3 Game Marketing Strategies To Earn More Players

by Justin Carroll

Buy Now, Download Now, Click Here

Does your mobile game marketing demand interest instead of earn it? I’m turning that on its head with 3 game marketing strategies to attract more players.

Mobile game marketing has traditionally been a one-way conversation where we’re basically demanding something of new and existing players.

Calls to action such as Download Now, Buy Now or Click Here increasingly fall on blind eyes.

The problem is, we’ve been demanding the interest of players, rather than earning it.

The mobile gaming industry is at its highest saturation, which also means the highest saturation in marketing and advertising efforts, especially as AAA publishers seek their share.

There’s little incentive for players to respond to marketing, and that means they seldom want to.

Advertising click-through rates (CTR) are dismal, and ad-blocking technology use is at an all-time high.

The hard, cold truth is players are turned off by traditional game marketing strategies.

3 Game Marketing Strategies We Can Improve Upon

When a mobile game developer or publisher sets out to market a game there’s usually the standard set of marketing projects they plan to execute such as an official website, social media, newsletter, display advertising and so on.

But the devil’s in the details.

Taking a closer look at some of these standard, and seemingly acceptable, game marketing strategies reveals a plan to demand the interest of users instead of earn it.

Here’s 3 examples where we could improve what we’ve traditionally done:

1. Display Advertising

This is by far the best, and so worst, example of demanding or trying to buy interest.

“Buy Now!”

It doesn’t get any clearer than that.

Imagine walking up to a stranger with a mobile phone and saying, “Buy my game, now!”

This is basically the same thing. And that’s why CTR is low and declining.

2. Social Media

“Follow us on Twitter!”

Our social feeds are noisy. Twitter alone boasts over 500 million new tweets each day.

What incentive are you giving players to follow you across a plethora of social networks?

More information?

But isn’t that typically the same information you give out through press releases, your blog and newsletter?

And aren’t your social networks just another place to push that information around the internet?

I’m convinced we can do better when asking players to follow or like us on social media.

3. Newsletter

When you scroll to the bottom of most official game websites you’ll find a very lonely, and relatively obscure input field and submit button.

Think about this for a second…

Given what we know about email marketing, a player’s email address is a prized piece of personal information.

If you’re going to ask for it, shouldn’t it be based on more than the promise of information they could likely get elsewhere?

New Rule: Always Give Before You Ask

We can improve upon these game marketing strategies by simply turning them on their head, or reversing them.

Instead of asking players to do something, we reverse it by offering them something first. And in some cases, we’ll even pay money to make that offer.

Once we start doing this, we open ourselves up to a whole new world of marketing opportunity.

Here’s 3 things we’ll gain by following this new rule of always giving before we ask:

1. Entertainment Value

Giving before asking provides us an opportunity to add entertainment value to our brand through game marketing strategies that aim to attract instead of chase.

Organic attraction, even virality, that’s what giving before asking can deliver us when executed correctly.

These are game marketing strategies players will talk about.

2. Community

Giving before asking starts a conversation. It’s no longer us saying, “Do this now.”

But rather, we’re saying, “I’d like to give you something. Feel free to say no, but… could I do that?”

I once heard someone say if you want friends, you have to be friendly.

And that’s exactly what we’re after, friends.

We’re building a community and we’re getting there with two-way conversations and reciprocating relationships.

3. Permission

And finally, giving before asking rewards us permission to ask something of players so long as it’s valuable to them.

This is the most sought after and coveted position to be in for marketing, when players anticipate everything you do and can’t get enough.

It’s what turns good companies into great ones.

3 Examples of How to Give Before You Ask

Now that we’ve established and are following this new rule, let’s apply it to the 3 aforementioned game marketing strategies to improve upon.

Our goal is to turn what we’ve always done on its head by offering entertainment value, building a community and reaping the benefits of permission.

1. Display Advertising: Free Content

Instead of demanding potential players Download Now, advertise to them something of value for free.

Let’s say your newest game is, at its core, a lot like the 80’s smash hit, Pac-Man. Except, yours is 3D with gorgeous graphics, visual effects, far more enemies and a super cool storyline.

A clever way to advertise your game would be to write an ultimate guide to beating Pac-Man. But its methods would also double as a strategy guide for beating your newest game.

FREE Guide: How To Beat Pac-Man. Beat the hit 80’s video game with 5 easy methods. Download Now!

The marketing strategy is to advertise free, valuable content with the goal of more downloads for your own game.

2. Social Media: Exclusivity

Instead of asking people to like or follow you on social media with little to no incentive, offer them the ability to be first.

Want never-before-seen screenshots of Star Wars: Uprising? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook where every Saturday you’ll get 3 new and exclusive screenshots!

The strategy is to use certain marketing channels to release new and exclusive media from your game.

Players shouldn’t be able to get it anywhere else, not on your website, not in the media and not in your newsletter.

This content is exclusively for your audience on social media.

3. Newsletter: Entertainment Value

If players want to get news and updates about your game they’ve countless places to get it.

Offering players something they could probably find elsewhere isn’t a valuable exchange for something they’re highly protective of, their email address.

Instead, give new and existing subscribers something of immense entertainment value such as a PDF comic book, an extended trailer or some creative spin-off of your game’s experience.

Subscribe to our newsletter for an exclusive Limbo comic book that reveals the game’s mysterious origin story!

Again, a comic book might not fit your game, but the strategy is to create a piece of content that acts as a counterpart to your game and invokes its experience with the goal of significantly more newsletter subscriptions.

If they’re on your website they like your games, and if they like your games they’ll love a free, exclusive spin-off.


These ideas hit all the beats for giving before asking.

You’re offering something of entertainment value to players. And if they accept your offer they give you permission to ask for something in return.

Your ultimate reward is a community of players who anticipate everything you do, something traditional game marketing strategies and paid advertising will never provide.

It’s a win-win for everyone, a valuable relationship for both retailer and consumer and a great long-term strategy for selling more games!