Skillz Blog

Top 5 Tips for Mobile Marketing (Plus Why This Matters for Game Developers)

Mobile technology is increasingly revolutionizing the way we live, work, and communicate with each other. With 95% of Americans now connected through mobile devices, the market for mobile games is both massive and highly competitive. Whether your company is mobile-first or just entering the space, a mobile marketing strategy is essential for long-term business success.

Follow these five tips to boost your bottom line with effective mobile marketing.

  1. Establish Your Brand Messaging Strategy

Branding is critical to any marketing plan, as it determines how the world perceives you, as well as your product or service. Successful brands clearly and concisely deliver a message to establish credibility, emotionally connect consumers to the product and motivate them to take action, and hopefully  build customer loyalty. These principles also hold true in the mobile games market.

Leverage your overarching business objectives to create a brand strategy that details your company’s core concept, identifies your target audience, and addresses customer needs. The strategy should address the questions: “What does my game aim to achieve?” “Who needs my game and why?” It also dictates high-level brand messaging and creative assets to drive game downloads.

Develop a brand positioning statement to communicate how your company is different from competitors and why your target audience should choose your product. An example: “Skillz is the marketplace platform that empowers everyone to embrace their inner champion, while safeguarding fair competition so it can thrive in a digital world. What makes Skillz unique is that it enables game makers with the tools they need to build sustainable businesses. It also provides fair competition and entertainment for players of all demographics.”

  1. Identify Your Target Audience 

Audience segmentation helps zero in on those whose lives will be most enriched by your game. Understand who your players are by determining the following demographic and behavioral information: 

  • Device type and platform
  • Geographic location
  • Gender 
  • Age 
  • Education
  • Marital Status 
  • Socioeconomic status 
  • Profession
  • Habits 
  • Interests 
  • Likes and dislikes

Then, define the pain points and motivations of your potential users and consider how your game provides a solution. Apply these concepts to each customer segment and create customer profiles for your audience. An example of player profiles: 

  • Amy: 30-year-old single woman living and working in a large metropolitan city
  • Brenda: 30-year-old suburban mother on maternity leave
  • Mary: 30-year-old married and working woman with no children living in a rural area

Consider offline methods like focus groups and field research to further analyze and understand your target audiences. Finally, examine competitors in the market by determining their audience behaviors and brand preferences. We ‘ll cover more on this in the next section.

  1. Conduct Competitive Research

To develop a strong mobile marketing strategy, it’s vital to understand what works (and doesn’t) in the competitive space. Research acquisition tactics and creative advertising strategies of competitors. Leverage game reviews and ratings to learn what features draw or deter users, as well as what key value propositions companies are highlighting.  

This knowledge will help you predict the competition’s next move, stay ahead of the game and up to date on evolving industry trends. It’s especially vital to understand competitor retention rates and ad/creative impression if you haven’t gathered enough data of your own for benchmarking. Tools like App Annie, SensorTower, App Samurai, and Hubspot are helpful for competitive research. 

  1. Define Your Success Metrics (KPIs)

Success isn’t the same for every game, but three categories stand out as areas for optimization universally: user acquisition, user retention, and monetization. The ability to conceptualize the relationship between these three components can provide strong insights into your game’s long-term growth and profitability. 

That being said, it’s imperative to have a single storage solution for metrics across the board to draw comparisons and correlations. Unifying metrics enables better success metrics for campaigns across multiple networks (e.g. Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, and Applovin). 

Here are a few Key Performance Indicators in each category of success for mobile games:

User Acquisition Metrics

  • New Users
  • Daily Active Users (DAU)

 
User Retention Metrics

  • Retention
  • Number of Sessions Per User
  • Drop-off Rates
  • Session Duration

 
Monetization Metrics 

  • Lifetime Value (LTV) 
  • User Acquisition Cost (UAC)
  • Average Revenue Per Daily Active User (ARPDAU)
  • Average Revenue Per Paying User (ARPPU)
  1. Focus on App Store Optimization (ASO)

You’ve nailed down your game’s differentiator in the market, supported by a reliable business strategy and a clear understanding of your target audience. You’ve done your competitive research and feel confident about your success metrics. 

It’s finally time to consider your game’s position in the crowded app store marketplace. App Store Optimization (ASO) aims to improve mobile app rankings directly in stores, with the ultimate goal being to increase downloads. The two stages in an ASO strategy are driving game discoverability and optimizing for conversion. 

To make your game more discoverable by users in the app store, start with category and keywords. Games are ranked based on genre or overall rating, so choose a genre that is relevant to user behavior and competitors, but also where your game stands out. When Twitter changed its categorization from Social Networking to News in 2016, it moved from a top 10 ranking to No. 1 in downloads. 

Spend time researching keywords with high search volume for both the title and description of your game. Find relevant words through monitoring app reviews, competitors, and Google search. As your game gains more reviews and grows in ranking, avoid changing your keywords too often, especially in the title. This will confusion and be detrimental to long-term discoverability of your app. 

In terms of converting users to download your game, focus on optimizing your app icon, game screenshots, and gameplay videos. These creative assets should be simple and engaging, with a clear purpose. Test different forms of creative to determine which messages and visuals convert the highest-quality users. 

The icon is the first visual players see in the app store listing. Make sure your icon is clear and tied to the core function of the game. It should translate to different devices (mobile phone, iPad, etc.) and different platforms (iOS, Android). 

The first three screenshots of your game have the greatest visibility in the app store, so ensure that these are the most visually compelling. As with the app icon, test multiple iterations to uncover the highest performing screenshots. Stay updated on the latest screenshot trends in the industry. For example, are competitors’ screenshots completely separate images or are they a larger image spread across multiple screenshots? 

Videos are valuable for immersing potential users into the gameplay. Keep the sound and imagery of high quality. Short videos perform best, so prioritize the game’s key features and differentiators. If you plant to use videos, ensure you can allocate a larger budget (as opposed to static images). 

Finally, encourage reviews and feedback. Cross-promote your game on social media, YouTube, developer forums, and more. Target users having a great experience with the game to increase the likelihood of positive comments. And always be responsive to user feedback. 

Conclusion

A successful mobile game requires engaged and retained users, and achieving this starts with a strong marketing strategy. After nailing down the five components of marketing above, it’s time to focus on your first User Acquisition campaign. Skillz aids developers by offering a platform that infuses games with short-and-sweet competitive tournaments, providing players with the ability to compete for virtual currency or real-world prizes. Our own creative marketing team finds this to be a highly convincing value proposition, which is consistently leveraged in creative for user acquisition efforts. To learn more about how Skillz can help engage, retain and monetize your game, visit skillz.com/developers.