Identify who your target audience is
Understand who would be interested in your game and define your target audience. A good starting point is to look at previous campaigns and see what segments of users you have traditionally targeted. If there aren’t any previous campaigns, then start broad and narrow it down. Often, the best practice is to test this audience on a small budget before launching the main campaign and then scale once you are satisfied with the results on a micro-level.
Choose the right marketing channels
Getting the right mix of channels and campaigns is where you can really maximize your UA efforts. Paid channels such as Facebook Ads, Google’s UAC, ironSource and many more enable you to advertise and gather installs. Each channel has its own specifics and the best way to start, similarly to the previous section, is by testing on smaller budgets.
Other than paid UA, there are also organic options such as app store optimization (ASO). ASO works similarly to search engine optimization (SEO) for websites but is instead used to increase ranking on app stores. By analyzing and optimizing keywords you can greatly improve a mobile game’s chance of being discovered by users in the Google Play/App Store.
Best practices include:
- Using low competing keywords
- Describing and specifying game titles to best explain what users can expect from the app.
- Choosing the appropriate category
- Reviews and high-quality screenshots
Know KPIs for your game
Tracking critical KPIs, especially during the initial launch of a game, will enable you to make more strategic decisions. The most commonly tracked KPIs are ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend), CPI (Cost per Install), LTV (Lifetime value), ARPPU (Average Revenue Per Paying User), ARPDAU (Average Revenue Per Daily Active User).
Focus on high-quality creative production
Video ads are a great way to portray in-game mechanics and core gameplay to potential players and are often key in influencing the decision to download a game. Be sure to use creatives that are an accurate representation of the game. Using false/misleading creatives leads to high player drop-offs and uninstalls as the player realizes the game is not what was promised / portrayed.
Playable ads are proven to bring higher-quality players to your game and can easily showcase core gameplay in an engaging way. Unfortunately, getting a quality playable ad can be on the pricey side, especially if it is your first attempt as it can mean paying a lot of money for a creative which may not perform.
Analyze and optimize your UA efforts
Once live, the effectiveness of your UA campaigns needs to be consistently analyzed and then optimized based on your findings. For example, If you see a campaign has a declining trend, consider changing the creative or targeting to maximize results and minimize losses. In short, you need to frequently monitor your KPIs closely in order to determine the next steps for each campaign.