A new mobile game hitting the app store can be like a pop singer landing a single on the Billboard 100; you have to start high and hype it quickly, or risk getting buried by the next big hit. In the app game industry, the general rule of thumb for launch marketing is a 15-day window; essentially, if you aren't carried by word of mouth and advertising within that timeframe, you are out of luck. With time spent in apps up more than 52% compared to 2013, the top spots are more coveted than ever.
So, how can you get attention, and who do you advertise to in that crucial two-week period? Here are some strategies sourced from experts around the Web.
Don't discount female gamers
As runaway hits like Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and 2048 have shown us, mobile games aren't just for kids -- or teenage boys. A recent study run by Flurry backs this up, revealing that females are on average better customers vs. their male gamer counterparts.
According to the analytics platform, women make 31% more in-app purchases than men, spend 35% more time in gaming apps, and display 42% higher 7-day retention. But before you put all your advertising eggs in one pink basket, take a look at this breakdown of app usage by gender. If your game involves cards/battle or strategy, you're likely better off targeting males.
Consider gamifying your retail app
Building customer loyalty is an ongoing challenge -- why not challenge your customers as well? According to App Annie, mobile commerce companies like Victoria's Secret PINK and HSN have successfully incorporated micro games into their retail apps, tying scavenger hunts, maze navigation and slot games to promotions and prizes. These special touches have helped boost sales growth and shopper registration.
Target tablet users
In the US, 57% of the population uses tablets -- and global revenue from tablet games is expected to reach $13.3 billion by 2019. A whitepaper published by Juniper Research cites the enhanced performance and graphical capabilities of tablet devices as reasons why users spend more on in-game purchases and generate more revenue per device than smartphone owners. CNET agrees: "While tablet usage is comparatively lower, spending is still far higher." Check out these compelling research stats:
In anticipation of iOS 8, Apple recently unveiled a number of changes to its App Store -- including the opportunity for developers to provide video highlights to potential installers. For developers of paid apps, justifying the purchase upfront is an important capability. App Previews can be up to 30 seconds, and should be comprised of video screen captures. This is your chance to show off your most exciting gameplay, compelling sales, and creative content. More importantly, it's an opportunity to distinguish your app from its stiff competition.
As apps continue to generate mass appeal (and intense competition in the top 100), make sure you're taking advantage of every weapon in your arsenal. Getting creative with advertising copy, highlighting your best features and targeting gamers with an install history are just the tip of the mobile app marketing iceberg.