How do I market my Google Play games?

How do I market my Google Play games? Aug, 1 2023

Understanding the Market Landscape

Trust me, folks, marketing your Google Play games is like navigating through a dense forest without a compass. You might discover something remarkable, or you may find yourself going around in circles. That's why understanding the market landscape is fundamental. Knowing what you are up against and where you should steer your efforts could save you from running in circles. With over 2.7 billion smartphones worldwide, the Google Play Store is seasoned with numerous prospective gamers. The pandemic has only catalysed this digital growth, and I reckon we are heading towards even higher numbers. However, with increased potential comes increased competition.

Imagine all the tech gurus out there crafting games from the wee hours until the proverbial cows come home. Heck, when I created 'Zombie Outbreak: Survival', I spent more time staring at my screen than my poor cat. She only received half of my usual 'meow-time'. Behind every successful Play Store game is immense sacrifice, effort, and in my case, a slightly neglected feline. Understanding competitors and customer expectations is the first step towards successfully marketing your games.

Mastering App Store Optimisation (ASO)

How do you differentiate your game from the rest and give it that extra visibility? That's where the term 'App Store Optimisation' (ASO) comes into play. ASO, often compared to SEO of the app world, is an essential survival skill in the wilderness of the Google Play Store. If done correctly, this process can lead to improved discovery, more downloads, and higher rankings.

Think about this. When I Googled 'best survival games', my 'Zombie Outbreak: Survival' didn't even show up in the first ten pages! Thankfully, with an ASO makeover, we've now hit the top 50. Yes, successful ASO requires keyword optimisation, localisation, ratings, and reviews management. But also, focusing on visuals such as the app icon, screenshots, and video previews can significantly enhance game downloads.

Integrating Social Media Marketing Strategies

Where do you find your potential players the most? On social media platforms, of course. Truthfully, I found my first 1000 players for 'Zombie Outbreak: Survival' on various social media platforms! If used smartly, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even LinkedIn could be prosperous markets for your games. Posting engaging content frequently, interacting with your audience, and leveraging influencers are some successful ways to keep your gaming community lively and interested.

I remember the day my game got a shoutout from a micro-influencer on Instagram. Downloads started pouring in like a burst water main, and let me tell you, that was exhilarating! So, never underestimate the power of a well-planned social media strategy.

Making Use of Google Ad Campaigns

If you're not using Google Ads yet, then you're missing out on a massive potential user base. Once your game is live on the Google Play Store, it's time to leverage Google's Universal App Campaigns (UAC) to boost your visibility across Google's largest properties. You can reach users across Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, Gmail, and the Google Display Network, all within a single campaign.

Taking advantage of this, I managed to rope in gamers from all sorts of backgrounds. Users who weren't even initially interested in survival games ended up giving 'Zombie Outbreak: Survival' a whirl, all thanks to these campaigns. That's the power of Google's machine learning algorithms for you!

Ensuring Excellent User Experience (UX)

So you've pulled in some eager gamers with all the marketing strategies under the sun. But guess what, maintaining and growing your user base requires an excellent User Experience (UX). Players want immersive, engaging, and straightforward gameplay. The biggest blunder you can make is to ignore user complaints or suggestions. Constructive criticism can be your best friend when optimising your game for better user experiences.

I will never forget the day when a player wrote a lengthy email explaining how my game's zombie encounters were too predictable and easy. Jeez, I was sweating bullets while reading that! But, acting on the feedback, I upgraded the AI mechanics to make zombies smarter (a paradox, I know!). Guess what, players not only noticed the changes but also appreciated the attention to their feedback. Voila! More downloads!

Deploying Beta Testing and Early Access

We are all humans, folks, and humans tend to make mistakes. If there were no mistakes, why would I still stumble after a couple of pints of beer? Point being, before you launch your game to the wider public, it's worthwhile subjecting it to rigorous beta testing and early access. With this, you can reveal and rectify bugs, glitches or game-balancing issues with a smaller group of enthusiasts before moving forward.

Just before releasing the initial version of 'Zombie Outbreak: Survival', I launched a beta version for 500 players. Boy, were there bugs! I'm talking about zombies floating instead of walking, and players stuck on the map's edge. Good thing we caught those in the beta because if it was live, loads of players might've given us the cold shoulder. Sometimes, it's the little things, like a floating zombie, that save the day (or the game, in this case).

In conclusion, marketing your Google Play games will not be an overnight task. Rather, it will require consistent efforts, thorough understanding, and heaps of patience. But, let me assure you, folks, the result is worth the effort. So, get your developer hats on, and dive into this vast pool of opportunities. And remember, even when things seem gloomiest, don't lose hope. After all, it's always the darkest before the dawn.

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