A look at the best ways for marketers to promote their games in light of mobile gaming’s soaring popularity since the pandemic.

Mobile gaming saw a considerable boost during the pandemic months of 2020; just last year, revenue from mobile games in the United States reached a record high of $10.73 billion. Even though the strictest lockdown restrictions are mostly behind us and consumers are reentering society, those newly acquired users have shown no signs of quitting. Mobile games have continued to dominate the space. 

Reaching newly interested consumers with the right game at the right time is a top priority for marketers today. In this article, we’ll walk through key steps that will help you understand how to market a mobile game.

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Prepare your product for growth

Understand your audience

Optimize for maximum visibility

App Store Optimization

Search Engine Optimization

Invest in advertising creative

Advertise your game in the wild

Prepare your product for growth

Using marketing strategies to drive new customers to your mobile game won’t make much difference to your bottom line if your retention rates are low. Before you make any progress with your marketing plan, make sure that your mobile game is satisfying your existing customers and is prepared to entice and entertain an influx of new users. Here are a few metrics you can track to assess your mobile game’s readiness for a wider market:

  • Frequency: How often do users play your game, and for how long?

  • Drop-off rates: How far do users get before they stop playing?

  • In-app purchases: What drives users to buy?

  • Popular features: Which features do users love, and which do they ignore?

  • Social Engagement: How and when are users engaging with your community?

Paying attention to metrics from early adopters and existing users will help inform your decision-making based on the success of your game so far.

Want to see these strategies in action and more? Check out The Complete Guide to Mobile Game Marketing.

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Understand your audience

Even as Apple’s privacy updates reduce the number of targeting variables available to modern mobile game marketers, it’s still imperative to understand your audience as intimately as possible. As targeting gets less, marketers will need to fall back on broad-strokes tactics that target the widest part of the bell-curve when it comes to audience interests and habits. Here are a few questions to ask yourself in order to develop an effective target audience for your mobile game:

  • Demographics: What is your ideal player’s age, sex, location, language, etc?

  • Game category: Does your game fall into the puzzle category? Strategy? Racing? What marketing best-practices apply to this category that might not be relevant to others?

  • Topic and story: What is your game about? What themes does it incorporate? How can you leverage this in developing ad creative?

  • Availability: Is your game available in a particular geographic market or language?

It’s fair to say that understanding your product and understanding your audience go hand in hand. Once you’ve identified the key themes and selling points of your game, for example, it should be easier to identify the consumers who might be interested in those same topics. Note that in the absence of user-specific identifiers, effective marketing will increasingly depend on modern technologies like machine learning (ML) to drive results. To learn more about our unique approach to ML-powered, check out our article “In the Post-iOS 14 Advertising World, Machine Learning Rules.”

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Optimize for maximum visibility

It’s important to make sure that your mobile game has the best possible chance of being seen and noticed by potential users. At the same time, it’s critical to make sure that the materials you publish about your mobile game are attractive and exciting so that once interested gamers do notice your mobile game, they’re inspired to download and become passionate players. That’s where App Store Optimization and Search Engine Optimization come into play.

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App Store Optimization

App store optimization is one of the most important organic advertising strategies for any mobile game marketer. Sometimes, hitting the right notes with all the elements that go into an app listing on the Apple App Store and Google Play is all it takes to draw in users. Optimizing also leads to better visibility in the app store environment, increasing the likelihood that your mobile game will show up in users’ search results or that it will be featured on a curated list. Pay attention to these elements when optimizing your app store pages:

  • Game title: Create a memorable name that says something about the mobile game or plays into its general themes.

  • App icon: Use bold colors and a unique visual style that makes sense for the style of your mobile game and features a character, object, or landscape from the game.

  • Description: Provide details about the game itself, enticing features, and the experience you want players to have. Include information about updates and in-app purchases.

  • Keywords: On Google Play, work relevant keywords into the description text. On the Apple App Store, input your target keywords in the dedicated field.

  • Screenshots: Capture still gameplay images to show compelling features, introduce new worlds, tease high levels, introduce characters, and more.

  • Game trailer: Give potential users an up close and personal experience of your mobile game. The more enticing your trailer video is, the more downloads it will encourage.

  • Ratings and reviews: High ratings and positive reviews are good ways to increase app store visibility and make potential users feel more comfortable through the words of their peers.

In addition to increasing visibility, app store optimization also helps boost conversion rates. Once a potential user sees your ad and taps through to the app store, an optimized listing that carries through the experience of the ad will help entice them to download and play.

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Search Engine Optimization

Creating a website for your mobile game ensures that potential customers will be able to find out more about you on the web. Mobile game players that don’t find new games through the app store are more likely to become users through your website, so make sure to feature your game trailer, highlight key features, and link to the Apple App Store and Google Play. Your mobile game website should incorporate SEO best practices throughout, regardless of whether or not you post regular updates or host a company blog. (If you do run a blog on your website, SEO content strategies like keyword optimization will help move the needle toward attracting new users.) 

With your App Store Optimization and Search Engine Optimization strategies working together, consumers will have a clear and compelling experience of your mobile game no matter what path they travel to reach their ultimate download decision.

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Invest in engaging advertising creative

Maximizing the effectiveness of your ad creative will have a lot to do with the nature of your mobile game and the makeup of your target audience. There are countless innovative new ad formats available to marketers these days, from video ads to playables. Consider these creative steps when thinking about how to market your mobile game using any of those new formats:

  • Spotlight gameplay: It’s always a good idea to give potential users a sense of what your game looks and feels like, even if you need to edit gameplay footage to squeeze a complex narrative into a short ad.

  • Stay on-brand: If you’re marketing a relaxing puzzle game, don’t design an action-packed video with fast-paced music. Keep your ad creative aligned to the tone and style of the game itself.

  • Capture attention: Use eye-catching visuals, a flashy opening sequence, bold branding, or other attention-grabbing techniques to inspire users to keep watching instead of scrolling past or skipping your ad.

  • Call users to action: Even the most incredible ad creative needs a strong call-to-action. Short phrases that encourage users to download, play, and enjoy the game will help guide them through the customer journey beyond the ad experience.

  • Target specific users: Put the information you learned while seeking to understand your ideal customer to good use. Create ads that follow specific user personas, cater to different demographic and interest groups, and speak to different types of people within your audience.

Ad creative needs to accomplish many goals simultaneously; it needs to capture viewers’ attention, give a sense of the game’s look and feel, and be intriguing and engaging enough to inspire downloads. 

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Advertise your game in the wild

Finally, it’s time to promote your game to the wider world. There are countless ways for mobile game marketers to make headway in this category, but here are some of the best ideas for this final step in how to market a mobile game:

  • Influencer marketing: Connect with influencers and celebrities that will sing your praises and sell their followings on the greatness of your game.

  • Public relations: Secure press coverage in gaming magazines in print and online, where everyone from new users to potential partners will read about your game.

  • Experiment with ad formats: From rewarded video to banner ads, there are many new formats you can work with to boost conversion rates and increase your ROAS.

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At MOLOCO, we work closely with mobile app developers to help grow their user bases and increase their revenue by continuously optimizing campaigns. Thanks to our proprietary machine learning algorithms, we’re able to transform data into sustainable growth, targeting quality users at scale and hitting ROAS goals. To learn more about how MOLOCO can help you succeed, contact us.