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Marketing : Development is only half the story.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ArnB, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. ArnB

    ArnB

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    You develop a great game but then have trouble getting people to play it.

    I'm sure this is a situation many of us have seen, after all, most of us are developers not sales and marketing people.

    Let me start by putting my experience into perspective. I am still quite new to unity and android (my chosen new platform) but wrote previously in a variety of languages for various platforms. I produced my first "Test" game and it played quite well. I was pleased.

    I did some nice graphics to replace the test ones and bingo, I had a game (admittedly small) that I could test the water with. I installed some admob banners to gauge how much I could make.

    I uploaded it to google play and ... a handful of installs.
    I thought about what I was doing wrong - I invested a bit of time on making a nice icon .. that was better and it jumped to a thousand, but still showed that it was going to be difficult to earn much.

    I got some emails offering marketing services. One of these was a company called LeTang...
    I searched online - found little in the way of user experience with them. I devised a test with help of one of their sales (Jacqueline) we installed two similar games, I would market one and they would market the other. I had a head start as I was working with the copy that was already on google play for 2 weeks.

    The deal was this - We split the ad revenue - 60% for me, 40% for them on their version. They would provide translations and new app descriptions etc. (which they did to the exact day they said - good start) and would handle all promotion for their version.

    The game was afoot...

    Day one:

    My installs (from the past 2 weeks) - just over 1000.
    At the end of the day the LeTang version had already reached over 800! (and google reporting numbers are often delayed)

    Day two:

    I have gone crazy here to maintain lead - posted links everywhere etc.
    My Installs : 1700!! .. Yay! the effort pays off.
    LeTang version: 17,000 ... Hmm, seems that lead and head start didn't last long.


    I will post more as my experience continues - I think the clear message is that marketing services can be a great boon to us indie developers. So far I am impressed.
     
  2. Maklaud

    Maklaud

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    I have the same problem - I'm bad at marketing and sales and don't know hot to publish games better - with or without such companies.

    Anyway such posts look just like an adv of these companies.
     
  3. MooseMouse

    MooseMouse

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    Very interesting. Would love to hear more about what they do. Do they cross promote within other games? Do they spend their own money on advertising?
     
  4. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    Tell us more. How it progresses, how much it costs, return on investment. Let us know once a week with an update.
    Gigi
     
  5. dogzerx2

    dogzerx2

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    Nice, front row seats! Keep us updated! This is so interesting...
     
  6. JohnnyA

    JohnnyA

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    But not here ... not that this will help a lot with downloads, but it would be nice to see what you are talking about ...
     
  7. tatelax

    tatelax

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    I tried looking this company up and found very little information. I found their website, and it was obviously a wordpress template (I'd seen the same one before). Are you sure these downloads are legitimate and not fake downloads (if that's possible)? Similar to websites that promise to increase your view count on you website, but actually set up bots to visit it.
     
  8. JohnnyA

    JohnnyA

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    Thats what I was thinking... how much revenue have you generated for your 60% share. Tell us when its in your bank account :)
     
  9. imtrobin

    imtrobin

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    What's your Test Game on googleplay?
     
  10. jvil

    jvil

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    That's obviously more spam of Letang Inc.

    I would recommend avoid this company for the following reasons:

    - Their SDK is bugged. Once you decompile their .jar and get a deep view of what they plan to add into your game you will easily see (never add a third-party library without knowing what is doing). Once I contacted their technical team reporting issues they weren't unable to find a workaround, even after the suggestions I sent on how to fix those bugs. They will send you a badly coded Admob implementation with their publisher ID, it's a really a bad AdMob implementation.

    - Read their contract, even small letter, that's important. I found several clauses unacceptable for me, year contract, etc. but maybe isn't your case. Their contract is firm and they will not change any clause, that's why you need to re-read again.

    - They're not professionals, you will receive several emails from different people of Letang even if you already told them to add their SDK. What's really really annoying.
     
  11. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    It does seem a little to square to me, you have 1700 vs 17000. But still even if its 17k free downloads, thats still a failure not going to make you any money.
     
  12. Meltdown

    Meltdown

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    And how many of those are failures? Those could easily be scripted installs.
    There are tons of spam companies on the internet, that use bots or other methods to simulate installs, or other things such as 'views' on video networks.
     
  13. Instability

    Instability

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    So exactly what is LeTang's contribution, apart from "translations and new app descriptions"? How do they do the marketing?
     
