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Ultra low budget mobile game marketing , based on Trivium - the quiz challenge

Article is describing the process of running marketing campaigns with really small budget, based on experiences taken after running trivium - the quiz challenge ad campaigns on twitter and facebook. Also it contains little tips about retargeting strategy.

Quick introduction of myself for those who didn’t read my articles before. My name is Dariusz Furman and I’m full time game developer in Gamesture, and after work i develop my own game titles as Funventure, that’s all because simply it’s my hobby.

For about  2 months i have been running my ad campaigns of Trivium – the quiz challenge, on twitter and facebook accounts. Now i want to share my results of 4 iterations, with my thoughts and experience that i’ve came up today. What exactly is  Trivium – the quiz challenge ?  It is simple trivia game, with many categories splitted into many difficulties. By solving trivia user is gaining experience and levels. Game is introducing rankings and achievements. User sessions are controlled by energy which is refilled one per half an hour. More info about the game you can find out in previous article ( Trivium – the quiz challenge ( first entry on toucharcade) ).Ok, let’s go to the main topic of my today entry,.

Ultra low budget mobile game marketing.

Firstly, what i’ve wanted to accomplish is to drive a little traffic into my game to test basic functionalities of the game, fix main bugs and gather as many data as i could in that small amount of time. To make this happen i’had to implement facebook api and connect it with game engine. As i said i work as full time game developer, that’s why i had pleasure to be involved in releasing great game on softlaunch, allthough the possible budget of that game was much bigger then my budget.  That was the biggest problem i had when i’ve released the game in only 3 countries ( bahamas, philippines and poland), the amount of money i could spend on marketing was too small to drive enough people to my game. So i’ve decided to release the game to google play without any country restrictions, that drived me more organic downloads so i could test cheaper my game. If any developer would like to make money from the game that is releasing without publisher or investor, then he have to pay much more attention to marketing his game before release, really good example of great job before game release is Blocky Farm that is being developed by Jet Toast ( https://www.facebook.com/jettoast/), guys put really big attention to post newses, gifs and videos from develop process. I didn’t make that so i had to make it by iterations and experiments and by gaining experience from great guys from my work.

First iteration 

Before realesing trivium – the quiz challenge global i’ve tried to make softlaunch. Why philipines and bahamas ? There should be the lowest CPI ( COST PER INSTALL ) you can see ready informations on chartboost site, and compare CPI to your target market and choose in which country you want to release your game.

Chartboost cost per install

So i’ve decided to start promote trivium through facebook, page ( Trivium – fanpage ) and target my game on philippines, and bahamas. The effects you can see here on graphs:

Facebook - promo results

The main problem with facebook was that people from philippines had react with many likes 1,8k with 6,5 views thats more than 25 % of people reacted. How many installs was provided from that? … About 10 … Promotion costed 20$ than that resulted with 2$ CPI it is much bigger then chartboost insights has shown. I was really disappointed.

Second Iteration

In second iteration i’ve decided to use Twitter to publish my ads, and that was really good decision. Under this paragraph you can see the creative i used in my first campaign.

1

After 4 days ( 5$ per day so that was really small amount of money ), i had my results ! Take a look:

Trivium - twitter results
Trivium – twitter results

I’ve managed 1.70% app click rate. That wasn’t so good. But ! There you can see some interesting things which i couldn’t find so easy in facebook ads manager. I’m talking about INTEREST tab you can see it on the left under GENDER. I have found out quickly that i can choose interests in which my ads had the best results:

2nd_iteration_twwitter_2

I sorted my results by app click rate, scrolled down and was searching for biggest impressions count ( biggest try) with really good app click rates. Then wrote them down and picked up the most interesting for future use.  Why is it so important ? After each iteration we have to analize our results and retarget our potential market, thats how we can optimize our costs per click or cost per install ( it’s dependent on type of campaign ) in future iterations. Here is great article about retargeting  8 BEST PRACTICES FOR RUNNING A RETARGETING CAMPAIGN

Third iteration

From experiences that me and my colleagues had, i know that using of the same graphics twice or more is raising the price of , so I’ve created 2 new images a specifically for twitter needs, with small amount of text. Ad providers prefers creatives with small amount of text you can try to create some basic creatives and experiment with texts on Facebook ads manager, only for some test purposes. Facebook will automatically warn you about too much text on the creative that you’ve prepared. After last iteration i’ve put my logo and button closer to the center of the image, i did it because when images from twitter are displayed on mobiles they are cropped little from top and bottom. Here you can see creatives that i’ve came up with:

george_clooney_twitter_2nd_iteration

chichen_itza_twitter_3rd_iteration

So after retargeting of my campaign i specified my potential customer behaviors :

  • playing games at lest 3 days in week
  • using twitter for android
  • didn’t install trivium yet

Then i’ve chosen female gender as a target ( my app was installed by woman older than 25 years 70 % more often than by mans and other) I also specified interest of potential users using  those which i wrote down after 2nd iteration.Here are the most effective ones :

  • tv serials
  • celebs
  • music
  • knowledge
  • quizzes
  • tv shows

And now the results that i’ve accomplished after retargeting:

Results after retargetAs you can see app click rate raised to 3%, it’s better now but still can work with that i think. After this iteration I paused advertising, because because i’ve managed to get 650 (non organic) downloads after 2 months and have collected all the basic data that i’ve needed. I think it’s not a bad result for one man.

Sum up

I’m not professional in marketing but i’m hobbyst game developer and i wanted to share with you my own experiences.  Everything what you read here was prepared based on my work under “Trivium – the quiz challenge”. 

Everything what i’ve needed and planned before i accomplished. Of course my CPI was a little bit higher then in other productions made by big teams but i’m almost 100% sure that indie developers will never came up with such optimized CPI as team of professionals.(*) What we can do is to try and iterate with our experiences, with each iteration we will accomplish better results if not go back one step and change direction.

If you want to get better in retargeting of ad campaigns just search a little bit in google about it. There are thousands of articles written by professionals available almost always for free.

So i’ve spend two months testing my app, fixing bugs, collecting needed data and of course it’s still live in the store but i disabled campaigns for now, i’ll try to make it better in one month and then … will start new iteration 🙂 Good luck to you all !

Cheers !
Furman Dariusz

____________________________

– As someone well noted, big productions sometimes are managing real big costs per install. This is dictated by the fact that they are trying to obtain as much installs of new users as they can in really small amount of time. CPI is rising really quick because amount of people within a target is finished, and through the campaigns we are running out of them

*All used images are used on creative commons license, and they are taken from wikipedia.

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