If you’re reading this, you’ve probably gone through the tedious process of building a mobile game app. The large amount of resources you’ve consumed so far is only one part of the story. Let’s not even get to the time it takes, plus the level of expertise required to build a decent game.

Mobile games are not like regular iOS apps.  Even the simplest you’ve seen possibly took a lot of resources and time to create.

But, why would anyone go through all that trouble? What’s the catch?

Well, here’s the most interesting bit.

Think about it. We’ve all been mobile game addicts at some point.

As a matter of fact, the mobile game category is the most engaging of all apps. Apart from, of course, default functions like messaging, contacts, and dialer.

Now, at one point, we assumed that Nokia’s Snake was the farthest mobile gaming could get. But smartphone tech has proven otherwise, thanks to processors that are now as powerful as standard PCs.

And get this. We’re just getting started. Tech companies still pushing mobile processing further. They continue to come up with smartphones that are powerful, appealing, and most importantly, interactive.

As a result, the average US consumer now spends at least 5 hours a day using their smartphones.

US Mobile Time Spent.

US Mobile Time Spent. Source: Flurry

One of the biggest beneficiaries of increased processing power, of course, has always been mobile game apps. Certainly explains why they are progressively becoming more intuitive and addictive.

It goes without saying that mobile gaming is the leading app category in user retention.  Just take a look at the percentage of internet users who admittedly use their smartphone game apps on a regular basis.

Share of internet users on mobile game apps.

Share of internet users on mobile game apps. Source: Statista

With such promising retention rates, a game app could possibly be your best chance at success. Especially if it’s incredibly good.

But there’s a problem…

get-app-downloads

The Level of Competition In The Mobile Game App Industry

You’re not the only app developer who knows this. As a matter of fact, many have thought about it, and they’ve subsequently launched numerous games on all mobile platforms.

This has seen the mobile game industry grow exponentially over the last couple of years. After earning $34.8 billion in 2015, the global mobile game market made $41.5 billion in 2016, and is expected to rise to $74.6 billion by 2020.

Mobile game app revenue.

Mobile game app revenue. Source: Statista

Going by this, no one could be happier than Apple. A whopping 80% of its App Store revenue comes from just the games category.

Cumulatively, there are more than 800,000 game apps, which take up a substantial share of the 2.3 million apps published by Apple.

App Store games.

App Store games. Source: Statista

If App Store game apps were people, they’d fill up more than ten stadiums. Going against such a multitude of competitors is not easy at all.

But some have done it successfully. Quite a number to be precise. Fortnite, for instance, is making close to $2 million per day. Candy Crush Saga is earning 1.3 million, while its sibling Candy Crush Soda Saga is raking in a daily revenue of $660,000. Pokemon Go is positioned between them with close to $1 million per day.

App revenue.

App revenue. Source: Statista

But, what’s so outstanding about these super-successful mobile game apps?

Well, they are good. But, admit it. We’ve all seen better games. Just not that successful.

So, what’s the secret?

Pretty simple actually.

PreApps has marketed more than 3,000 mobile apps and we’ve seen the results. We can tell you, without doubt, that a well-marketed mobile game app will win over more users than a much better game relying on a poor marketing strategy.

The role of marketing can never be overstated.

But the marketing tactics have to be exceptionally good, with the precision of a Samurai sword.

A home run in the App Store is only possible with strategic marketing. It’s what will get your target users to even try out the game to appreciate its uniqueness.

Fair enough. But how should you strategically market a game app?

Well, let’s find out through these 10 solid tactics… 

1.  Reach Out To Prospective Users Before Launch

Make no mistake about this. Marketing doesn’t kick off after you’ve published your game app on the App Store. A perfect strategy starts out with prelaunch app marketing.

This is where you reach out to your prospects before they even know about the game. Long before Apple eventually reviews it for publishing.

But what’s the point of this?

For starters, you’ll be able to assess your prospects’ expectations ahead of the actual app. Secondly, you’ll build a solid following that’s worth a decent app launch. Otherwise, you’ll only launch it to a ghost town in the long run.

2.  Submit For App Review and Invite Feedback

App ratings on the App Store are very reliable in tracking overall user experience and potential bugs.

But don’t get me wrong. You shouldn’t just sit and wait for App Store publishing to start learning what users think about your app.

There are numerous popular app review platforms you can leverage ahead of the final launch. The subsequent feedback from gaming enthusiasts should help you seal any loopholes beforehand.

You’ll also get to capitalize on the review platforms’ extensive audiences to build a following, and consequently warm the market ahead of the app launch.

3.  Use Teasers

In a study titled “Quantifying Movie Magic with Google Search”, Google ultimately established a direct correlation between movie sales and their respective Youtube trailers. A well-placed trailer is viewed widely, translating to box office success.

As a result, the Google can almost accurately predict upcoming movie sales according to trailer viewership. With a proven accuracy level of 94%.

Relation between trailers and sales.

Relation between trailers and sales. Source: Google

My point? Well, a movie trailer is the most widely known form of teaser advertising. It’s a marketing strategy of revealing little details to trigger thought and curiosity.

Now that it works well for movies, how about game apps?

This is where you move from the all-too-boring generic app press releases and start thinking big. Like accompanying them with well-thought-out gaming teasers.

This could potentially get even the dormant prospects warmed up for the launch.

4.  Reach Out To Influencers

Capitalizing on your influence over time to progressively market a game app is a commendable strategy. But unfortunately, it’s barely enough.

There are times when you need to extend beyond that. And start supplementing your campaign by leveraging other influential individuals.

Now, I’d understand if you considered celebrities. But c’mon, we know how that usually goes.

