7 Questions to Ask a Video Game Marketing Agency or Publisher
A video game marketing professional, I get asked these questions. A LOT. When to work with a marketing agency? What about full-service shop – all things video game publishing? Especially by indie game developers. Both by actual paying clients, and by prospects. To someone new to making video games, these topics are easily misunderstood. Esoteric.
To tell the truth, I have lost count. A former brand director with an AAA video game developer-publisher and head of marketing for an early social game developer, I have been pitched a LOT. As in dozens of times each year.
Developing and marketing a video game? AND to have it become a chart-topping hit on the App Store, Steam Store, or Google Play Store?
It is a lot like being in the boxing ring with a Manny Pacquiao, Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, or Muhammed Ali…in his prime. The odds are against you. No ifs, ands, and buts about it. Do not forget that for one single second. But if you ask a strapping young lad named Cassius Clay in 1964? At least you are going into the ring with a shot at immortality.
Two possible outcomes really.
Get them right? And your game has the rightful chance at GREATNESS. Be the next Super Mario, Angry Birds, Halo, or Assasins Creed.
Get them wrong? And your game will die on the vine. Like a concept aircraft, that never ever lifts off the runway.
1000 Dreams Fund for Girl Gamers to Catching Pokemon 6′ Apart
A video game marketing professional, I’ve been following both gaming and eSports. Now, more than ever. Which video game studio is being agile and nimble? How exactly is the video game industry transforming and adapting? Dean Takahashi of Venturebeat just reported what we all suspected. Newzoo had adjusted its 2020 eSports revenue down again. Again. From a forecast of $1.1 billion pre-COVID in February, to $1.059 billion in April, again to $973.9 million in July, and now to $950.3 million.
With the pandemic raging still, the attendance of eSports events notwithstanding, along with sponsorship dollars and merchandise sales. What’s the silver lining?
That the Video Game Industry and eSports Are Positively Resilient
A shining example of agile evolving gameplay to accommodate social distancing? Why, Niantic and Pokemon Go of course. COVID sucks. Social distancing is unnatural. Wearing masks everywhere is bothersome. Not to mention people cannot see facial expressions, a fundamental way we communicate through body language. These suck. Get it.
5 Keys to Mobile Game or App Marketing Success with Instagram
Got a kick-butt mobile game or app? Sweet. Then Instagram is one marketing channel you cannot afford to ignore. Instagram’s potential cannot be underestimated especially when it comes to marketing or promoting products and services. Not just for ordering fast food, or driving foot traffic to a brick-and-mortar store or gym.
A visually-oriented social media platform, Instagram can be leveraged to enhance app store optimization, discoverability and retention marketing for mobile apps and video games as well.
Meaning, you don’t just use Instagram for sharing how you looked this summer. You carve out an Instagram marketing strategy that will help you not only introduce your mobile game or mobile app to your target audience but also drive major traffic to your product website.
However, it won’t be possible if you don’t take some of the most successful Instagram marketing tactics into consideration. Instagram marketing, especially for promoting a mobile game or application, is tricky. So, how do you get over the marketing hurdles and develop a highly converting video game marketing strategy? Stay with us till the very end find out!
5 Keys to Mobile Game or App Marketing Success with Instagram
Here are some of the most important revelations that you will need to introduce to your mobile game or app marketing for Instagram. We will go through each of them in detail to help you figure out the technicalities involved.
Instagram for Mobile Marketers
Instagram is well equipped for marketers that are looking to promote visually appealing products. Well, to be honest, you don’t necessarily require a visually appealing product to run a successful marketing campaign on Instagram. The creatives, however, cannot afford to NOT grab eyeballs and hearts. Native ads and formats that look like legitimate bonafide user-generated content or UGC.
The social media platform has provided enough opportunities for mobile marketers to promote their products. No matter what your products are, it mostly depends on how you portray them in the creatives. The creatives you prepare should be designed appropriately to 1) be a scroll-stopping agent and 2) depict your product’s functionalities to perfection.
