I thought about also sharing with you guys a recent marketing experience with 0 funding, mostly because I assume most of us do marketing ourselves so it automatically becomes part of the game development.
I don`t have yet an Itch.io coming soon page for my new project, just a dev blog so for now, the target was Steam wishlist.
So during this post, I want to :
– point out the importance of knowing your target audience
– the importance of having good promotional material
– my personal experience with Facebook groups promotions
– some Facebook algorithms
EXTRA: I used 0 money for this MK round
Ok, let`s start!
I recently remade my Steam thumbnail and what better way to get some promotional material than this?! Also please note that this information is strictly resuming to Facebook groups.
I first posted in pixel art theme groups on Facebook. Why? Because I try to aim for the target audience and what better way than to start on a place where people love pixel art(since the game is also pixel art) and here are the results from day 1:
Pixel art + 35k members = post got 330 likes 30 comments 17 shares
Pixel Art 29k members = post got 111 likes 25 comments
Pixel Art Heaven = post got 136 likes and 22 comments
Results: 1 follower and 20 new wishlist additions
Conclusion: I am not some high tec guru dark star fapfap button Wizzard master developer, no, I am just like most developers so when I start to see so many like per post I was very excited, normally my posts on those groups get per average 20-30 likes, I was having high expectations for a wishlist so I was a bit disappointed when I saw only 20 new additions. It can also be the fact that some of them already had my game on wishlist since I posted there before from time to time about the game. Anyhow it was a good result and I strongly recommend you make smart posts, for example, I only stated in the post I made these pixel art banners but I did not put any links in the description so people actually asked for a link and only after that I edited and added the link, so try hard not to be a hit&run poster. Also if you want to keep your post up, respond to comments a few days after so that your topic gets bumped up. Please also consider I did not include the private messages received based on this.
So why haven’t I posted in all FB groups the same day? Because of Facebook algorithms, for example, even though I made the new custom text for all posts, I did have the same 2 pictures uploaded and if facebook sees you post the same comment too many times it will automatically warn you and mark your posts as spam. The second day I decided to target Xcom players because my game is heavily inspired by Xcom, I am not talking just about some art and 1-2 mechanics, no I am talking about the overall game design and the majority of features, heck, my game is basically Xcom in real-time. And note that I posted same 2 picture but I adapted the text, Here are the results:
XCOM players 4k members = post got 80 likes 50 comments
XCOM: Enemy Withinposting 400 members = post got 14 likes 3 comments
Xcom 2 2k members = post got 40 likes 8 comments
Results: 10 followers and 80 new wishlist additions
Conclusion: Based on pixel art communities results, I was expecting around 8-12 wishlist additions so when I saw the results it was clear for me, I first yelled some mumbo-jumbo spartan DarkStar Sailormoon Voltron lines in a weird language then I realized that even though the pixel groups were A LOT bigger then Xcom ones and that I got more engagement on them then on Xcom ones, the more I get closer to the target audience the bigger the conversion rate is. So I strongly recommend hard research on the target audience before starting marketing. I believe it is the same s**t with wishlist conversion rate into sales, as in if you get wishlists from giveaways and from people who meh or are casuals the conversion rate will be lower, and the more genuine wishlist audience you got the more the conversion rate will grow.
Third round & forth round
At this point, I included both 3 and 4 rounds of Facebook group marketing because the results are non-existent. Round 3 was aiming toward casual gamer groups and round 4 was aiming toward Indie Game developer groups and other small pixel art groups, same promotional picture + adjusted text. Please notice how huge are some groups, how small, and how that factor is truly not important when it comes to smart marketing and knowing your target audience. Results:
Indie Game Promo IGD 56k members = post got 9 likes 3 comments
Retro Indie Pixel Game 9k members = post got 12 likes 1 comment
RTS game lovers = post got 2 likes
and other groups not worth mentioning because of results
Conclusion: And for the casual gamer audience, I targeted PC gamer(more than 30k members) group, steam gamers, and so on BUT and it is a strong BUT here, I got 1 or 2 likes per post in these groups, now you are going to say “awww then this is a waste of time I will ignore those groups” and after you say this I will strangle you because you know nothing, Jhon Snow! Why? Some time ago I made TAURONOS game and that game had casual players as the target audience, the thing is that I got good love on this casual player audience group for that game specifically because that was its target audience. So in conclusion: Know your target audience & do not be a spammer that does hit&run, be smart about it and you will avoid wasting time on promotions that will bring no results. Time is very important. Now I am not saying not to post in Indie game development groups but I am saying do not post in Indie game development groups unless you have too much time.
– always make posts in target audience groups otherwise you would just be spamming
– adjust the text to each specific group, don`t be lazy or hit&runner, put a bit of soul into your post
– respond to all comments, it helps when people see you care and it also gets your post bumped back up
– put quality/polished promotional material
– have a call to action, either by asking for feedback or support for your wishlist, it is all up to you on what you need
– do not post in all groups in a short period of time or Facebook will mark you as a spam post
– do not post the exact content on many groups or again, Facebook will mark you as a spam post
– I also used ads a few times this year and I must say the conversion rate for Facebook ads is totally not worth it. It brings some traffic but most its from fake accounts.
If you got any suggestions/feedback on what I did wrong please do let me know.
Also please do not think marketing resumes only on Facebook(I am talking now to the newbies, not to the veterans who obviously know this).
If you enjoy this post I will try to share my marketing up-to-date experience for all social platforms and marketing-wise related stuff such as email marketing, PR, marketing plan 1 month before release, and others.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I am not perfect and this is just my opinion & personal experience.
PS: yes I use windows paint and WinRAR