Fiksu's Viki Zabala serves up a one-stop guide to app marketing
To be successful, users must discover your game, install and then engage with it. Sounds simple?
In theory, yes, but the reality is there are many factors that can make or break your game's success.
Here are four best practices that developers from the smallest indie company to the largest brand can follow to cost-effectively grow their user base, while yielding great dividends.
Games are a common language
Developers often focus only on the US market and the iPhone, but this is often a mistake. Expanding your target audience can generate incremental revenue with minimal effort. Here's how:
Place your app into multiple app stores: Develop locally, but think globally. Many well-designed games don't need localisation, as users around the globe are accustomed to apps using the English language.
There is huge download potential in the US and in the UK, but would you like to triple your market size? We recommend looking to China, Japan, Korea, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, Australia and Spain.
In fact, we've seen significant differences in the ability of these countries to monetise over the rest of the world. Testing each market to identify the best-performing geographies is important, as there can be significant differences in monetisation rates by app as well.
Device expansion: Consider developing a universal iOS app rather than one just for the iPhone. The effort is minimal and the potential to expand your market is considerable.
Or you might consider a full-blown iPad app, as incremental revenue can be significant given iPad users statistically monetise better than iPhone users.
Also consider developing for Android. With its huge installed base, Android marketing can actually be less expensive than in the iOS world when it comes to acquiring loyal users.
And though conventional wisdom is that monetisation is not as effective as on iOS, this is changing with improvements in payment mechanisms on Google Play.
Strategy to acquiring installs
Once you've established your targeting set, you'll need to figure out the best way to attract and acquire new users.
The games category is the most crowded category in the app stores, so competition is fierce. Public relations and social media will only take you so far: marketing your app through in-app advertising is critical to moving the needle.
If your game is new to the market, you may want to make a big splash to climb the app store rankings quickly to gain exposure.
For this, a burst strategy over a three to five day period can be extremely cost-effective an aggressive campaign relying heavily on incentivised ad networks such as FreeMyApps, Flurry or Tapjoy, to attract high quality organic users from the increased visibility.
If you are looking for a longer-term effect or to maintain your current position, consider a sustained campaign in which you run regular, ongoing, non-incentive campaigns to keep your app visible.
These approaches can be used in tandem many app marketers run ongoing campaigns supplemented with short burst campaigns around app launches, device launches, holidays or other major events.
Convert users on your App Store landing page
The process of a user finding your app, evaluating it, choosing to download it and then using it is a chain of events that can be broken at any point by poor execution.
First, to attract users, it's important to ensure ad creatives are uncluttered, include the app's full name and focus on one theme.
For example, if the theme of your app is "Catch bunny zombies from space," make sure your creatives show bunny zombies, preferably ones in the process of being caught. When the user clicks on the ad, make sure the first line of the copy evokes the theme of bunny zombies.
Here are some examples of great ad creatives:
Once you've generated interest through compelling ad creatives, your landing page's impact is equally important. Make your landing page copy catchy, simple and memorable. It should be short, easy to read and consistent with the overall theme of your app.
It's critical for users to identify with success in your game, and a great way to do this is with screenshots. These should highlight the game in action and depict people winning or completing a task.
Finally, if your game is social or multiplayer, don't underestimate the power of app reviews. Consider introducing a ratings prompter if you need a boost. If someone has written an enthusiastic review, highlight it on your landing page. There's nothing more convincing than a testimonial.
The final element of your app marketing strategy may be the most critical of all the first 60 seconds of play.
You've carefully designed an engaging game with a great theme, you have ads that evoke that theme and draw in users and you have a clean, simple landing page that reinforces your theme. Your user is almost there. Be sure the first thing he or she experiences is a 'taste' of your game.
If you serve up a complex registration page, an advertisement for another product or anything other than something that draws the user directly into the game, your abandon rate will shoot up.
You're a gamer. You know details can make all the difference in your game. So be thoughtful and strategic about selecting your targets, expanding your horizons to other devices and geographies and making the entire chain of communications ads, landing page and the game itself consistent and compelling.
By paying close attention to these details, you'll be rewarded.
You can follow Viki on Twitter, or find out more about Fiksu and its services on the company's website.