How to advertise an online game

The year before last, I talked about how much it costs to make a browser game . And now one of the games that I mentioned in that article is launched. This is a budget indie Star Warrior project. From its inception to release, it took a little over a million rubles to develop it. Of these, ~ 170K was spent on advertising.

In small volumes, well-known and hitherto unknown methods of advertising available to the online gaming project were tested. Raising budgets, this experience can be transferred to a large project and pour in the very 9-12 million that are necessary for the successful launch of a large game on the market.

In this article I will share information about each of the methods indicating the effectiveness and, which, in my opinion, is very important, specific links to traffic sources.

Game Portal Press Release

A well-prepared and widely distributed press release is the basis of the advertising campaign: it gives both direct registrations and the growth of organic traffic. We divide the process into two parts - the preparation of the text and the actual spread.

Text preparation

An interesting PR occasion for the press. In the basic configuration, this is the launch announcement, the start of the CBT, the start of the MBT and a major update. Depending on the size of the project, a great many other publications can be made between the announcement and the start of the game. To do this, first of all, you need a good informational guide, which can be a story about one of the features of the game accompanied by video / screenshots / art, special events (for example, an action with a key in a PTA), interviews, etc.

Each news story should contain a twist in order to better disperse in the press and attract more attention from players. For example, the Star Warrior is:
  • The announcement of the game . Gift in the form of in-game currency: an amount equivalent to 1,000 rubles for recording on an alpha test up to a certain time. I want to pay special attention to the provocative name “Star Warrior: 1000 rubles for 1 alpha test!”, Which made this announcement the most successful of all the distributions for Star Warrior.
  • Special Guide - the start of the campaign on Boomstarter . In this post, they emphasized thrash. The name “Revive Stalin in the World of Star Warrior” speaks for itself. The announcement was the most disastrous of all. As a conclusion, we can say that you need to be careful with trash.
  • Alpha test start . We continue to beat the theme of the gift in the game, translated into the equivalent of real money: "A draw of 100,000 rubles on the alpha test of the Star Warrior game!" It works very well. Inspired by the old epic Prime World press release .
  • Start MBT . It was a high-quality press release with a twist in the form of promotional codes for a gift in the game. But without the wow-effect, in contrast to the announcement of the game and the start of alpha, where the emphasis was on "rubles". As a result, a good, but by no means an outstanding result.

Press post

After the text of the press release with the wow-effect in the title and content is ready, there is a need to agree with the game portals on its publication. The smaller the project, the more difficult it is to do it. On most resources, you will be asked for payment for this, which varies from one to six thousand rubles, depending on the popularity of the gaming site. It will be necessary to write off personally agree on the publication and its conditions with the administration of each resource, resolve disputed issues, pay, etc. I highly recommend doing this in advance. Otherwise, you risk getting stuck only with the spread of the press release for the whole day.

Under the spoiler you will find a list in which I have listed most of the game’s resources on the Runet. For some, I also showed the number of transitions from publication and conversion to registration. I think that this information will help you save several hours of personal time and expand your list of press posts. By the way, you will not find this on the Internet. The closest analogue is only one .

Game Resources List
Resource VK Group Link to publication Transitions Registrations 635 157 515 155 670 101 480 64 122 60 222 42 145 33 113 17 58 fifteen - Tyk 71 4 The largest gaming portal - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A small hint: when you agree on the publication of your press release, ask for a separate post in the VK group of the portal. They just won’t do it, but if you ask, it will be a bonus to the main placement.

Special resources can help with the placement, which, for a fee, make for you the distribution of a press release in the editorial office of publications on thematic categories. You cannot fully rely on them, otherwise you will get minimal coverage. But you can use it as an additional measure. At Star Warrior, they used SoftPressRelease for $ 90 .


Usually, a year or more before the start of the game, its announcement is made and a recording on the PTA opens. Throughout the development and testing period, the base of enrolling users is growing. The most important task of the operation is to build up this database as much as possible before the start of the game, so that on the launch day you can send a newsletter and get an audience that is already interested in your game.

