How to launch a marketing campaign for your online game

Video games and their financial significance continue to grow in the U.S. and around the world. The latest research from Global Data estimates that the video game market could be worth as much as $300 billion by 2025. As expected with a growing market value, the competition in the video game space is as fierce as ever. An ever-increasing onslaught of new game titles are being released every day. For example, from 2004 through 2018, Steam, one of the leading portals for online games, saw over 67% growth for new video game titles on an annual basis.

Source: Statista’s Christina Gough, based on interviews using online surveys, 2019.

Increased competition and an ever-changing landscape can be a challenge for game developers and design studios. Whether you are launching an online or offline game, single-player or multi-player, traditional gaming experience or VR, there are a number of key elements you’ll need for a successful marketing plan.

Phase 1: Development

  • Decide on the type of game you are developing and who the target audience is

  • Start coding your game for the appropriate platform(s), e.g. Playstation, Oculus, Viveport, Twitch, Android, Windows, etc.

  • Register with the platforms and publish your game

Phase 2: Branding

  • Set up a branded internet channel and/or player forum to foster a community for your game, which includes YouTube and other social and video media channels, e.g. Twitter, Twitch, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram

  • Create a website or landing page that will be devoted to your game, which includes:

    • Prominent download button(s)

    • Links for your branded social and video media channels

    • Relevant news and updates

    • Links to player community, forums and support

    • Contact form and press kit information

Phase 3: Paid Marketing

  • Engage with video influencers to build awareness, e.g. leveraging a video game focused influencer agency like Nevaly to find the right gamers who are best suited to promote your game

  • Launch a programmatic advertising campaign to grow users, e.g. leverage an ad exchange network like Google Ads’ Display Network to quickly find new players for your game

  • Work with your platform account manager for initiating a campaign on their network. Note: each platform is different as far as the maturity of their in-network marketing packages

  • Select key metrics for monitoring each of your paid marketing activities. Metrics should at a minimum be focused on new players (e.g. downloads) and costs associated with acquiring a new player

Phase 4: Stay Involved

  • Be actively engaged with the users in your communities and forums. This includes posting new content like video, responding to questions on your social media channels, and being active in relevant online conversations, especially where your game is featured

  • Attend applicable developer/partner conferences like Sony Playstation’s annual Game Developers Conference, where you can learn the latest on developing and marketing your game for the platform

It may seem like no one is downloading and playing your game and all of your software development efforts are being wasted. Rest assured, though, that having a solid marketing plan and executing on it, will help your game get noticed and start rising up the gaming charts.

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Roger Yarbrough is a co-founder and Principal at Stratistry where he leads the Digital Strategy and Analytics practice.

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