Comment & Opinion

Rethinking game marketing one player at a time

Finding light in the dark days for digital game marketing

Rethinking game marketing one player at a time

Jeffry van Ede is CEO and co-founder of Simplaex.

Though it might be a great time to be a game developer, these are dark days for digital game marketing.

The customary way of trying to find customers online has proven itself ineffective and outdated.

Relying on a motley assortment of ad exchanges, resellers, data aggregators and media buying platforms simply does not give developers the direct connection to players that they need.

The current game marketing ecosystem is akin to rolling the dice: Maybe you’ll reach the right people – and maybe you won’t. So it’s little surprise that the industry is contending with high prices, widespread fraud, low-quality leads and surging churn rates.

The current game marketing ecosystem is akin to rolling the dice.

Some developers have responded to this situation by emphasizing player retention over acquisition, but this still doesn’t address the fundamental problem that digital advertising often targets the wrong people.

And if players aren’t really interested in your kind of game, there’s not much point in spending money to try and keep them around.

Of course, ad sellers such as publishers, agencies and networks have little incentive to change an inherently opaque and unfair system. But many developers are no longer content to accept such conditions.

“We’re very quickly getting to a point where we can value your eyeballs. We’re not just gonna talk about how many you have anymore. No one is going to give you money because you have eyeballs,” said Gabe Leydon, CEO of developer MZ, in a now famous interview venting the frustrations of the industry.

“We want to know if they’re real. There’s a lot of fake eyeballs. There’s a lot of fraud. We want to know if it performs when we buy it.”

Those are all very reasonable demands, but what can put an end to the lack of transparency, hidden costs and middlemen failing to add any value in digital game marketing?

Our Berlin-based start-up is offering developers a glimpse into the future of game promotion and player acquisition at the Gamescom trade fair in Cologne, Germany this month.

Launched only in March, Simplaex is the first peer-to-peer marketing platform for game developers. We already have many of the game industry’s biggest companies as clients.

The new technology enables developers to buy, engage and sell to players while bypassing the traditional gaming ecosystem. Using solely first-party data and its own real-time bidder, it essentially functions as a marketplace for player acquisition and retention.

Simplaex enables developers to buy, engage and sell to players while bypassing the traditional gaming ecosystem.

Capturing in-game events of players in real-time, developers can use it to target identifiable users and tailor marketing campaigns on a granular level. Simplaex also offers personalization options to engage and reengage users throughout the lifecycle of a game.

Plus, the platform creates new revenue streams, such as by monetizing players that are no longer actively playing a game.

We never expected that nearly every game developer we talked to would be so annoyed by the current situation. But people really want an alternative, because the technology stack is getting more complex and their costs are increasing, but their results hardly change.

At Simplaex we focus on what really matters – players and players only. We will have direct access to over 100 million players by the end of this quarter, giving developers ability to mount personalized marketing campaigns for each and every one of them.

Developers can come see a live demo of the platform at the Gamescom to find out what Simplaex can do for their game.

Though it won’t fix your digital game marketing woes overnight, it might just make your day a little brighter. regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.