10 steps to top paid 25 overall on the App Store

    Hello, Habrovsk citizens! We recently released the Gemibears game for iPhone and iPad (specifically no links to the game, the post is not about self-promotion) and in a few days we got to the top 25 in the paid chart in America.

    It was not easy, but interesting, and we learned a lot. I want to share with you the steps that led us to this result.

    (This post is the original of what we posted in a clumsy translation last night on reddit Except the last paragraph :))

    1) Make a cool game and prepare cool marketing
    For a successful launch, you need to spend as much time on marketing as on developing a game. Typically, developers spend 90% of their time creating a game and 10% marketing. It is necessary that the proportion be 50/50. If you don’t know what to do with marketing, then go to the publisher. All success stories are silent. A bad game without marketing can break into the top and fail nowhere the next day (this is the case with many freemium games that are artificially driven into the top by aggressive advertising). So you need to make a very cool game.

    2) Everyone * on your game
    Do not listen to friends and relatives, they are interested people. Do not listen to yourself. The game should be cool not only in your eyes - you initially love it, because it is your idea, your brainchild. And we are not strict enough for our children, so we need to show the game to friends, and even better to unfamiliar people. Do not explain anything, you will not have such an opportunity after sending to the party. Give play and look at the reaction, remember what the person likes and what annoys or is simply incomprehensible.

    3) Catch all the bugs
    You need to test all versions of the game, on all devices and all firmware. The worst thing that can happen is a cool game with bad reviews in the store due to bugs. Do not release the game until you test absolutely everything, and have a tech page. support (getsatisfaction, for example), so that they write about bugs there, and not in reviews in the store. But if you still missed something, use the accelerated review of the update. You can use it only once a year, but during the day the update will be reviewed and the amendments will appear in the store.

    4) Do not make a light version
    This is boring, the player will have to go through the same levels again if he buys the game. But you need to give an opportunity to somehow get to know the game for free, so come up with something original. We made the Gemibears Mini - this is a free background to Gemibears, it has completely different planets (sets of levels), plus an endless game mode - all this is original content and it is not in the paid version. Trainyard Express and Hambo Begins are made in the same way. Additional content for free is the best way to introduce a person to the game, because you are not cutting something out of the game, but introducing something new into it.

    Remember that your paid and free (not light!) Versions are separate products. Free will help to promote paid, but you also need to promote it, and separately. So plan your marketing for both versions.

    5) Cross-promotion and advertising
    Do cross-promotion with other cool games. Gemibears has banners, buttons and icons that appeared in our friends ’games at launch. In epstore, there are many games from our compatriots, with all of them we can talk about cross-promotion. On different conditions - from paying for advertising to exchanging the number of banner displays. Feel free to write offers by mail, call or even go to another city for a meeting. Support from other cool games means a lot.

    If you have already released games - knit them all with the advertising module and advertise the new game in the old ones. You can make your own decision or use a ready-made one, for example chartboost, but the ready-made solutions are very inflexible (chartbust has only one banner format - fullscreen).

    Buy paid ads, but do it wisely. Only ads from other games, no sites, magazines, videos or print media. You can buy game settings via chartboost or place ads directly in games from Backflip, EA or even Zynga, through the Burstly website , but be sure to plan your budget.

    6) Give people inside the game the opportunity to make friends
    We have a Gemibears twitter community. Two tapes - in one every day there is a joke and stories from the world of bears, and in the second the #GemiTalk hashtag is displayed, so that right inside the game people can communicate with each other.

    In addition to Twitter integration, the Gemibears Mini also has a Facebook connection. After passing the first planet and receiving a unique bear, you can either buy a paid version or open another unique planet with a bear - to do this, enter Facebok connect and see if 3 of your friends play Mini. If not, you can invite them, because having three friends in the game, you will open a new planet. This is a good way to attract new players, because the Gemibears Mini is free and just telling your friends about it will give you even more content for free.

    7) Make all the marketing efforts in one day.
    Do not stretch it for a month or even a week. We launched the bears the day before all marketing efforts began and there were few downloads. But having applied all possible marketing within 3 days, we took the top 25.

    8) Icon, screenshots and trailer
    You need a brilliant icon. Most people will decide to buy only judging by your icon. We made about 26 different options until we decided that it was good enough. Great.

    Another important part is the screenshots in the epstore. In fact, these are not just screenshots - they are banners. Most people do not read the description of the game, so you need to talk about key features through screenshots. Be concise and convincing. Not “unique gameplay”, but “match-2” - this in itself sounds understandable and attractive.

    The official trailer. If you don’t do it, the video will be taken by a teenager from YouTube, with shaking hands in poor quality. And people will judge the game from this video. So take care of the original trailer - we decided to show not only the game itself, but also the emotions that it causes.

    9) The hype after the launch
    Do not neglect any free opportunity to further promote your game. If you have Facebook functionality, register the game in the Facebook App Center . Send your icon (it should be unrealistically attractive, remember?) To the gallery of the best icons on iOS . Post on TouchArcade before launch, in the upcoming games section and after launch in the released games section . And there is also a section for contests!

    Do not wait for a featurer from Apple, you can not influence it in any way, so concentrate on creating a cool game and powerful marketing.

    Do not wait for press reviews. The press loves to write about success stories, so it is unlikely that they will write about you before you become famous. iPhones.ru refused our offer to write exclusive material about bears, they prefer to receive money for writing about a cool game from their compatriots.

    But you should try to break through everywhere - be sure to write to all sites. Not just a text letter, collect an html template or at least make a banner image in the header of the letter. So we got the TUAW editorial choice “game of the week” for our previous game, The Screetch. They ignored the first letter, we wrote a new one with a beautiful design - the review was the next day.

    10) Write a useful post on Habr!

    PS We wanted to give out promotional codes here, but something broke in iTunes Connect - there are codes, but instead of them it gives some kind of error. We are waiting for a repair.

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