  14. nunesbarbosa

    nunesbarbosa

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    Hi guys!

    I've made a contract with LeTang too. It's exactly as ArnB says.. the numbers are impressive.. it's like 1.5k installs a day then it slows down 2 weeks later.. My app have like 35k installs right now after 2 weeks. Their secret for publicity is cross promotion, so the pay for publicity and gets their share along the time.. it's an investment on your game.

    Now, the odd stuff:
    - They ask you to place tons of ads and interstitial (when the game starts, when you exit, when you pause, banner ads, etc.) and it's a demand for releasing your game.
    - The sign is made by LeTang, so you must have another app at Play Store with different package name.
    - They ask you to do a tutorial of your game. They asked me that on the release date, which delayed my game for another week.
    - They translate the game on several languages, but may change your game title like they did to mine.
    - The financial report is done manually by the finances guy, so you never know if you're being ripped off. And they update whenever they want.
    - They work with at least two third party ads. I asked screen shots of the financial report of those ads so I can get more transparency, but they denied it. (really cheesy, hum?). Another option is that you pick an ad party and they pick another, but the share would be 50/50 instead of 60/40.
    - You only get paid two months after the game release.

    It's like I don't own my game anymore but I still don't think it's a bad deal because I couldn't get to those numbers by myself, but I wish they were more professional and transparent.

    Did you guys received your share? Do LeTang pays correctly?

    Regards!
     
  15. imtrobin

    imtrobin

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    couldn't you do cross promotion yourself with tapjoy or similar service?
     
  16. nunesbarbosa

    nunesbarbosa

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    I used tapfortap and Google ads for publishing.. I spent like $ 70 and got 1.5k users in 2 months. Those are pretty low numbers.. I guess you have to spend a lot of money on cross promotion to get 1.5k/ day. When you're broke, the best option is to find yourself a good publisher.
     
  17. nunesbarbosa

    nunesbarbosa

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    A lot of people are asking me if Le Tang is the real deal.. yes, they are and they are paying me on schedule.
     
  18. ArnB

    ArnB

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    Since the original post a lot has happened.
    For the first year they always paid - no problems, the installs were great.

    That then changed - I'm not sure what happened but things went astray, they stopped paying without me badgering them. They report lower numbers to me than my other apps with far less installs.
    They will try embed your apps with dodgy stuff that could land you in trouble.

    Management change? or maybe because I did not give them more apps?
    Beware! They will not release the signature back to you, even if you have very legitimate reasons (even the contract expired) later. You get great few months at the start, but prepare to say goodbye to your apps after that.
     
    nunesbarbosa and Kiwasi like this.
  19. rockysam888

    rockysam888

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    (bookmarked)
     
  20. sluice

    sluice

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    Interesting... thanks for the follow up @ArnB
     
  21. Ostwind

    Ostwind

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    Please use the forum watch thread feature like intended and don't post bookmarked messages (which you already have probably done hundreds?).
     
    HemiMG likes this.
  22. sluice

    sluice

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    @Ostwind, perhaps this is where a pro only filter would be useful! :p
     
  23. Ostwind

    Ostwind

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    That feature is for started threads only :)
     
  24. nunesbarbosa

    nunesbarbosa

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    Few crappy things happened those days regarding LT.. I got one strike from Google Play on their behalf because they injected my app with malware.. Maybe it is their analytics but I got a final word on GP that they removed my app with over 100k installs.

    Last week I had a similar issue that my other Le Tang game was sending data do a server without the players concent. I thought is was a simple analytics issue but GP replied that it was a security privacy issue. Only a warning this time, no strike.

    As ArnB said, their statistics numbers are odd too. I have the same game on App Store with maybe 500 installs and I get more banner profit than on GP with 50k installs.. either their user database is bad or they are tweaking with the numbers..

    Now to lift from the ashes I'm removing all my LT games, cancel the contracts and resubmit the games on another package name.
     
  25. imaginaryhuman

    imaginaryhuman

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    First of all, your target audience. This needs to be considered up-front before you create anything. You might automatically ask yourself what kind of people will play the game or what kind of people will buy it. But that's the wrong question. Ask instead what kind of people are likely to PROMOTE the game. Usually end users are not the ones who are into sharing stuff. They may not have an audience of their own or people following them. Sure they might be on facebook or twitter and have a small following but its relatively tiny and it will be a struggle getting them to share for you.

