Okay so I only just noticed when SlideDB emailed about voting for 2016’s best app of the year, that my BotSumo game actually won the best in the “Party” genre in 2016.
SlideDB.com is a website that I use to post photos, articles, videos and updates about games (here’s the listing for BotSumo). I started doing this before I had my own website, and continue to do so because tbh it’s easier to get people to take notice of an insignificant indie game when they’re already on a website showcasing insignificant indie games, instead of trying very hard to get people to take notice of a separate website.
So I’ve got a profile on there of several games I’ve made, and tbh I don’t put a lot of effort into it. Only posting something when I’ve got something interesting to say (almost never), which is mostly when there’s an update, or if I’ve got a new video to show.
Last year I heard they were doing a vote for the “app of the year”, and when I noticed my game was only up against 2 others, I started asking friends and family for upvotes for BotSumo. It’s always embarrassing to do this, grovel to your friends etc, but I’ve been lucky in that some of my friends think BotSumo is quite fun. So anyway, I got a few votes. But tbh not all that many.
So I’m surprised many months later that BotSumo won, and for 2 reasons:
- It actually seemed quite easy. Marketing is hard, and getting people to pay attention to a game in a crowded market is almost impossible. It’s so easy to spend time in the wrong areas, and waste time (and also money) trying to market your game to people who just aren’t interested. Could it have been though that I actually managed by sheer luck to put effort into somewhere that was worthwhile (more on whether it was worthwhile later).
- I didn’t hear about it. Not an email or anything. But that’s not the shocking thing. I look at the download stats for BotSumo almost religiously. It’s become an obsessive habit now, finding where each click came from.
The stats you get are like Google Analytics for websites, but unfortunately not as detailed. You can find out how many downloads you have, but it’s difficult to find where they came from. You can tell if they’re a referral, but it won’t show you from where. But tbh the amount of referrals from a web link are so minimal that it was barely worth noting. Most people find the game from within the Google Play store, which implies any attempt to advertise are usually pointless anyway. But even still, if SlideDB drew a worthwhile amount of traffic my way, I think I’d have noticed it.
I feel odd about this. It’s cool to have won something, but also pointless if that accolade is meaningless and has no benefit. It could of course be that SlideDB is a small site, still growing in popularity. There’s not as many articles posted to the homepage as there is to its more popular sister-site IndieDB.
The SlideDB visitor stats are interesting (above), it shows that people are seeing the content I put on there (although I can’t tell if any of these people are downloading the game). These numbers are actually more than view the same articles on my website – and that sounds about right, this audience are looking for mobile games. I’ve no idea who’s stumbling upon my website, but my content is varied, about web development, SEO, and just random rambles.
I’ve been trying other marketing efforts for BotSumo, and even though the number of downloads is more than I ever imagined, the amount of people liking it on Facebook is pretty abysmal. Here’s some stats:
These are the latest posts on the BotSumo Facebook page, which currently has 78 followers (0.07% of the total people who’ve downloaded it). I post videos and photos, and it gets a few likes, but nothing spectacular. I’m probably posting the wrong content, or perhaps BotSumo’s audience (seemingly young Russians & Koreans!) just don’t use Facebook.
The red ring above shows a particular post that I did an experiment with. I asked many of my friends (grovelling again!) to click like on a specific post, to see if it would increase the amount of people who would see it. That did seem to happen, as you can see the reach is much higher than other posts. But it didn’t seem to increase engagement all that much beyond the people who I asked to click like.
The screenshot above comes from the analytics inside the Google Play Developer console, showing the stats for the entire of October 2017. 15 installers came from third party referrers, and 5 from a Google search. Compared to the whopping 4,900 who found the game from within the Google Play store makes me wonder if it’s even worth putting in additional marketing efforts?
The above stats show November’s stats, where I used a Google Adwords campaign (it was a voucher, I didn’t actually spend real money) to get 134 installers. This cost £75, which makes me glad it was a voucher and not my real money, because it just doesn’t seem worth it when 7,500 installed it without me having to do anything anyway.
Btw the amount of people who clicked the ads was 800, leaving a conversion rate of 22%. Not sure if that’s good or bad, but I’d be pretty pissed if I’d spent £58 to get people to not actually do anything.
I’m not sure how to sum this article up really, other than marketing a game is hard! Is it even worth bothering? Maybe not for someone like me who’s just making games for the fun of it and his mortgage doesn’t depend on it. I can just look at this numbers with morbid curiosity. I suppose the only thing it costs me is my time, and looking at the numbers, it’s probably worth spending too much time uploading content to places like SlideDB. But I will continue, if only for the ability to use it like a journal and look back over time and see progress.