You have got to grab your target audience’s attention since you are fighting with other players for a place on the feed. Now, how can you do that? Well, the answer to that question is the content you produce, of course, to leverage the different functionalities Instagram has to offer.
Here the types of content that you can design and publish to promote your mobile gaming application on Instagram:
These ads look exactly like an organic Instagram picture post and give the users options to like, leave a comment, and share the content.
Video Ads give you ample space and time to play with your content and grab attention for at least a minute. Capturing attention and coming up with effective CTA is crucial to make successful video ads on Instagram.
You can give amazing effects using the Instagram carousel ads. Since you are a mobile gaming company, you can use it to showcase different features of your application by weaving a story.
Instagram Stories Ads
The stories ads do what it says – create stories worth sharing. These are vertical ads that appear between stories. You can design your story ads or use Instagram’s creative tools to create high-quality stories for your audience.
But, you will never succeed in using the above content efficiently if you don’t have your Instagram marketing objectives figured out.
Mobile Marketing Objectives
When it comes to setting up mobile marketing objectives for social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook, will have to implement a full-funnel approach. In other words, we will have to map out our target audiences’ journey right from install to re-engagement and then retargeting.
This is an important part of your overall App Store Optimization strategy and will have a huge impact on the strategies you will use for advertising your mobile application on Instagram. Let’s figure out how app installs, re-engagement, and retargeting are different and how they impact different parts of a funnel.
App installs usually forms the upper funnel advertising strategies that are implemented to attract both new and existing mobile app users. You need to find the right users because you are not just looking for people that will download your application but also for the ones that will actually use it.
App re-engagement campaigns on Instagram form mid-funnel advertising strategies. In this, you will be focusing on the audiences that have become inactive on the application. You will also be targeting the users that have uninstalled your application. The idea is to maintain an active user base.
Lower-funnel marketing strategies involve in-app advertising. In this, marketers can use machine learning to understand the real-time behavior of the active users. The information will help them come up with personalized ads to bring the users back once they leave the application.
Targeting New Prospects
Targeting new prospects to drive more app installs on Instagram is not complex at all. However, you will have to consider a few points, especially when it comes to developing an advertising strategy.
Choice of Ads
As we mentioned earlier, you have several Instagram ads that you can run for mobile app advertising. You have got photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, stories ads, and collection ads. The best thing is that you can optimize these ad types for your advertising objective, which in this case, is getting mobile app installs.
Call to Actions
You don’t just want the users to consume your advertisement and scroll away. The users should be encouraged to take action once they are done consuming the content. This can be done using a well-drafted call to actions or CTAs. In this case, you will be using CTA buttons like ‘Install Now’ or ‘Learn More’. There are almost 10 different CTA buttons available on Instagram, so you better select the right one.
The online user is inundated with a barrage of content every single second. How would you make a space for yourself? Well, you do that by being extremely creative and mindful while designing the ad creatives. In other words, you have to figure out what exactly stops people from scrolling and triggers them to click on your ad or perform the desired CTA. This requires many rounds of A/B testing, so create a budget for that as well. You can also run ads on user-generated content that will give you more credibility.
Lastly, you don’t want to show up before the wrong people on Instagram. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can easily access the latter’s targeting options and improve the conversion rate of your ads.
Re-engagement campaigns are, as we mentioned earlier, run to bring the user back to your application. The targeted users have stopped using the application (inactive users) and can be brought back by introducing them to new exciting features or updates in your application. How do you do that? Let’s find out.
Start with the right users
Use mobile analytics to figure out the right people to target on Instagram. Spend a good amount of time setting up an audience for re-engagement campaigns because running ads against the wrong audience might result in bad publicity.
Opt-in Push Notifications
Always try to make your application users opt-in for push notifications. This will ensure that they are in contact with the application even if they don’t open it for a long time. This is quite a basic strategy to keep your users actively engaged.
Advertise using Rich Media
Then, you can also attract inactive users on social media applications like Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. However, you will have to focus on creating high-quality content and implement a structured App Store Optimization strategy.