There are a few simple rules that can improve the efficiency of the newsletter.
  • Name . Contains the name of the game, a call sounds, a gift is mentioned. For example, “Take your gifts in the game Star Warrior”, “Inside is a surprise in honor of the launch of Star Warrior! Quickly open it! ”,“ Star Warrior: a gift in honor of the launch. ” It’s also good to use a character’s nickname in the mailing name.
  • The newsletter itself . The less text you send, the better. Ideally, these are just a few words inscribed in the mailing list design. The transition to the landing is carried out by clicking on any place of distribution. In the design, it is desirable to have the art of a female sexual representative, the presence of a gift picture, the button “Pick up a gift”, “Play” or another appeal to the user. Moreover, the button is needed despite the fact that the entire newsletter is one big link.

The above is the very tip of the iceberg that does not take into account a number of nuances and works specifically for promotion. A detailed description of the features of working with mailings is worth a separate article.

I want to note that if you are working on launching a game, then with a high probability you already have other online projects, friends in this field with similar startups. Feel free to do a separate newsletter on your other databases, as well as ask / exchange the database from friends.

Affiliate networks

In recent years, networks of affiliate programs with payment for a specific user action are gaining high popularity. As part of the Star Warrior, 3 grids were tested.

  • PlanBMedia . Probably the most efficient grid. As the action chosen to achieve the third level of the Citadel (done in one day). The cost of the action was set at 40 rubles. As a result, 250 test offers were rolled back in 4 days. The conversion of those who remained in the game after fulfilling the terms of the offer amounted to more than 30%.
  • Admitad and Cityads . These are now one of the largest players in this market. You can always meet them at thematic exhibitions such as CWI. As part of the Star Warrior experience, I can’t share specific statistics yet. I can only say that it’s better to immediately agree on payment for the actions you are interested in, and not for registration. And also immediately set an underestimated, market price. The rate of 13-25 rubles for registration is not quoted by webmasters, and your test advertising campaign for a thousand registrations can go on forever. The quality of traffic when paying for registration is normal, the conversion to effective registration is ~ 13%.

Preparation of work with each grid takes about a week, taking into account all technical integrations and approvals. So it’s better to start in advance.

Contextual advertising and targeted advertising in VK

A popular way of promotion, tied primarily to high-quality landing pages and correctly selected texts / images. The Internet is full of articles on this subject, so I will not go into details. In the experience of Star Warrior, I only note that it is very important to prepare a good entry point in advance, showing high conversions from going to registration. Otherwise, all your expenses for advertising of this type can go to nothing.

Banner advertising on gaming portals

The more expensive the dollar is, the less effective it is. If last year it was still possible to reduce the cost of registration from banner advertising to 50 rubles per registration, now it can only be done with an outstanding banner and landing page. Otherwise, I recommend not even trying it - a sheer loss of money. For example, a banner on a good portal for $ 180 per week showed results in 2K clicks and less than 10 registrations. Despite the fact that the conversion from switching to registration from the same resource from a press release was more than 25%. If you are still planning to place banners, then look at the small portals. With them comes quality niche traffic. For example, World-mmo and Gamezet give good registration streams for little money.

There is an option to place banner ads on non-gaming portals that your target audience visits. It can be various torrents, video hosting, file sharing, sites about space for a space game and so on. There was no such experience on Star Warrior. In the framework of unverified information "from friends" I heard that this type of advertising is bad "in terms of price and quality."


In the past, it was a cool way to launch up to 50 daily registrations on your project, formed from dozens of different directories. And everything was free. Now adding to the catalogs has become paid, there is less and less traffic from them every day. But in any case, this is important for a new game. It is worth a month after the announcement to conduct monitoring, track which directories your game is not in, and write to the administration for accommodation. In the block about the distribution of the press release there is a list of game resources, catalogs are on most of them.

YouTube Reviews

It is believed that YouTube is a good source of traffic to game projects. What is worth negotiating with bloggers about reviews, doing special projects on popular YouTube channels, streaming and releasing your own videos about the game. This is all true for projects with a beautiful visual part (usually client games). There, each new video can also become a good asset for a press release.

