Couch marketing of a mobile game (120,000 installations in the first month. Coincidence?)

Published on December 21, 2015

Couch marketing of a mobile game (120,000 installations in the first month. Coincidence?)


    How often have you heard the phrases “I'm not going to spend a dime on promotion”, “a good game sells itself”, “those guys did it, and I can do it”, and a little later - “the game didn’t go”, “on the market there is no place for an independent loner ”,“ the golden time of indie games has passed ”?

    Everyone wants to believe in the success of their game, that it will burst into the tops and become a new hit, bringing light to people and prosperity to developers. But at the same time, no one is in a hurry to risk money to help the game take a good start. “What if it doesn’t fly?”, “I don’t understand marketing!”, “I’m a developer, I don’t want to promote anything, I want a chick-chick and in production!”

    I never liked this approach, so at the start we spent a little on inept “couch” marketing. And our first game did not fail. I recaptured costs, earned money from above, received excellent reviews - 5 stars in ( AppStore ) and 4.7 in ( GooglePlay ), and even after 9 months in no hurry to go to the “Death Valley” applications. But now, seeing such an audience response, doubts arise - were there really any sense in our small “PR campaign” or were we just lucky? Survivor's mistake? Coincidence? Maybe, having got into the top of new GooglePlay novelties, we would have found our players anyway?

    I will state the facts, show the graphs and figures, and I propose to draw conclusions together in the comments - would the game spin up itself or still, without advancement, no one would know about it?

    Here are the graphs of daily installs for the first month. We only worked closely on promotion in the first week. The label has a brief summary of the day-marks on the charts:

    date SPENDED (rub.) Settings on GooglePlay Settings in the AppStore
    one 03/12/2015 Thu 4.982 7 67
    2 03/13/2015, Fri 0 77 133
    3 03/14/2015, Sat 11.647 1736 1989
    four 03/15/2015, Sun 0 517 755
    five 03/16/2015 Mon 9.600 2996 2321
    6 03/17/2015, Tue 1.300 1217 1088
    7 03/19/2015 Thu 16,000 3417 769
    eight 03/22/2015, Sun 500 4001 427
    Total: 44.029 13968 7549



    Now a little more detailed on each label:

    [0]
    - March 11, launch simultaneously on iOS and Android. Why at the same time? To use each advertising channel to the maximum
    [1]
    - They told friends about the game, social activity, reposts - that’s all.
    - Email-distribution through ispreadnews.ru to all sorts of sites writing reviews on games. Why did you use the service? Because lazy. It cost $ 40 + $ 40 (for each platform, 4982 rubles at that rate), if I’m not mistaken. Impressions are mixed. On the one hand, here I am a bummer and didn’t want to look for all the necessary contacts and fill out the forms myself, and they just solve my problem. On the other hand, all the same in a good way you need to do this with pens and purposefully. Plus, you don’t see to whom exactly you already wrote, but to whom not. I do not regret, but the feeling that I spent here inefficiently does not leave
    [2]
    - Posted an articleabout a bold experiment with monetization in the game. The article was well received, it turned out so well that in the second comment there were links to the game and there were about 3000 clicks on them in the first week
    - Correspondence with site administrators responding to the newsletter
    [3]
    - The first review, from appsad.ru, and free! The resource administrator really liked the game, so he wrote a review and published it for free. But we decided to play a couple of iTunes gift cards among the players, it cost 1647 rubles. From this review, not many people came at once, but throughout the year there was constantly search traffic, according to the administrator
    - A post in the public “Leprosy” Vkontakte (vk.com/leprum, has nothing to do with the original Leprosy, as far as I know) Post cost 9,750 rubles. and I really doubted him, but the return met all expectations! For two hours, on Saturday morning, 350 likes and 20 reposts, per day - 650 and 30, respectively. This is very good for advertising in communities, as it later turned out. And the surge in attitudes on this day is primarily the merit of the post. The most amazing thing is that I later met many of my own friends and just acquaintances (not added to “friends”) who installed the game precisely by post from this public!
    - There was also a post in the public “Old School” (vk.com/oldschool90e, corresponding to the theme of the game itself) for 250 rubles, he scored about 35 likes and a couple of reposts.
    [4]
    - Free review from ipadstory.ru.
    [ five ]
    - Review on the website MacDigger.ru. It cost 4500 rubles. It’s hard to say whose main merit is the peak on this day, perhaps a McDigger.
    - Posts in the communities “Back to the 90s” (vk.com/vk.ninetieth, 600 rubles), “Android” (vk.com/toysandroid, 1500 rubles) and “Apple” (vk.com/blog_apple, 3000 rubles. ) - quite large living communities, but I can’t determine the exact return, unfortunately.
    [6]
    - Post in the public “Dashing 90s” (vk.com/lixie, 1300rub.) - 160 likes and 14 reposts to the post in a day.
    [7]
    - A review from w3bsit3-dns.com.ru, a comprehensive promotion for 16,000 rubles (with banners on the main and other goodies). For some reason I had high hopes for it and the review came out pretty good. And even their audience did not eat us alive, which I feared. But, as can be seen from the graphs, some kind of dramatic surge did not occur here. But such an article on a large resource influences indexing by search engines and in principle it is a long story. But it is precisely the integrated promotion for the mobile game that I will not order anymore, perhaps. In fact, the same post in the Lepro community gave better returns. Yes, we do not really get into the audience of the resource, apparently.
    [8]
    - A post in one of the developer communities, this did not give a special effect.

    Something like this. Confused, spontaneous, unsystematic. But the experience and results are interesting.

    And now the funniest thing - all this first week after the release, if my memory serves me, we were not on the Google Play application lists, that is, the market simply did not index us and did not add them until the ~ 19th day. And, having appeared in the “top of new free games” of our category, we just reached the “plateau” and received 3.5-4k installs per day on GooglePlay for another 2-3 weeks. And in iTunes, as you can see, they also reached a plateau, but more modestly - 500-700 installations per day. At the same time, we pretty densely settled in the top10 of our category and it was from there that we got organic (screenshots from AppAnnie.com: iOS and Android ).

    In 9 months they received 125,000 installations in the AppStore:

    And 450,000 in GooglePlay (all these ups and downs - Google quirks, “recommended” selections, etc., we didn’t influence this anymore):


    What do you think? Was this “PR” justified or a waste of money? Did it help us not to fall in the future, or is it all the merit of the game itself and the traffic received from the “new” ones? Maybe you had a similar experience?

    PS For myself, I will try to answer these questions by experiment - by launching a similar game ( GooglePlay and AppStore ) with the same promotion. Launched a week ago, after a week there will be a report, but for now you can make bets “take off / not take off”.