Deep linking is a phenomenon that you can leverage to redirect your users to the desired application screen. All you have to do is pick some of the right keywords, select the precise app screen for the link, and then advertise using the same link on various online marketing platforms. This will not only help you improve your conversion rates, but also boost customer retention.
3 Notable Instagram Ads in Mobile Games & Apps
Here are some of the best examples of Instagram ads for mobile games:
Certain mobile games are better with friends! What better way to celebrate a common love for “candy crushing” than a dance challenge? The below Instagram Candy Crush Saga mobile game campaign, positive captured the spirit. The lovely eye candy that the mouth-watering, visually stunning candies… Topped and amplified with a properly laid-down challenge…with friends!
Here are some of the best examples of Instagram ads for general mobile applications:
In case anyone questions the marketers and agency at KFC Italy? Be certain this simple catchphrase “How Dip Is Your Love?” has been tested thoroughly. Extensively tried and tested over and over, via consumer insights and market research. Marketing genius, backed by data!
Instagram, if we go by design, is perfect for branding mobile games or applications. But you are not going to harness its potential if you overlook the above mentioned key aspects of Instagram marketing. The reason is simple. Instagram is evolving every minute and the factors that lay the foundation for evolution have been covered in the post. We highly recommend kickstarting your mobile game or app marketing on Instagram by understanding the ‘What-How-Why’ of it. Are you using Instagram to market your mobile game application? Do share the challenges and obstacles you have faced during the course in the comments section!
Reviewing Manticore Game’s CORE Engine: Sandbox platform for making video games UGC and video game publishing
More and more young gamers dream about following their passion and working in the video game industry.
The traditional path to making video games? Extremely hard. It is a career with unclear, complex career paths. Convoluted at best. Manticore realizes the difficulty of making video games. Its response? A sandbox environment that makes making video games and publishing video games intuitive and user-friendly. Like others, it has designed a game engine that simplifies the creation process. More importantly Manticore provides a digital playground where you can publish your own games made on the CORE engine. Your concept, your user-generated content or UGC, published when YOU are ready to get player feedback. Think of it as UGC and content creation plus video game publishing in ONE platform.
Core is a game engine built on top of the Unreal Engine.
The premise is to make an all-in-one platform where one can create, publish, and play their games and UGC in the simplest way possible.
Manticore wants to take away the intricacies of game development and let everyone focus on the design elements of the development, rather than having to deal with complex configuration problems.
Engine design and Game creation: Core offers a simple drag-and-drop interface, and also richer coding via Lua.
On top of being built on the Unreal Engine Core also uses Lua for scripting. Lua lets users dig deep and manipulate the source code of their games. Other than that, the creation process is quite straightforward.
Users can just drag and drop objects from Core’s stock library or design their own unique world on top of the frameworks provided by Manticore in the game engine. Like Roblox, this strategy of letting players create UGC to test and engage other gamers is not new. But to revolutionize video game creation and publishing as a category? Ambitious. And amazing.
There DO exist some limitations. For example you can’t import your models or customized materials that you made somewhere else to CORE. Rather you are stuck with the building blocks Manticore gives you in the game engine. Not to despair however. To counter limitations of this self-contained environment, CORE gives you many tools out of the box. These include a huge selection of in-game content that creators can easily take advantage of.
The end results? One can start his or her journey making video games, minus a steep learning curve.
The Core here provides the users with all the barebones stuff with more than just a few gimmicks.
Anything and everything that you can do in a game engine can easily be done here visually
The creation process is intuitive. And provides a positive experience especially for the newbie game developer.What about documentation? Or help getting started? Manticore has provided a comprehensive manual. You can easily access the documentation on Manticore’s website through the Core engine. They have covered everything from Basic Tutorials to the Core API in detail.
They literally give you anything that you need to know about—especially if this is someone’s first time making a game. Consider it an easy transition. One can be a working Joe by day. And a game creator by night. On CORE.
