Indie Game Promotion: Indie games are a huge part of the industry, both in the world of mobile apps as well as in the world of PC and consoles.
Their main difference is that they are created by the hands of fans of their business, not by professional studios. In terms of ideas, the indie segment regularly becomes a donor for projects with the biggest budgets. But indie games themselves often have problems in terms of marketing and finding their players. Indie games also can’t sell at the cost of AAA projects, so margins still suffer.
The situation makes sense since development is handled by development, design, and scripting enthusiasts, not marketing experts.
In this article, we’ll tell you how to promote an indie game for the App Store and Google Play. We’ll talk not only about promotion channels but also about tools you might need.
How to Promote indie games
The first thing you should do is to launch a website that tells about the developers’ plans for the future and shows that the game is alive and growing. Put a knowledge base on the site if the game’s genre is appropriate and accumulate your own community of players.
The game’s website is not only important in terms of information but also necessary for the indexing of the resource and work with organic traffic. In this sense, if you want to make an indie game just for Google Play can be a little easier. The fact is that stor pages are automatically indexed by the search engine, so do your best to get organic traffic to your app page.
Checklist for your site
- game description;
- a short trailer;
- links to app stores and social networks;
- excerpts from game reviews;
- a story about the team;
In addition to the site, you can’t forget about the project’s social networks. Advertising tools in most social networks are now quite convenient, so by developing accounts you will be able to attract good traffic to the app page.
Select sites and run several advertising campaigns to select the most successful ones. Next, scale those channels.
Another important step is building and maintaining a community around your product. Some games are not single-player-oriented, so players act together, sharing the secrets of the experience and the results with the community. It’s important not to miss these emotions of the game and create a comfortable environment for communication.
The player community is also important as a place to publish their achievements. For example, the creators of Minecraft have always been attentive to players’ work. One of the key moments in popularizing the game was a partnership agreement with Twitch in 2013. The agreement included not only light publishing, but also recording streamers, so content makers flooded the airwaves for a while.
The gaming community is also a great platform for generating memes that go viral online just fine. One of the best examples is Uganda knuckles ( from the Sonic The Hedgehog game series) from VRChat. The meme was the most popular meme of 2018 according to Yandex.
Make sure your player community is close-knit and friendly. Don’t turn a blind eye to toxic user behavior and build a comfortable environment.
More than 80% of users conclude on recommendations from their friends and acquaintances, so creating the right atmosphere is an important and subtle point in all the work of promoting an app.
At the stage when you have just released a game app, you can take the help of resources that conduct audits. Yes, you might get a lot of negative feedback, but this is exactly what you should work on, so there is no need to be afraid.
You can share your indie game on Buildbox in the Showcase section. The Discord server also has a section dedicated to promotion. Join indie game development forums like Touch Arcade and TigSource, and check out the specific sections on Reddit: Play My Game, Let’s Play, iOS Gaming, Indie Gaming, Android Gaming.
Don’t forget about the various contests and events as well. For example, you can take part in the Indie Games Festival.
What tools to use to promote indie games
Modern game development has become simpler and can offer developers easier and more versatile tools than 5 years ago. For this reason, the inflow of new games is growing every year, but a small percentage of games pass greenlit.
On one hand, the chances of success for indie games are a little bit higher, because the community of developers itself has gained experience in how to promote their projects. On the other hand, there is still no universal guide and it is unlikely that there will ever be one.
Often enough problems arise at the stage of positioning. Gaming applications are not just perceived by many as time-killers, but they are deliberately expected to have procedural mechanics. For this reason, one of the most popular keys in gaming can be called a “clicker.”
The first thing you need to do to promote a game in the storeroom is to assemble a semantic core that matches the genre of your app and its mechanics. To compete effectively with apps that are already on the market, you can use, for example, the Checkaso Keywords Intersection tool. By finding out the keys you overlap with your competitors, you can optimize your core and rank them in the rankings.
Pay attention to what graphic elements your competitors use. Every element is important: icon, screenshots, video.
The element of video is underestimated by many because the key mechanics of the game can sometimes be explained by screenshots. On the one hand, this is true, but video shows the dynamics well, so it has a deeper effect on the user.
To optimize graphical elements, do A/B testing and choose the most converting option.
Checkaso has a special Graphic ASO section for working with graphics. There you can view the graphic elements of any application and collect the necessary referrals.
Remember that loyal player are the best sellers of your app. Create a comfortable environment for them to communicate and share their results. Launch a functional website and social media to stay in touch with your users at all times.
Explore free promotion opportunities by participating in contests and public audits, and choose your tools wisely to compete effectively against your competitors.