Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Friday, July 15, 2011

Reality Check: One App's Marketing Story

Touched by a marketer?
An app developer posted on Gamasutra about just how well his marketing did for his latest app... or rather, just how tough it is to get noticed. His app, Banzai Bugs, was posted a few weeks ago, and here's some of what he found when he tried to get some attention for it:

  • Banzai Bugs got listed on the gamespress website (thanks guys) and stayed on their front page for... less than 12 hours.
  • Posting a release in the correct forum within touchArcade gets you top post for around 30 minutes to an hour at best. Within a day you are out of the first page of posts.
  • Emailing journalists at various games websites got zero response.
He did get interest from one web site due to the listing on gamespress, and got a review out of it. But when he made the app free for a day to celebrate and try to get some attention, the press ignored it. Worse, Apple screwed up with his app's listing on What's New, so he never made on the list.

His takeaway? Work to get noticed before you launch. If you aren't noticed, you won't get noticed... it's pretty tough out there.

Really, the marketing should be thought of before you even spend time building your product. You have an idea for a game, but before you run off and code it (spending months in the process) you should consider the marketing. Who's it aimed it? What's special about it? What will get this game noticed out of the hundreds of thousands of other games? Have you done your research and looked to see what other games are like it, and how yours would be different or better? Perhaps after going through this exercise you may decide not to do that game... or find a way to make it more marketable. Either way, you're better off.


  1. Honestly, if that's all he did to market his game, then it's no wonder he failed. That's not marketing, that's poking it with a stick.

    It's my opinion that every iOS game development team needs a marketer just as badly as it needs a developer these days.

    This video I found lays out some good basics for what it takes to successfully create buzz and market a game nowadays:

  2. I agree, but I think the best time for the marketer to be involved is at the beginning of the project, not the very end. If you throw a product out there before having down any marketing, it's going to make it a lot harder to get noticed. I'm sure some very good games have been out there for a while, and have just never gotten any attention.

  3. Exactly! There's a ton that can be done early on to build buzz, it just takes creativity and energy. I feel it's most important to think about the community building and networking aspects of marketing in the early stages of development, and later on you can leverage that to your advantage.

    Honestly, I think one of the easiest things you can do to try and build a little buzz, grow a grass root community, and do some bootstrap marketing (and maybe even make a little money) is run a Kickstarter fund raising campaign for your game.

    We found some great fans for our upcoming game this way even though we're brand new on the scene.

    Marketing the kickstarter campaign teaches you a lot of valuable lessons and acts as a dry run for releasing a game. Finding your market, finding your message, appealing to them, getting eyes on your product... and all of that good stuff.

    Anyway, I guess we'll find out how well these ideas are working once RoboArena comes out!