In the context of browser games, the costs of this type of traffic are not justified. For example, the following materials on YouTube were released on the Star Warrior game: KinatVideo , mmorpgua , Simple “DAS” , NestGames , own review. The number of transitions from YouTube for all time was 30 people, of which 8 were registered in the game. The output of YouTube videos did not affect organic traffic from search engines.

Crosspromo with celebrities

A very interesting way to attract a new audience to the game is cross-industry with celebrities. You can think of many ways: integrating Celeb’s appearance / voice into a game or trailer , shooting a music video for a game by a famous musician, just inviting a celebrity to play in the office, interviews, and so on. Such projects work very well to attract a new audience, and also allow you to cover a wide range of non-gaming press, which in any other way could not get with an online game.

A natural limitation when choosing this method of advertising is that celebrities are interested in cross-industry with only the largest projects.

As part of Star Warrior, musicians who are friends of the developers wrote a song for the game. As a result, it turned out cross-industry with the group Stymphony.

This did not give many new registrations, but the fact of having your own song in the game increases the sense of self-worth.

SEO optimization

So much has already been said about it on the Internet that I’m just adding it here with the note “Do not forget about this important element of project promotion.” It is advisable to start actively working on SEO immediately upon launching the site. As a useful link, I recommend the Rookie automated site promotion service , which allows you to increase your position in search engines.

Services for advertising on social networks, blogs and communities

On Star Warrior , test campaigns were conducted on Blogun , and other community advertising systems. The result on each of them tends to zero. I do not recommend using such services.

Unusual advertising

  • Посты на Гохе со смешной подписью. Как это ни странно, работающий способ. Достаточно сделать свою подпись яркой, смешной, с картинкой, анимированными смайликами и ссылкой на ваш сайт. Троллить нужно в разных разделах на не связанные с вашим проектом темы. Желательно делать с 5-6 прокачанных аккаунтов. Проще всего попросить друзей, давно зависающих на Гохе, сменить себе подпись. По итогам дает до 50 переходов в день с хорошей конверсией в регистрацию. Маленький ручеек, но вместе с рядом других они сливаются в широкую реку трафика. Работает только на Гохе. Подобные эксперименты на других игровых форумах и торрентах не дают практически ничего.

  • Спам в чатах других игр. Много лет назад это был чуть ли не основной источник трафика в инди-проекты. Предполагаю, что сейчас, как и многие другие старые способы, стал менее эффективен. На Звездном Воителе подобный эксперимент не ставили, так как посчитали слишком грязным способом привлечения игроков.
  • Публикации на литературных ресурсах. Это может быть сюжет вашей игры на самиздате или стихи известной поэтессы про вашу игру на СтихиРу. Прямого трафика не дает, но не вижу причин отказывать себе в этой маленькой радости в качестве одной из кампаний по повышению узнаваемости бренда. Кстати, после таких размещений получите много писем с предложениями вступить в различные литературные клубы и издать ваши произведения.
  • Смешное объявление на Авито. В качестве эксперимента по необычной рекламе Звездного Воителя было размещено вот такое смешное объявление на Авито. За несколько дней, пока его не удалили, набрало несколько тысяч просмотров. И даже самостоятельно перекочевало на Pikabu.

  • Участие в различных премиях. Например, в Премии Рунета. Это делается легко и бесплатно.
  • Собственно, статья на Хабре. За время, которое прошло с момента публикации моей прошлой статьи, с Хабра на сайт Звездного Воителя было более 7,8К переходов.

Трафик, генерируемый самими игроками

Players are your best allies in the marketing fight for traffic. With the help of in-game mechanics, you can significantly increase the number of new players attracted by each already playing. I will cite the referral system, posting of achievements from the game on social networks, viral mechanisms such as receiving a bonus for placing friends in buildings, repost contests and supporting fan activities of players on external resources as the most popular measures to improve the engagement rate.

If you have questions about the features of advertising online games - ask, I will answer in the comments. I will also be happy to discuss other advertising methods that you know, and as they appear in the comments I will update the article.

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