The Free to Play Game Design Bible: Mobile Game Marketing and Growth

This topic is very large and not directly the focus of this Free to Play Bible. However, as a game developer, especially a small team or solo indie developer, learning how to grow or marketing your game on a small scale is critical to growing and expanding your audience. The first thing to remember about growth marketing is that it can come from a huge number of disparate sources, each one geared towards getting more people to install your app. That’s it. Just how you achieve this growth, however, is down to the savvy marketer.
Mobile Game Marketing and Growth

A savvy marketer is someone who can get the most installs for the least money and this changes from week to week. What worked in the past is less likely to work in the future and so there is always a race to what’s new, fresh or effective. At its core there are three major KPIs that determine your effectiveness; your CTR (Click Thru Rate) determines how effective both your targeting and your creative are, your CPI (Cost per install) the amount of installs you have driven for your budget, and your eLTV (Effective Life Time Value) of your installs, split by campaign.

This is how effective each channel is at providing quality installs, an install that adds revenue to your bottom line. LTV can be particularly tricky during the early stages as you don’t have enough data, it’s an estimated figure. As a simple back of the napkin arithmetic, a good tip is to use Net Profit per Install as a measure: it’s simply the total profit generated by a campaign divided by the total number of installs. This gives you a gauge to see if a campaign will be profitable with very low amounts of data.

A marketer can control and utilise a medium to craft a message about the product. The better or more interesting the message the better the resonance with the audience, which in turn will lower the CPI of the campaign. It’s important to remember that not all growth marketing has to be paid for -a lot of it can be simply getting out and talking to people, whether that be trade shows or on radio or even on a forum. However, for most developers, the marketing of mobile apps will usually require you paying for app install ads on either Facebook or Google as these are the most effective way to scale your installs.

Spending money is very easy to do when it comes to advertising, but crafting a strong message that creates clicks and installs can require some more skill. Video has proven itself to be the most effective medium for mobile gaming, so investing and creating a good video can pay dividends when you come to launch.

You also need to focus on your app store page as the first thing people will see when they come to download your game – it can have a big effect as to whether people will convert to install your app and there are lots of guides and tweaks to improve your chances. A large amount of growth and marketing time is not actually spend on the marketing itself but on understanding the data that you are getting back from your audience – where your best players are located, their demographics, their engagement are all signals that a great growth marketer uses when planning their next strategy.

Check out the below for more tips on growth marketing:

Title Source Complexity
Traction Gabriel Weinburg
Understanding Instagram Ads InstaPage
Understanding Instagram Ads InstaPage
Top Mobile Video Ad Networks 2018 Mobile Free to Play
How to A/B Test game icons and creative Iterating Fun
Event Tracking for Mobile Games - Free Template Mobile Free to Play
Playrix cuts it’s CPI in half through testing Creative AdAge
Avergage CPI Fiksu Eric Seufert
Mobile Advertising Atlas SensorTower
Crawl, Walk, Run guide to LTV AdAge
Understanding your game through data Steam Spy
Power Triad of Resonance for Mobile Games Eric Seufert
Freemium Economics: Leveraging Analytics Eric Seufert
How much data do you need to predict a 90 day LTV Mobile Dev Memo