development cycles• CONSISTENCY – Create ways to maintain visibility between beats with key sites that cater to your audience, such as giveaways, in-game events, exclusive assets, even branded items• PR for digital games is less about preview/review cycle and more about filling content/marketing beat gapsCommunity Engagement, not Management• Incite passion in your fanbase and get them to care about the game and its progress, and you have the most powerful form of marketing communications: Buzz generated by genuine fans• Participate in the conversation• Digital games have the potential to empower the community much more than packaged games. Embrace this and implement changes and content based on fan sentiment
  43. 43. Earned Media – TacticsIncentive Sharing Programs• Also known as “Gamification”• Engage and mobilize your core community to draw in the masses• Incentives play on a range of desires – Access (identity), community (belonging), heirarchy (leading), free stuff (winning)• ISP programs work in layers – Develop compelling content to draw in users – Use gamification tactics to engage them – Harness achievement and desires to drive sharing and continued involvement• Digital games have a great advantage with ISP’s as they can use in game items as rewards
  44. 44. Earned Media – Tactics
  45. 45. How to market digital games OUR GOAL IS SIMPLEAPB CASE STUDY Stop marketing a product launch and instead start connecting consumers to the ultimate portable gaming platform.
  46. 46. APB Case Study
  47. 47. APB Case Study - PositioningAPB Reloaded Positioning: 1.Uniqueness factor“Deepest Customization Engine Ever” 2.Compelling and exciting promise “Open world Cops vs. Robbers” 3.Delivers on an unmet need“Persistent Online F2P Action game”
  48. 48. APB Case Study - Positioning APB Reloaded Positioning:“With the deepest customization engine ever created, APB Reloadeddelivers persistent online open world cops vs. robbers mayhem in the first true action F2P game.”
  49. 49. APB Case Study - Positioning APB Consumer MessagingKey Unique Feature = Unlimited Customization Benefit = Self Expression
  50. 50. APB Case Study - Positioning
  51. 51. Owned Media – APB Case Study
  52. 52. Paid Media – APB Case Study
  53. 53. Paid Media – APB Case Study
  54. 54. Owned Media – APB Case Study
  55. 55. Owned Media – APB Case Study
  56. 56. Earned Media – APB Case Study
  57. 57. Earned Media – APB Case Study
  58. 58. Paid Media – APB Case Study Multi-variant Online Creative  Testing the following variables:  Look and Feel (Branding)  Urgency Message  Virtual Goods Offer
  59. 59. Paid Media – APB Case StudyLanding Pages
  60. 60. Paid Media – APB Case StudyCreative Performance Multivariant Conversion Funnel Pacing Budget Performance DecayPerformance by Media Vendor
  61. 61. Paid Media – APB Case Study Transaction Data by VendorFunnel Decay and Other Activity Performance by multivariant
  62. 62. Paid Media – APB Case Study Results1,000,000 Registered Users (200,000 since campaign) 15% increase in core KPI’s (ARPPU, % that pay) Overall Campaign CPA sub $1
  63. 63. Steve Fowler GM [a] list games 626-584-4070x25