5 App Marketing Strategies Every Game Developer Needs to Consider

Five basic app and game marketing strategies: soft launch, referral campaigns, reaching out to gaming influencers, app store optimization and app reviews
5 App Marketing Strategies Every Game Developer Needs to Consider
Anastasia Khomych

With the constantly growing number of competitors in the app stores, it’s quite hard for a newborn game app to stand out. That’s why such apps should heavily rely on marketing strategies that can help them stay on track, at least in the early stages. In this article, we are going to present a list of the most successful strategies to keep your game ahead of the competition.

Hands with smartphone

Soft Launch

The name of this strategy has nothing to do with its content: “soft launch” is a tough application check under critical conditions, which helps to detect weaknesses and fix them as quickly as possible. This method is primarily good also because it reveals problems that are almost unpredictable in theory. On paper, the application may be perfect, but its real properties are manifested only in practice. The purpose of a soft launch is to save developers from unpleasant surprises.

The modern audience is extremely picky when it comes to mobile applications. On the one hand, this is good, because developers have to keep their products at a high level. On the other hand, errors are very expensive for the publisher, especially after the release. The final product must be quality in all aspects.

You can test your game by using a pool of several thousand users. This applies primarily to free games with internal purchases. Of course, you can immediately publish the application for a large audience, but be prepared for anything. Do not be afraid of negative comments, because they will help you find errors and fix them, which is the essence of a soft launch.

A soft launch also involves competitor research. You can study similar games that are market leaders, read the reviews, identify any possible mistakes made by developers and learn from those mistakes. For instance, if you’re developing an augmented reality game, you can consider the example of Pokémon GO. In 2016, the game was first released in Australia and New Zealand, and then in the United Kingdom, Germany, and other European countries. This caused a tremendous load on the servers, making it impossible to play the game. You can avoid this mistake by choosing a limited number of locations and making sure that the servers are powerful enough.

Referral Campaigns

Referral marketing is the process of distributing product information not through traditional advertising channels, but through existing customers. It is the effect of word of mouth, when the customers tell their friends, relatives or all subscribers of their feed on social networks about a brand they like. According to statistics by DCR Strategies, people are 4x more likely to make a purchase when referred by a friend.

Referral campaigns can bring your game the following benefits:

  • attracting and motivating customers to make a purchase,

  • sales according to the recommendations of friends of customers,

  • conversion boost.

In addition, by using the referral marketing mechanism, you can distribute sales information, increase audience reach on social media, and get the long-term effect of native advertising. The key to successful referral marketing is to choose a motivational offer for the audience that best meets its interests and at the same time is beneficial for the advertiser.

Man with laptop working

Reaching out to Gaming Influencers

Influencers or brand agents are opinion leaders; people who are considered experts in a particular topic or simply influential among the masses. They have the strongest influence on millennials and generation Z. It can be a famous hairdresser for a hair dye manufacturer, a professional racer for a car brand, and an outstanding athlete for a sports shoe brand.

Influencer marketing differs from traditional advertising in its delicacy. Influencers present information in a soft, unobtrusive, and recommendatory manner. Therefore, modern companies often appeal to the trust of potential consumers to certain people, so they cooperate with influencers. That is how influencer marketing was born.

There are the following types of influencers:

  • Bloggers (authors of free blogs on any subject).

  • Video bloggers (authors of training videos, life hackers, and other bloggers who record videos).

  • Ambassadors (word of mouth marketing agents who inform the target audience about the product and reasonably advertise it).

In 2017, Next Games, a Finnish mobile gaming company, used influencer marketing to advertise their game “Walking Dead: No Man’s Land” based on AMC’s TV Series “The Walking Dead.” The company reached out to popular video bloggers on YouTube and recorded videos where the influencers were playing a game that suddenly came to life.

Man typing on laptop

App Store Optimization

App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of optimizing the page of a mobile application in the application store to maximize its visibility and convert visitors to downloads. Now, most marketers recognize ASO as an integral part of the application promotion strategy. In many ways, ASO resembles SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which has existed for decades and consists in selecting the right metadata and assets (icon, screenshots) to be higher in the search by keywords.

ASO currently uses the following resources:

  • Application name with keywords included

  • Keywords

  • Subtitles

  • Application description

  • Promotional text

  • In-app purchases

  • Developer name

  • Icons

  • Screenshots

  • Videos

  • Average rating and reviews

  • Application size

  • Updates and “What's New”

  • Localization

  • Web links for the application

App Reviews

App reviews refer to encouraging your users to leave feedback about the app. According to a survey by Apptentive, app users are 8 times more likely to download a highly rated app of a brand that they see for the first time than a poorly rated app of a popular brand. Here are some tips on how to encourage reviews:

  • Ask them if they’re enjoying the app. If yes, ask them to write a review. If not, provide a feedback form where they can explain why they are not satisfied with the app. But don’t ask too often and don’t ask for a specific rating.

  • Make sure to trigger a review request not straight away but only after someone has used the app a specific number of times.

Wrapping Up

At first, it may be hard to keep your app at the top of app stores. However, if you use the correct marketing strategies, you may be surprised how quickly your app may become popular. Good luck!

About the author

GetSocial is an all-in-one solution to empower mobile app marketing and product teams with growth tools to maximize user acquisition, engagement, and retention. Our key benefits include referral marketing and content sharing solution, community engagement, mobile marketing automation, push notifications, social graph, deep links.

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