How to develop a mobile game with UA in mind

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Author: Martin Luther, Head of Creatives

Most will probably agree that the core element to success in mobile gaming is to have developed a game that can captivate its desired target audience. Creating an environment people want to stay in as long as possible, ideally, watch some ads and also purchase some IAPs is often the ultimate goal.

Having worked in mobile game marketing for over 4 years, I’ve noticed that many publishers often miss a key element when developing a game. Many put little thought into marketing/creative production when in the early stages of game development. 

There are a variety of factors such as budget, time and lack of resources that mean focusing purely on playability and design sometimes needs to be only the priority. After all, as mentioned, that is the core element to success in this industry.

However, even if you have developed the best game in the world, you still need to market it. This is why I cannot stress enough the importance of trying to build a game with UA in mind. Doing so allows you to create high-quality creatives that will ultimately attract players and payers to your game.

The best way to create realistic (to the game) and aesthetically pleasing creatives is to ensure the game build is set up correctly with which the marketing team can do anything. Similar to a ‘god mode’, this would enable them to travel through levels and upgrade characters to their top rank in one click.

When developers neglect this, they often have to invest tens of thousands of dollars in creative production to convey the basic mechanics of their game in ads.

These are the biggest issues my team and I have encountered while working with a variety of clients across different genres:

  • The game build was made primarily for testing only, not for marketing
  • Only being able to see new updates of the game but not being able to play them
  • When we (the marketers) can add gems and coins to our account but still have to manually go through the game to get to the boss or a specific level. This makes creating an image/video very complex and sometimes impossible given the time constraints
  • The game build can’t be run on smartphones and is available on PC only, which complicates the creative production process and makes it challenging to install in some cases

Unsure what to do now? Here are some tips on how to produce top-performing creatives.

Camera movement

  • Make sure there is a free-to-roam camera setting. Nothing is better than recording the gameplay using various shots and angles that the player can’t experience in the game
  • If you have a 3D game, add the option to have a vertical camera angle
  • Add the option to zoom the camera in the game build because the quality can decrease when zooming in on the video production process. If you can record the zoom directly in build mode, the video/image quality will stay true to how it was intended – always be mindful to keep the textures sharp

Make your UI invisible

  • One of the most humbling features is turning off the UI. The UI must still be functional but the graphics need to disappear. Why? Because If you resize a creative video with the UI on, you will have to cut it and the end shot will look unprofessional. You can always add the UI in post-production to fit all formats and this is an option we always recommend

Showcasing upgrades

  • Creatives that contain hero upgrades tend to perform very well. Make sure you can easily show the strongest heroes in your build – unlock accessories and equip them on the characters

Environment exploration

  • Do you have levels with different environments? Make them accessible in your build mode. It’s good when creative videos contain diverse-looking sceneries and you can test which visual setting performs best in UA campaigns

Combos, sparkles, excitement!

  • Satisfying gameplays are used a lot for marketing purposes. Destroying hundreds of enemies at once or doing 10 combos in a row with just one move makes the game look more appealing.
  • It’s difficult and time-consuming to create shots like this manually in post-production. Try to implement it into your game build so it generates by itself and from there, all that is needed is to screen record

Whilst all of the above is not necessarily ‘mandatory’ so to speak, it really will help your future marketing efforts in terms of spending on complex creatives. As a company, we always recommend investing your time and resources in developing a game build that will improve your future marketing efforts and enable your game to attract valuable players.

If you would like a chat about creative production or just mobile game marketing in general, please do get in touch.

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