Game Launch: Buzz & Hype
The App Store gold rush has created immeasurable wealth for App developers. In 2013 the App Store generated $10 billion in App sales, 7 billion of which was paid out to Developers & Publishers!
Holy smokes batman, that’s a lot of cash… and a huge opportunity! So you go off, develop your own kick ass game and you’re nearing the finish line…
But then you realize, there’s millions of apps. Thousands added daily… and your app could float in revolving sea of nothingness… where it barely sees the light of day…
So what’s an app developer to do?
You need to be 10x more prepared, 10x more agile and 10x more committed than any other developer
Once you are in this mindset and are fully committed, you’re ready to start your marketing plan.
I advise every Developer or Publisher to break down their marketing plan into three stages.
3 Stages of your App Launch
- Buzz & Hype
- The First 48hrs
- The Last 12 days
If executed properly, you’ll significantly increase the odds of your games success!
This blog covers the 1st stage of your App Launch, the Hype & Buzz campaign.
Slate a Date.
Timing your launch is an important decision in the preparation process.
Mobilewalla speculates that Sunday is the best day to release an app because there’s less competition. According to the article, Wednesday is the most Popular release day among developers.
Make sure you don’t schedule your App release during Holiday weekend Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter!
Whichever day you choose, make sure its at least 2 or 3 weeks away so that you can prepare.
Action point: Set a date in stone.
Stage 1. Hype & Buzz Campaign
This stage is dedicated to building hype and buzz around your gaming app. Your goal is to build awareness in your network and generate inbound interest.
Targets: Reach 2,000 people. Hook at least 50 people. By “hook” I mean, generate interest / email / response.
So how do you build awareness? Leverage your Arsenal of Assets.
Do you have a social footprint? Do you maintain your accounts on a daily basis? Build relationships and connections with others who share similar interests. Make sure you focus with the big 4, which are twitter, facebook, linkedin, and google+.
Maybe even venture to an niche based social network and join the community! Forums are a great way to build strong relationships and establish your influence.
Actively post overlapping content on games, game development, and add personality to your profile. Seriously, give your online presence a voice!
Your objective here is to be interesting, informative, and provide value to others who might be listening to you. Build trust. Interact, engage and be genuine.
Posting motivational quotes won’t cut it, so put some time and effort into building a strong social base. This isn’t a numbers contest.
“It’s not about the size of your network, it’s about the shape of your network” @kylewaring
There are infinite amounts of people that share similar interests, learn how to find and share with them! These people will likely be your first downloads.
This goes without saying… but just in case, don’t spam your followers and network with links! This will never work. It’s just like real life, you wouldn’t walk up to someone and hand them a business card and leave… introduce yourself and communicate!
Action Point: Share at least 10 items with your network to build buzz over the course of the 2 days before launch.
Tips on what types of items to share:
- Game Trailer
- Game play demo
- Teaser images showing game play, cut scenes, or story line
- Write a dissertation on developing the game
Here are a couple of starter questions that you can use as a prompt
What were the biggest challenges building the game?
How did you persevere to complete the game?
What were the 3 most important lessons you learned developing the game?
How did you iterate and playtest your game?
- Write a post-mortem
On a smaller scale, share a demo or presention you gave at a local game developer meetup!
The bottom line: Spend some time building and sharing content. If others find the content useful, informative, or entertaining… you scored!
Start a newsletter immediately. This will become your most valuable marketing tool further down the road. Don’t underestimate the value of Email. It’s powerful.
Already have a Newsletter? My my are we fancy… now let’s use it!
- Send out an email 1 or 2 days before the Apps official Launch date announcing “APP COMING TOMORROW”
Use special characters in your subject line to get more attention.
Here are some examples:
♣ ♠ ♥ ♦ ★ ✯ ✦ ✔ ❄ ™
Some special characters turn into icons on iOS, try these
✳ ♣ ♠ ♥ ♦ ★ ✯ ❄ ™
Try to give the subject line a nice punch. Excellent subject lines are short, definitive and give the reader something they want… which is a tip on a hot new game!
Game Trailer & Demo
Take video footage of the game play. Identify action points in the game, and take focus on highlighting some of the most enjoyable aspects of the game. Whether that’s attacking and conquering an enemy fortress, or solving a complicated puzzle… capture it!
Use Vine to create 1 or 2 well crafted 6 second loop videos. Share these with your network and hashtag them with relevant keywords. Be specific, but not too specific.
Take several videos of the game play, review the footage. Import into iMovie or other video editing software.
Find music. Absolutely critical. The music will determine the pace of your video. Ideal music will build up to a “drop” and will have the viewer elated… and ready to download your game!
Check out soundcloud, I listen to a lot of great music that you’re likely to get approval from the DJ to use in your video. Remixes and smaller DJs usually have no problem as long as you provide credit where credit is due, and Youtube will auto match the song if it’s popular enough.
Pro tip: Time your clips and video speed with the music!
Things to make sure you include when making your trailer:
- Date of App Launch
- Link in the description to your site + social accounts
- Branding on the video of your studio + link in description
- Persistent title of the Game / App on the entire video
Videos are a great marketing vehicle to get people talking about your game. They entice and tease those who are interested and are extremely viral elements in the buzz & hype game launch checklist.
Although preparing a Trailer is time consuming, it’s worth investing in. They can easily be used post-launch, and open up several new areas to gain players from!
If you’re not willing to invest the time into producing a trailer, it’s very easy to take video and upload it directly to youtube.
Having some video content is important when submitting your unreleased game to reviewers. Often times, reviewers gravitate to the videos of game play over play testing because it’s quicker to evaluate.
What are your thoughts? Do you think videos provide value to your Buzz & Hype campaign?
How do you approach marketing your videos after you’ve created them?
Regardless of what content you create, don’t feel pressured to only share this item once. Come up with creative ideas on promoting your content… which support your overall goal of driving app awareness.
Keep in mind that everyday compounds on the day before it. Build and maintain your Arsenal of Assets, and prepare adequate time for your launch.
If you follow these Buzz & Hype action points, you’ll be off to a strong start even before your app has launched… lining you up for successful 48hrs post app release!
Do you have tips on additional items that should be covered in this Buzz & Hype stage? Share it with your fellow game developers and write a comment below.