Publishing Games: Built-in Discovery and Publishing in the CORE Engine
You can publish the games created in Core on their platform. Here other players on the engine can hop on in your game and try it out. Think of it as simple quick-and-dirty beta. Including multiplayer on their platform.
Automatic Multiplayer Support
Out of the box, any game published on Core is multiplayer compatible. Why does this matter? A LOT if you are making a battle royale stage or just an FPS shootout Arena. Even without the technical knowledge about backend mechanics, having multiplayer support shortcuts design and testing.
Any player can just easily enter that game. Or you can just invite your friends for a private Showdown. Think built-in discoverability. And limited closed beta. Rather than investing time and energy in traditional market research and consumer insights, Core lets creators TEST the concept for fun, playability and gather feedback with real players. The only question is how many, how broadly, based on the readiness of the game.
Like Game Central Station in Wreck It Ralph, Core lets you play your characters in different games on the Engine
What happens if you get bored with one game? Take a deep breath. The portal devices in the published games lets you play your character from one game and keep playing inside another game. It’s like your own personal avatar and character. One that you can continue playing through different creations with your friends or teammates.
Think of it as an interconnected multiverse of video games. You can just hop into different worlds through these portals and just have a fun gaming experience. JUST like Game Central Station in Wreck It Ralph!
Solo game design:
Or, if you just want to make a narrative-driven game experience, you can also make that on Core.
Manticore has added a whole lot of diversity to its game engine and even more so to its publishing platform. You basically have everything that you might ever want as a game developer. Even after you have designed and published a game, there is replay and repurpose value. In short you can make any design changes that you want quickly and without destroying the game balance.
Learning a new game engine usually takes weeks or months. With its simple drag and drop, Core gives you an Express ticket. To make the game development experience simpler and a whole lot less painful. Not to mention quickly beta testing and monetizing an entire game of your own creation. Your UGC, developed and published your way.
Final Thoughts: Great promise and potential, even in Alpha
Core is a great game engine for video game development and making and publishing UGC. It does have a few drawbacks. Video games developed on Core, for now, can only be published in the Core’s own game library. You cannot take them out, or publish them on any game store for now.
Manticore did said on their website that they are working on making these games available on mobile and steam. But right now, you are committing to developing and publishing exclusively on CORE.
The other big limitation is that, you can’t import any foreign object in the engine that you made somewhere else. So, you are basically stuck within their toolbox and only limited by the tools they provide you with. But overall, for an Alpha version, Manticore has really outdone themselves. And delivered on making a great engine with a surprisingly huge selection of built-in content.
Even the programming model is extremely polished. Some people may be challenged getting used to the built-in code editor. For now, Core is an excellent platform for first-tie game developers. Especially those who just want to create a good game and have fun later on playing on it with their friends.
Roblox and Minecraft are two spectacular sandbox games. Both occupy a segment of the video game industry that is targeted at young kids aged 7 to 12. Both loved by millions of gamers all over the world. Quite similar to each other, they often get compared to each other by gamers. Both games combine education with fun. What does that leave me as player? Something truly unique and interesting. Whether in terms of Art, UGC (User-Generated Content) or gameplay, the list of similarities run long. Both of these games go head to head against each other. For good reasons.
Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at the rivalry between these two titles. I will compare all of the different aspects of both of these games and let you decide which game is better.
Now, without any further ado, let’s get started!
Minecraft is currently the best-selling game in the entire world. Make that over 200 million copies sold as of 2020. Developed by Mojang, Minecraft gets about 126 million active users every month.
Set in a blocky world, Minecraft is a very quirky game. You can literally create anything in this game or go out on adventures with your friends. This game is perfect for single-player or multi-player gamers.
Art-Style of Minecraft: Blocky Cartoonish World with Immersive Realism
Like I said above, Minecraft is set in a blocky world. One in which the art-style is quite unique and interesting. Everything has a cartoonish-touch in this game. Yet it still manages to remain realistic and immersive. From gorgeous castles to a pixelated piece of art. You can basically create anything in this game.
