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Growing your game with proven paid marketing strategies

April 4, 2022 in Games | 8 min. read
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This article will guide you through simple paid marketing strategies to help any developer grow their player base.

Great news, your game is ready to hit the app stores, but it needs to be nurtured with players and a loyal audience to start growing. Getting the first few people to know your game exists and enjoy what you have made is a great achievement, but it is just a first step in a path that takes most developers on a winding and intriguing marketing journey.

Having a sound marketing plan that evolves and adapts with your growth could be the difference between making it or breaking it. The good news is that these plans don’t need to be extensive or expensive from the get-go. 

In this article, we explore paid strategies that give you the means to fund your game, grow your user base, and close the growth loop.

Fund and grow your operation

Having organic strategies in place is a great way to get players to start experiencing the world you have carefully created and a good starting point to see some action regarding installs and buzz. While these are essential to a well-rounded strategy, they are just the stepping stones for your marketing plan.

The next step is to aim at having a steady income to keep your shop up and running over time, continuously improving your game, and growing your user base. This is where paid elements like monetizing your game and deploying user acquisition strategies come in. 

Gain control

We’ve all seen annoying ads getting in the way of our game, but those are the result of poor creative, placement, and distribution strategies that didn’t properly consider the user experience. 

The key here is having as much control as possible over what gets advertised in your game and where. After all, your reputation as a developer depends significantly on a smooth game experience for your players.

Take Uken Games as an example, known for blockbuster titles like Jeopardy or Who Wants to be a Millionaire. They have a reputation for being a family-friendly publisher, so waiting for inappropriate ads to be reported when they have already impacted their players isn’t ideal.

They took steps to regain control of their game and used Unity’s Ad Control tools to identify what ads were being shown in their game and trim away inappropriate content before it could potentially upset their player base. 

If you want to know more about Uken and their journey with ads, check out the full story right here.

Get new users and aim for retention

Carefully thought-out monetization strategies can benefit players’ enjoyment of your game. Our gaming reports have consistently seen that games with ads have better D1, D7, D30 retention than those without. 

In the majority of game genres, best practices in ad strategy and placement  continue to drive engagement and extend player lifecycles year over year.

Graphic showing retention rates with and without ads

Enter the growth loop

While ads and in-app purchases help you build a steady revenue stream over time, part of your strategy should be making your ad spaces more attractive and valuable to create a flow between user acquisition and monetization. 

Your user acquisition efforts should focus on bringing in new and valuable players while ensuring they have a great gaming experience, one that will keep them coming back. Once you have hit the sweet spot, reinvesting revenues into seeking out more high-quality players will help you close the loop. Also, retaining these high-value players ends up being more cost-effective than spending budget acquiring new ones.

This naturally translates into more money, so you can keep improving your game (or getting the financial muscle to launch the next one). The good news? Unity now makes it easy for you to transfer the revenue you've earned from monetizing your game to start a user acquisition campaign.

Nailing down user acquisition

Now, we’ve covered a bit on how ads work and why game developers should include them in their gameplay and their marketing mix. But, when it comes to user acquisition, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Is any user a good user? No. Ideally, you’d want to get two types of users: Players loyal to your title that will keep returning after installing it and players who would bring you value by making in-app purchases. Getting these players to install your app or game highly depends on your targeting strategy and the story you are telling with your ad creative. Taking Unity as an example, our Audience Pinpointer helps you find players most likely to have value beyond an initial app install – users who are most likely to continue playing your game.
  • Watch your return on advertising spend (ROAS): This metric is calculated by dividing the revenue generated from an ad campaign by the cost of launching the campaign. The result will give you a ratio of revenue generated by each dollar spent. Insights from ROAS across all your campaigns will help you decide on future budgets, strategy, and overall marketing direction, so keeping an eye on it will give you insights on how to correct and optimize your course. Check other metrics to follow on this seven step article about user acquisition.
  • Loop your monetizing earnings into your acquisition efforts: Reinvesting some of the profits you are making from advertising into your user acquisition efforts allows you to constantly grow your user base – including more valuable users who can win higher cost per thousand (CPMs), resulting in higher yields from the ad spaces you are selling.
Growth loop marketing mix

Make your marketing strategy a basecamp for growth

Building a marketing plan for your game that establishes and boosts your online presence with monetization and user acquisition campaigns plays an essential role in your success as those elements will help you secure revenue and push for continuous growth.

Intertwining those strategies will help you enter a growth loop that allows you to keep improving your game, covering your operating costs, and investing in growing your game with high value users that keep coming back. 

Finally, having the bases covered with your paid strategies and blending them with your organic tactics gives you the financial security to keep doing what you do best: Creating wonderful gaming experiences for people from all walks of life.

April 4, 2022 in Games | 8 min. read
Topics covered