Thursday, October 13, 2016

Stretchy Dash Post-Release: A Look Back at Marketing Media

Yesterday, I released Stretchy Dash on the Google Play store. This is my first independently published game ever, so I'd like to share some of my experiences. I'll divide my thoughts into categories for better skimming and readability.

Stretchy Dash's brand logo. I think it's pretty simple and clean.

Deploying to Google Play

This game is only being released on Google Play, at least for the time being. Being the first time I deployed to a store, I figured it was a good idea to keep things simple.

Actually deploying my APK to Google Play was way simpler than I had imagined; it's just a matter of uploading the file and typing in some patch notes. In fact, using their dev console is generally a good experience. It's really something anyone can do. Since it's relatively simple, I won't go into the details of the console. The real challenge that I'd like to discuss comes in all the stuff surrounding the APK and Store Page.

My Google Play Dev Console, so easy to use!

Marketing Media, Oh My!

This part took as long as making the game, maybe longer, but I'm really glad I went all out. Going through the entire process gave me a good idea of which things I should start working on earlier. Also, this is stuff that you can't just leave out if you want to be successful. Even if this game flops hard, I don't regret any of the work I did for marketing. Okay, what do I mean by marketing media? Let's look at some examples.

  • Business Website
    • This one may be optional, but the way I see it, having a hub for your users to see all of your content in one place is an effective and easy way to market. You don't have to make it from scratch (although I did for the experience), but you should at least look into a Wordpress site or a service like Squarespace.
  • Game Landing Page
    • Having a landing page, however simple, gave me a link to send people who were curious about the game. My landing page just has the game trailer video, a link to the Google Play Store page, and some social media links. It's like a business card for your game.
  • Game Screenshots
    • This one is required if you want to release on Android. You need at least a couple, so you might as well make several to show off the various parts of your game and to get people excited. Screenshots are the very first things, past the icon, that your players will use to judge your game.

One of the screenshots I used on my store page.
Added the text on the bottom because everyone else is doing it,
so it must be right!

  • Trailer Video
    • A video is also required on Android, and is possibly the most time consuming marketing media to produce. There are tons of resources online that give you tips on how to make a good trailer. All I can recommend is to make it short, fast, and to-the-point.
  • Game Icon / Logo
    • Your game's icon is literally the first thing people see when they search in the store. For mine, I tired to capture the essence of the game, which was going fast and stretching a ball. It's simple and colorful.

Stretchy Dash's Google Play icon. So slick and vector-y.

  • Tagline and Description
    • The description is the really important part here. Google recommends to describe your game as concisely as possible. I agree; just make sure to get lots of keywords in there that will help players search for it. For example, the first line of my description includes the keywords "unique" and "runner". "Runner" will capture the players who already like this sort of game, while "unique" may capture players looking for something new. Now that I think about it, maybe I should work the word "endless" in there somewhere.

Finishing all of that was exhausting and time-consuming, but it makes my store page and experience around the store page feel more complete and trustworthy. We'll see if it pays off.

I have a few more experiences I'd like to share, but that will have to wait for another post. There's so much social media left to do. Time to up my hashtag game.