updated icon August 18 2016

With the increasing number of digital platforms that users are now present on, game developers have a tough time reaching out to acquire their players. The primary challenge for them being how to answer – ‘so, what’s so special about your game?’ and then having players help promote your game for you. In this post, we’re going to share some smart user acquisition hacks.

Taking your game to the competitive app market is a challenging task. You don’t just need to understand what your target market is looking for, what would make your game stand out from the rest, but also find ways and means to acquire more users who can experience what you have created.

There are literally hundreds of games that get introduced to app store on both iOS and Android, every other day. While some of the users are enthusiastic players and would try every possible game, there are those who’d rather worry about the space they have on their phone. These are the people you need to convince that the game you are bringing to them, is ‘worth their time.’

Addressing all of the above, is practically going to take you months and a large marketing budget!

So here are few acquisition tactics that you could use for your game (or any other app) if you’re on a budget and want to grow sustainably in the market:

Optimize your game for search engines and app store

What’s the first place you head to when you’re looking for something? Google! Be it a popular scrabble game you’re looking for or an exciting goat simulator, you choose what the search engine recommends.

Hence, to start with, it is important to optimize your game for the search engines. And while you’re at it, also focus on app store optimization. Here are a few practices you could follow to do so effectively:

  • Use the Google Keyword Planner to identify keywords in your game’s niche. Picking out high traffic and low competition keywords is a smart strategy.
  • Build a landing page for your game. Ensure that what you share engages the visitor and compels him to download your game almost instantly!
  • Make sure your app store description includes the keywords you’re focusing on, interesting screenshots and anything that will drive a visitor to engage with your game.
  • Make getting ratings and reviews on your game a part of your strategy right from the start.

Here’s an interesting aspect of ASO we came across and is up for discussion in the comment section below the post: keywordsInTitleWorhIt.jpg

Shane Barker, shared a detailed guide on app store optimization sometime back and it’s definitely something you need to read before getting started!

Use email marketing

If you thought email marketing is only for web based businesses, you’re wrong and have been missing out on a huge opportunity to acquire users. As stated in a post on Business2Community, email is the most popular activity on smartphones.

smartphone-activities.jpg

Source

Using email marketing campaigns you can nurture these leads with glimpses of your game and what other players are doing, to bring them to the download the app. Sometimes it takes more than just a few screens to hook a player! Showcasing your game using gifs is a very efficient attention grabbing tactic.

nintendos-world.gif

Source

Although, a few things to keep in mind here include:

  • Don’t overdo the email frequency; touch base with your leads every now and then only to share something valuable.
  • Make emails your platform to share tips, tricks or hacks for getting more out of your game. This might encourage a few to try it out themselves.
  • Use emails to offer incentives for engaging with the app. Be it a one-time special feature they can experience or a booster to complete a level that is popularly being deemed as ‘hard to cross’.
  • Focus on stimulating some sort of action from the recipient. It need not be directly downloading your game, it could be to boost your social following first!

Email addresses offer you the chance to create re-engagement campaigns and cross-promotions, at a later time as well. Having a platform to touch base with your users is the only way to keep them hooked to your game and increase their app sessions.

Also read: 7 simple strategies to re-engage your inactive app users

Social media marketing and retargeting

An average smartphone user is active on at least 2 social media platforms – be it for personal or professional use. This means that he would definitely be using these platforms a few times through the day. That opportunity is enough for you to reach out to new users and retarget those who have previously shown some interest!

mostEffectiveUserAcquisitionTactics.png

Source

Here are a few things to keep in mind when marketing and remarketing your game on social media:

  • Keep it interesting and share different aspects of your game with your target audience. Identify different instances at which different segments of your target market have been engaging with games, to get your timing and messaging right.
  • Make use of Facebook remarketing/retargeting. Those who visit your landing page via any source are those who are interested in your game. Don’t forget to retarget them on social media till they convert.
  • Include social media sharing in your referral campaigns or the natural flow of your game. For instance, encouraging a visitor to share his milestone in the game on Facebook before moving ahead!
  • Tap into the power of influencer marketing to boost your app promotions on social media. They already have a following that trusts their word.

Make word-of-mouth a part of your strategy

The most effective way to gain more users, is to tap into the power of word-of-mouth. Since there are so many games that offer similar things, most smartphone users are skeptical about using new ones.

The only way to beat this is to get recommended by a friend or family member of theirs. And how do you do that? By integrating a referral marketing strategy in your game.

A game recommended by a friend is more likely to be accepted by a new user. But here are a few things you must keep in mind:

  • Proactively promote your referral campaign across the various digital channels your existing players and target market is on.
  • Make it extremely simple to do for the player. For instance, using GetSocial Smart Invites, the player can easily invite his friends using popular chat apps like WhatsApp, Kik, Twitter, etc. The easier it is, the more likely they are to complete the action.
  • Keep monitoring the results of your referral campaign to identify the opportunities you could further tap into and optimize it for higher results.
  • Consistently encourage the players who proactively promote your game and are successful at bringing new users to it. Be it offering them an in-app purchase for free or unlocking a special level, the idea is to keep them motivated to continue being your advocate in lieu of something that interests them.

nibblersgifsmartinvite

Rovio’s Nibblers referral marketing example

Over to you

Acquiring new players for your game can be a tough task. In one of our previous post, we listed down 10 mobile growth hacks that games need to tap into today. Finding the right balance between paid and organic user acquisition, is the trick to sustainable growth in the competitive market!

Also read: Grow your app in the age of ad blockers