    What you need to do is identify 'influencers' ie people online who actually do make it a 'thing' to go and share stuff, to build their own audience, to gather a following. These could be people with large numbers of followers on instagram, or popular video channels, or bloggers, or people with websites. These aren't your average end-users, and you mustn't mistake them for being the same kind of people as the kind of people that make up the general population of game players. They're a different kind of person. They're more outspoken people who like to share and express and who are actively building an audience of their own. So then you need to ask yourself, what kind of a game, product, or piece of content, would THOSE people be interested in? And it's not the same as the stuff that you would make for the general public. What they think would benefit or be interesting for their audience, based on their preferences, is different to what you think the end-user wants.

    Then you need to set about creating a game/product/content that directly caters to those influential people. It's kind of like, instead of going out and trying to get 1 million end users - strangers - to like your stuff directly, cold-turkey, with no prior relationship or trust, you instead need to target 100 influential people who already have earned the trust and attention of their audience. If you can get them to share your stuff, you can reach far more people AND know that those people are much more likely to pay attention and engage with it.

    The next challenge is coming up with a game/product/content that those influential people would actually want to talk about, share about, publish about. Usually that means it has to be high quality and thorough/polished and useful, to get them to believe it will be useful/wanted by their audience - so that it makes THEM look good. It's not about making YOU look good, therefore - you are providing a content generating service to influential people, delivering to their needs, which means given them the empowerment and ammunition to enhance THEIR following and THEIR readership. If you can do that, then you need to reach out to as many influential people as you can - usually you have to start by finding them, first of all - finding people who have blogged or shared about similar stuff before, and who have the right kind of audience and interests, so that they will be receptive. Then contact as many as possible and offer your 'service', as though you made it just for them - here's a really great game that I think your audience will love, etc. If you get these 'marketers' to speak FOR you then you will reach a much bigger audience and get more attention indirectly. And the key at the end of that sharing is that they provide a LINK of some kind either to your website or to your app, or at least tell people to go check it out. That helps your search engine ranking and sales.

    Besides this strategy, the next approach is to try to get people to come to you. That means complete strangers who don't know you exist or that they want a game or want your kind of game or your exact game. If you are targeting search engines for example, then there are two things you require: 1) Create really great website content which speaks on a specific topic and is very thorough, lengthy, of high quality, engaging/interesting/useful and shareworthy. You need to have the 'best' example of a given 'answer' to a given query, in order to rise up in the rankings. 2) Go out and actively promote that content (typically to influencers with audiences), by trying to build inbound links to it and to get people to share it. You can rise in the rankings by having the best content, but only so far, because `proof` of relevancy and popularity still has to come through link building - and it needs to be genuine/organic not faked. If you can get both good content and large number of links, you will shoot up the rankings, which means more exposure, which means more traffic, which means more potential purchases. Once they get to your site/content the experience begins and now it's matter of whether you make it engaging and interesting and easy for them to purchase, or whether you turn them off.

    All this in mind, if you just try to 'make a game for end users' and then 'make it available on the store'... that's an extremely passive approach which is basically 'publish and pray', which will not likely work very well. This is where people start to say, well, you have to have a lot of LUCK and its entirely out of your hands. Not so. It's not out of your hands and your hands are not tied. You need to PROMOTE your stuff and build inroads to it. You need to either get it in front of more people so they know it exists, and/or you need to bring them to it by building traffic. It's sort of hard to build traffic within a close app-store search engine like apple, which I think is why it's important that your game has a website. At least then you can do a lot of awareness-raising and traffic-building and direct people to your app on the app store - sort of bypassing apple's navigation and bypassing all the noise of other competing apps. I would think that would work far better than trying to have your game just sit there among hundreds of thousands of others trying to win based on having the right 'icon' or whatever bs. It's a very luring model to just say, hey, you can just load your game onto our app store and it will sell.... no. Imagine a retail store with some shelf in the back corner with your game tucked in and buried under 1000 other boxes. How are you going to get eyeballs on it? Especially when it's just released and has no sales and extremely poor ranking position. You need external input to push it up in popularity. You can't do that within the store itself very easily so you need to do it externally.
     
  26. Schneider21

    Schneider21

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    @ArnB @nunesbarbosa I appreciate you guys following up with updates on your experience!