Their standard fees are insanely high. Especially when you’re dealing with the A-list. And to make matters worse, they are rarely passionate about the products they promote.

I tell you what though. There’s a much cheaper option. Working with digital influencers instead.

They may not be as flashy as regular celebrities, but they’ll get those numbers rolling. Perhaps surprisingly, even more than celebrities. Because 30% of prospects trust influencer recommendations as opposed to celebrity endorsements.

And that’s only one benefit. Here are the rest, according to a 2017 Linqia study, which surveyed top-level marketers among other respondents.

Influencer benefits.

Influencer benefits. Source: Linqia

5.  Make The Game Social

Deep down you know that winning over even one loyal game player takes substantial marketing efforts.

Now, imagine multiplying your users without any additional promotions. That’s what you get by integrating social media into your game.

Here’s the kicker though. You have to think this whole thing through to cleverly embed social media right where your users want it most.

That way, they’ll continue sharing their game achievements, and consequently, invite their friends to download and participate.

This strategy is certainly bound to work since, as a matter of fact, 70% of millennials are heavily influenced by their peers’ recommendations.

6.  Implement Paid Acquisition Campaigns

Here’s something I’m pretty sure you’ve heard before. The never-ending debate about paid advertising and organic marketing.

Okay, I admit the latter is increasingly way more effective at generating warm leads. But only if the entire campaign is rolled out strategically over a long period of time. Paid, on the other hand, is perfectly ideal for short-term results.

Now, we could spend hours analyzing the most ideal option. Or we could come up with a solid, comprehensive plan that involves both.

Such an approach, on average, attracts 25% more clicks, and subsequently 27% higher profits compared to relying only on one of the systems.

And that barely covers regular products. It could potentially be much more effective with game apps, considering the numerous options you have- Facebook Ads, Google UAC, and Apple Search Ads, and many more.

7.  Maximize Your App Store Optimization

This could, by far, be the most widely recognized app marketing tactic. Apple might not be open about the intricacies, but they acknowledge that the App Store employs a search algorithm. And the best way to get noticed is by enhancing your app’s ranking variables through app store optimization.

That said, here’s the most surprising bit. Despite the fact that the App Store accounts for 63% of all app discovery, we still have a substantial number of apps that are yet to get into the ASO bandwagon.

App discovery.

App discovery.Source: Forrester

Well, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your game app would be safe with a few keyword tweaks. The top search rankings are only reserved for the best of the best.

That means going beyond the keywords by implementing and maintaining complete ASO. I’m talking about getting everything right for the long haul. Including screenshots, app description, icon, app name, app demo video, app ratings, and overall user engagement. 

8.  Leverage Other App’s Audiences

Great app marketers know just how to compete against her apps. No doubt about it.

The best app marketers, on the other hand, go beyond that. They understand that the race to the top position can be easier if they engaged cross-app marketing.

This means stretching beyond your lane to reach out to other apps in different categories. You’d be surprised by the sheer audience some of them currently enjoy.

But don’t be too desperate to partner with any willing app. Stick only to apps that best complement your game app.

9.  Extend To Other App Stores

Through a press release, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook revealed that there are now 1.3 billion active Apple devices worldwide. Now that translates to an amazingly extensive market, to say the least.

But, let’s not forget that while mobile games are popular, not all app users would be interested in installing them. Leave alone preferring your specific game type.

It’s also worth noting that only a fraction of mobile game lovers are regular App Store users.

The bottom line? Simple. Extend as much as you can, as fast as you can. Your game could still be hosted on many other platforms, which are often frequented by Apple game lovers.

10.  Build a Web Presence

The App Store is only one part of your distribution strategy. While optimizing your game app page will help you hunt and capture App Store roamers, there’s still a wide jungle out there.

The web is way more extensive in terms of opportunities and prospective app users. And the only way to cast your fishing net here is building a solid web presence.

Sadly, it’s not as simple as only a website with optimized landing pages. You have to complement this with social media pages.

And the hardest thing overall is maintaining an optimal tempo the entire time. One that’s good enough to boost your SEO and build a formidable online following. 

Conclusion

app-secrets-bookTo recap:

  • The average US consumer now spends at least 5 hours a day using their smartphones.
  • It goes without saying that mobile gaming is the leading app category in user retention.
  • After earning $34.8 billion in 2015, the global mobile game market made $41.5 billion in 2016, and is expected to rise to $74.6 billion by 2020.
  • A whopping 80% of its App Store revenue comes from just the games category.
  • Cumulatively, there are more than 800,000 game apps, which take up a substantial share of the 2.3 million apps published by Apple.
  • Marketing doesn’t kick off after you’ve published your game app on the App Store. A perfect strategy starts out with prelaunch app marketing
  • There are numerous popular app review platforms you can leverage ahead of the final launch. The subsequent feedback from gaming enthusiasts should help you seal any loopholes beforehand.
  • App teasers could potentially get even dormant prospects warmed up for the launch.
  • 30% of prospects trust influencer recommendations as opposed to celebrity endorsements.
  • 70% of millennials are heavily influenced by their peers’ recommendations.
  • Combining paid and inorganic tactics, on average, attracts 25% more clicks, and subsequently 27% higher profits compared to relying only on one of them.
  • Your game could still be hosted on many other platforms, which are often frequented by Apple game lovers.
  • The web is quite extensive in terms of opportunities and prospective app users. And the only way to cast your fishing net here is building a solid web presence.

Going by these, are you now able to at least outline a perfect promotion plan? Feel free to send your precise details and we’ll gladly show you how best to market your game app.