Selling the Game – Getting the Word Out

Well before last line of code is written or the last sprite is drawn, if a game is going to be sold there must be a plan for selling it. Contrary to popular opinion, games simply do not sell themselves. After spending years in development, the vast majority of games arrive to soul crushing, deafening silence. Teams implode, studios lights go dark and developers give up. Getzaks - Dru Talks Failing at Game Creation

“Is any body out there?”

Very few developers set out with the hope that their game will fail. Even long suffering hobbyists want someone, somewhere to install and play their game. No game has to fail. While there is no single act that can prevent a game from failing, being aware of some key numbers is good way to start.

One year of CTR in computer and video games

The action number for this game marketing post is 0.17%.  This number represents a quantity that a developer that wants to market a game should know. This quantity is the average Click Thru Rate (CTR) for online ads served in the United States (USA) that were in the category of Computers & Video Games (CVG) between November of 2014 and November of 2015 (Source: Google, Accessed 28 Dec. 2015).

Word of mouth is great. Perhaps your game is that magical title that needs no promotion whatsoever because once people play it they are magically enchanted to speak about it endlessly regardless of their save bonus + ability modifier. For most developers some form of advertisement will be needed. If you are a one-man-band or a small game development studio, there is a really good chance that you are the Chief Marketing Officer even if it doesn’t say so on your LinkedIn profile! Congratulations.

The action number presented above means that to reach just one person that might have clicked your game’s ad banner last year, about 590 people would have needed to see your ad. This number does not mean that the one person will install your game or buy your game. This number means that on average it will take nearly 600 impressions before a single potential gamer acts.

Using this action number you can begin to considering a host of things about marketing your game. For example, if you want to get 100 people to visit your game’s landing page you will need to budget no less than 60,000 impressions. If you want to get 10,000 people to visit, you will need to budget no less than 6,000,000 impressions. Looking at the scale of these numbers you can start getting a feel for the kind of resources you might need to harness to start getting the word out.

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