Minecraft’s Gameplay: Awesome Survival or the Sandbox of Your Creation
The gameplay of Minecraft is extremely diverse. You can do whatever you want. This game can take you on an awesome survival adventure. Or it can be the sandbox of your own creation.
When you jump into survival mode, you will have to survive in the harsh world of Minecraft by gathering resources and finding food and shelter. Enemies appear at night. You must defeat them in order to survive.
In creative mode, you are given infinite resources and the ability to fly. You can basically create anything in this game, even a working computer. There are tons of materials in the game which replicate real-life properties.
The online gameplay of this game is something completely different!
When you interact with other players, you get a whole new list of game-modes which have been created by the community. There is a lot of UGC in this game which is just waiting to get explored. You can also interact with other players online and make some new friends. Or you can just invite your real-life friends. And play for a long game of Minecraft.
Monetization: Minecraft Marketplace but NO Shortcuts
Want to make money using Minecraft? Then you might be in for a long ride. Making video games and money from Minecraft is not very easy as compared to Roblox. Though, there is the Minecraft marketplace where the users can sell their content to earn some bucks.
It might be a little tough to start making money through this game. But it is still totally possible.
Unlike Minecraft, Roblox is a completely free game. One which can be enjoyed by anyone quickly and easily. Roblox currently has 115 million active monthly users. What separates Roblox from Minecraft you ask? Roblox is more than just a game. Roblox is a simplified game-development platform which is extremely fun and engaging. A very creative and fun game, Roblox can get ANYONE hooked.
Since Roblox is free, its creators generate revenue thanks to in-game microtransactions. By using good old-fashioned market research and consumer insights, a young creator can find the market appetite for his or her game content.
Roblox’s Art Style: Cartoonish but Much More than Blocks
The art-style of this game is pretty cartoonish, but it doesn’t follow a blocky theme like Minecraft. The world of this game looks quite beautiful, and it is filled to the brim with mysteries that are waiting to get explored.
Gameplay: UGC is the backbone of Roblox!
Roblox is more than just a game. It’s a gaming platform where you can basically enjoy any genre of games. The games on Roblox were created by gamers for gamers. The possibilities are endless. You can play the Roblox version of Call of Duty. Or should you so choose, enjoy a Roblox Minecraft.
UGC is the backbone of Roblox!
Roblox is not a single-player game. Instead it can only be enjoyed together with the community. You can just play with your friends. Or you can play with other people online. There are about 40 million games currently available on the platform, which have been created using the Roblox developer tools.
Do YOU want to try out different games and socialize with tons of people online? Then Roblox is the game for you.
Monetization: Roblox Can Help Anyone Generate an Income for Themselves!
Monetization is a major factor which might make you want to try out Roblox instead of Minecraft.
Like I said before, in Roblox, the games are designed BY users. You can create your own game on the platform and generate revenue from it. The games themselves are free. However, the user can earn money through microtransactions. Robux is the virtual currency of Roblox, usable by gamers to purchase different items. Whenever a gamer uses Robux to buy an in-game item, Roblox keeps a small cut and gives you the rest. A HUGE selling-points for Roblox.
Conclusion: Minecraft for Single-Player or Social Fun. Roblox to Make New Friends or to Try Your Hand at Coding & Content Monetization
Minecraft and Roblox are both breathtaking games. Both worth checking out. The ONE that you end up spending most of your time playing depends on your own preference.
Just looking to have a fun single-player adventure? Or simply trying to have some fun with your friends, then Minecraft is what you should be playing.
Looking to make new friends online? Then definitely give Roblox a go. Want to try your hand at coding or even earning revenue from your creation? Then Roblox is the game for you. Not only is Roblox more educational than Minecraft, Roblox can introduce young gamers to the world of coding or game content monetization.
Both of these titles are extremely fun and filled to the brim with endless possibilities. Personally, I prefer Minecraft as I really love its approach towards creativity.