Jero Juujärvi is the founder of Acquire, Engage and Monetize blog and has worked as a game designer for Nitro Games. He is very much into behaviorism and ways to market, engage and monetize users in apps and games.
SplitMetrics asked Jero about how to create a converting app store page for a game.
SplitMetrics: What are the core steps you take before launching a game? What do you start with?
Jero Juujärvi: Research > Lead Generation > Testing
I start doing marketing by means of research and community building way before the game has even reached pre-production phase.
When I have the earliest concept of how the game should look and feel like, I start doing customer research similarly to lean marketing practice. The key is not to dig out the whole internet, but to find enough interest among different niche player segments. The interest should be large enough that you make at least $1.000.000 from the game. The goal to keep focused on is “Why would my target audience pay for this”. Many game developers get distracted in production/after-production phase and forget to check if the game provides great value for the target audience.
After I find out that there is a market for a game concept and get a couple of motivated players to join my volunteer-developer group (an excellent feedback loop with players during game development). This is how we can put player’s raw thoughts on the design table and start pre-production.
Now that we know the game will create interest, we start generating more leads and build a relationship with influencers. This is quite a massive process with many small recurring tasks, but the main goal is to build your reputation, community, relationships and other opportunities so that when the game is launched, you are ready to spread the word quickly.
You should gather tons of insights from players to improve your marketing. Before launching you should be aware of your target audience likes, hates current pains, current dreams, where they hang out, what they follow and so on. Crafting effective marketing campaigns using these insights is easy.
How to determine user segments to target for a game?
Breaking your game into small categories and selling the game as a single category to users multiple times.
For example, if you are trying to sell a game as a whole package: an awesome strategy, action, adventure, MMO (massively multiplayer online game) with a strong focus on CCG (Collectible Card Game) and social aspects. People get confused if you have bunched up all the features. You’d rather identify users by promoting one category separately to keep your approach simple and straight-forward.
Look for people seeking the quality you are providing. When you promote single category of features to people, you find those who enjoy exactly the features.
How to get your user segments attention in the app store?
This is a bit tricky as even if you have different categories of interested user segments you can only have a single app icon. I recommend testing which segment of players yields the best conversion (which players are the most motivated/passionate about your game).
How to understand the main needs and pains your audience has and reflect them in your assets design?
Well, we all are humans on the internet (I hope so). We love complaining and speaking up if we feel something is wrong. Having simple surveys from different channels in exchange for a tasty carrot can work miraculously. The results are less significant compared to the insights you learn by talking to your audience representatives directly (via Google Hangouts with video to read their facial expressions and behavior). Still getting players to join you for a video call is a long road to go. This is why you start building your volunteer developer community early on and keep building it up all the time as they are highly engaged and want to be a part of game development. It is a perfect player insight.
How to detect the channels that will work best for your target audience?
I use my own Marketing System. It is a very simple but effective system to list your data, results, and organize your marketing efforts insights. I list all the channels players who would be interested in playing my game visit and then tracking the metrics of how much interest is generated from these sites. How many visits, how many likes, comments, shares my posts get etc. This way I see the channels that have potential to market my game and those that do not.
What makes a perfect game Call-to-Action in the description?
It depends on the type of the audience your game attracts as there are so many different sales triggers explained on the internet.
Here’s are a few super effective ones:
– Power (many people dream of swaying others, this is very strong need to control and influence)
– Greed (get more stuff! People like to build the security on having resources)
– Competition (feeling of being above the “losers”, being best)
– Acceptance (need to be liked, to be part of a group)
– Status (need to be seen as important person)
– Fear (fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of success, fear in many forms is always effective converter)
– Identity (people build loyalty if they identify with each other like you identify with your best friends because you think and act similarly, so do players with their games)
How players user experience starts from the app store page?
User-experience = How users feel about the game.
From the point when a player sees your app icon, he or she has some opinion about the game.
Does your game project the values that your target audiences are searching for? How about screenshots? Description?
App Description section is the best place to create an information gap between the app store and the game.When players look your game app store page and see some great thing about the game that is not shown fully (initiates curiosity), many players get interested in what this mysterious thingy is and want to download the game to find out.
How to increase search results?
The App Store Optimization is very important to gain the organic search but to have tons of downloads you really need to expand your marketing reach to the channels your target audiences use. But if you have done your research before game launch this shouldn’t be a problem.
Why is targeting important in the description?
As I described earlier, Don’t build a game if there is no one who wants to play the game.
App Store is the place where you should pull all the sales tactics from your pockets to make visitors install your game. This can be done by providing the best possible solution for their needs.
How do you create screenshots that sell the game?
When you have done your customer research, you know everything that makes your target audience download the game.
What are your success metrics?
If we don’t count on the standard metrics to track, I would focus on tracking “user engagement”
How can you track user engagement?
Glad you asked. You can track it based on multiple other metrics combined.
– Session Length
– Session Count
– Retention (Rolling)
– Side-content actions
– Invites Sent
– Other ways to see how much player enjoys, explore or promotes the game.
Tracking these metrics on multiple progression points tells you how engaged a player is. Non-engaged players show worse results with these metrics.
This enables you to create a player-specific customization to the game to make it more engaging for each individual.
For example, if you see that player’s Progression Point 1 (PP1) Engagement is 100% of avg. and in PP2 it is 60%, and identify that our player has a need for competitive features, we can have code in the game to modify game to provide greater experience for players who enjoy more the competitive side of the game + having ways to communicate people who lack engagement is a good way to gain more insights on how to improve the game. This can be a very simple “fake” chat box with “developer” asking thoughts on the game. If a player leaves input, it sends email to the developer and so we get more insights very easily.
What game developers often forget about?
Most developers trust too much on the strategy “Make the product first, and the customers will come”. To have a successful game, you really need to do an in-depth market research and understand your player’s behavior to find out how to solve their problem and meet the needs well.
Thanks so much for your time. SplitMetrics community will definitely find your interview very insightful and use your approach to driving their games sales.