About 4 months ago I had contract work on 2 small flash games which aim was support marketing of 2 bigger mobile games. Strategy was quite simple:
- Develop simple but addictive games from same genre like mobile version of games
- Integrate own in-game advertisement system
- Submit games to online game portals
In my case we used this approach for supporting of commercial games but it’s very good applicable also for indie games with zero budget. So I picked up 4 main advantages of this approach which can be helpful for other game developers.
Long term source of new players for web and mobile version of game
Many online game portals have millions of unique players per month so if you upload your game to some of these portals you will always get some traffic from them…but numbers of new players coming from portals mainly depends on quality of gameplay and graphics of your web game. So before uploading…try to come up with simple but addictive gameplay and polish it to maximum. Also add some challenges, leaderboards (some portals have own API), social plugins…everything which can helps you to boost numbers of gameplays.
Long term self promotion
Web games are also great place for self promotion. Almost on all online game portals you can upload game with own in-game advertisement box. In my case I created dynamic advertisement box which is downloading adverts from our server. So at any moment I can start to serving new adverts in all my web games. So if you are indie game developer this way you can promote mobile versions of your games or games of your friends (or if you have many gameplays per month you can try to sell advertisement place to other developers or companies).
To create own simple advertisement system isn’t nothing difficult. For example in mentioned contract games I used fullscreen dynamic banner which is showing after gameover screen. But don’t worry to experiment with size and position of banner in every game works something different. For server side of advertisement system I used PHP + MySQL. On game request for new advert server sends to flash game JSON data structure (with banner image data, game url to appstore, descrition text etc.) and after that in-game advert is showed. I also implemented simple analytics for collecting information about traffic sources, impressions and clicks on adverts. All communication between flash and server for serving adverts and analytics using JSON data structures. But if you want to save some time, for analytics you can use for example bit.ly links to track clicks, traffic sources etc. And for server side static JSON or XML structure.
Another benefit of this marketing approach is connected with SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Almost on all online game portals before you upload your game you have to create public user profile. Usually you can add to profile some bio, link to your website, links to your social profiles (Facebook, Twitter etc.). This is quite good way for legal link building for your personal or company website because these portals are related to field which you or your company is interested in. These way you can get many valuable links linking directly to your website or your social profiles and get another traffic sources for your website.
Advertisement campaigns and traffic for your games for FREE
If you think more deeply about this marketing approach you probably find that is quite time-consuming approach. YES IT IS. You have to developed another small game, create in-game advertisement system, create description texts & manually submit game to many online game portals but on other hand all this jobs has long term effect. Try to think in numbers. If you create advertisement campaign for your game on Facebook and you decide to pay for clicks on banner (average cost will be about $0.3 CPC). So if your game will have thousands or more gameplays per month these numbers can be very interesting for every indie developer. For example one of my contract games has average about 6500 clicks on banner per month. So it saves my client about $1950 per month for advertisement campaigns in for long term. And if you have more web games uploaded on more portals numbers can be much better.
So if you will plan to release new game you only set up new advert campaign in your advertisement system and immediately you can start with promotion of your new game.
These days this approach is applicable not only for flash games. There are many online games portals which support HTML5 and unity games too. So it’s up to you… I’m looking forward on your results and experience with this approach 🙂
I hope it helps somebody and if you have any questions or you want to share your experience please leave a comment below.