Million downloads per month or how to make a good start on Google Play

    Hello everyone,

    First I wanted to headline the topic “Million downloads per month or how to make a good start on Google Play using one game as an example ”, but then I decided that it was too long. However, today I will talk about my last game. Not only because I want to advertise it a bit (although this is also something to hide), but also because each launch of a new game is individual and it would not be completely correct to tell without a “localization”.

    The game itself is not a breakthrough in the industry or an example of innovative gameplay, I understand that perfectly. This is a shooting range where the player will try on the role of a sniper. The feature of the game is pseudo-realism: the distance to the target, the wind and the heartbeat influence the bullet’s flight path (a special heart rate indicator is located in the upper left corner, you must press the trigger when the marker is in the central position). Each of the rifles presented in the game has its own unique "character": accuracy, various effects of wind, distance, and so on. Based on the results of passing the level, the player is awarded experience points that can be spent on the purchase of more advanced weapons or bonuses, such as additional ammunition, for example. In general, such a mediocre indie game. Nonetheless, By the end of the first month, we came up with 1,000,000 downloads, a daily increase of ~ 100,000, and a place in the TOP-30 Arcade US. Below I will try to tell in order what was done, what was done well, and what could be done better.

    So, it all starts with the publication / page of the game in the Play Store. The first thing you should pay attention to are the keywords, for me it is “shooting (range)” and “sniper”. I tried to just stuff them with a description, especially with the word "sniper", by listing the weapons presented in the game, for example. Also, one should not forget that the "weight" of keywords in the title is much higher than in the description, so the keywords should be simply obliged in the title! As a result, we are now in 3rd place in the search results for “sniper”, right after the contract killer - a game of a completely different weight category.

    Second, you need to translate the description into all available languages, even if there are no other options besides auto-translation. This alone will give you a quite noticeable increase in downloads.

    Next are screenshots. Here we have added screenshots with post-processing. I don’t know how positively this affects the interest of users, but it clearly makes the game page more solid or something. Here is an example:

    Be sure to make a promotional video and do not forget to leave a link to the game page in the description. For the first time, I tried to order a video for Shooting club 2, this is one of two expense items for this game (the second is the soundtrack). In my opinion, it turned out quite well.

    Last but not least, as they say - this is an icon. Surprisingly, an icon attractive to users is able to outweigh the remaining 90% of your marketing efforts. The most active growth in daily downloads began when we changed the icon of the game. We discussed for a long time, considered various options, and as a result settled on this.

    After the game is published on Google Play, it's time to think about promotion. It’s worth starting with thematic forums. In Runet - this, of course, plus a review on the main one, as part of the "Support Project for Our Developers", about which everyone has already heard, I guess. This alone is enough to get into the Trending Apps of the Russian Play Store, provided that the game will interest users, of course. Please note: their rules have changed a bit , a special form has appeared for posting such reviews (for a long time I could not understand why my review, written as usual, did not want to miss the Editor).

    In English forums, I do not know anything like Googling, I wrote out several small forums for myself. There is no need to wait for some kind of return, our goal is simply to increase the number of external links to the game page.

    and so on.

    Separately, it is worth mentioning two resources. Firstly, , here we also post a topic with an overview of the game, but our main task is different. Our task is to get to the main page of the portal. There is much more traffic here, and you will definitely notice the result! To do this, there is a special request form. I wrote a request, in my broken English, added a link to the forum topic, and about a week later (oh, miracle!) They published a small note about our game, choosing as an illustration a screenshot of the loading screen for some reason (probably as the most attractive, from their point of view).

    Secondly, . There are at least 2 subreddits that are suitable for us on the subject, these are / r / Android and / r / AndroidGaming . Leave the links the game page, on the trailer, you can write a small topic, at least there is always some activity in the comments.

    If you have other games / applications, cross-promotion will be a great help. The first 7-10 days after the start, I give 100% of requests to display my banners, restricting geo-targeting to the most “interesting” regions (US, UK, JP, etc.). Not so long ago, an interesting feature for house ads appeared in AdMob: set the title and page of the application and get something like this banner (the ratings and icon themselves are “pulled up” from the Play Store):

    Although, as practice shows, a well-made “Image ad” has of course a larger CTR.

    An indicator that everything is going as it should is a hit in the “Hot apps” on (you will receive a notification in the mail associated with the developer account). We cannot influence this (for free), but we can at least be glad. Shooting club 2several times this month I got into the list with AppBrain rating 82 out of 100 (I don’t know the truth what their rating means).

    It was unexpected for me how the idea with promo codes “shot”. Initially, I did not plan anything like that. Once again thinking over what else to add to the game, I decided to make a simple input and check the promo codes that add some amount of bonus experience points. Actually, these are rather cheat codes, since there is no server verification, the codes are not personalized - the disadvantages in this solution are obvious, I think. However, people simply magically react to the word “promo code” (even if they don’t really need it). Requests to "give a promotional code" naturally allow you to keep the topic at the top, in the same forums. And it’s clear that the user who received the coveted code is already guaranteed to be more loyal to the ratings of the game. Now I understand that it was necessary to make complete, individual promotional codes for different types of weapons in the game, eg. Writing and deploying the server part exclusively for this task still seems a little unjustified to me, but using ready-made systems (such ) is a great compromise.

    The game does not need to forget about self-promotion. There must be a request (button) to vote, we have this dialogue on exit, when the user has probably already watched the game and made up some kind of opinion. Also, sharing results, achievements on social networks shows itself well, especially if you have something to reward the user. In Shooting club 2, we made the “Share (+500 exp)” button on the screen with statistics on the level passed. As a quick search on VKontakte shows, for example, this method works quite well.

    In the week, while I was writing this topic in fits and starts, the game “grew” by one million more downloads, so it’s difficult only in the beginning! In conclusion, a couple of beautiful graphs from the developer console. Growth in the number of active installations:

    Download dynamics by day:

    PS I take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to Natalya Makeenko for help with preparing the texts and translation.

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