Virtually every indie developer knows basic marketing techniques like app store optimization, paid acquisition and media outreach. However, it should not come as a surprise that most have no idea about the concept of ‘targeted game audience’; neither do they have a clue as to how to discover this information.
For a long time now, AAA game studios have invested enormous amounts of money in market research and studies to obtain valuable insights into trends and user interests.
Top AAA game studios don’t have exclusive rights to this information, but as an indie developer with little or no cash to fund such expensive studies, there are alternative easier ways to identify your true game audience.
Why Should Forecasting Your Game Audience Matter?
If you’re wondering why you should spend time searching for your game’s ideal audience, this advice will be quite interesting.
Marketing a mobile game is a time-consuming and stressful process, irrespective of how simple or complex that game seems to be. App store optimization, press releases, pitching influencers, building communities, participating in developer forums and maybe a little bit of paid marketing are all simple processes, right? Wrong. It’s a lot of work!
If you make the unwise assumption that a whole lot of people will love your game – simply because you love it – and you chuck all of your marketing efforts into people like you, your game will very likely end up performing poorly as a result of what I call ‘awfully wrong targeting’.
So, be careful of your guesses and projections when it comes to game marketing. Never assume. Even well-informed guesses should have some data to back it up. With so many open, free-access platforms , you must heavily research your marketing to laser-target a specific audience.
How to Forecast Your Game Audience
Look for statistics like demographics, interests and overall personality traits. Look at what they like, which activities they spend most of their time doing and what Facebook pages they like.
Getting hold of this information is easy with advertising and analysis tools, which are built with the very goal of reaching the right users at the right time. You don’t even have to spend any money to do some quick data research.
But before using these tools, plan out your research. Start by writing down your game’s top competitors. Why? Because they probably have the same audience as you. Choose 3 or 5, based on how much time you want to spend on your research, and then use them to validate educated guesses about your game audience. Find their website URLs and dig deep into their data.
Here are four tools you can use to uncover this information.
SimilarWeb is a simple web analytics tool that offers basic insight into where most of a website’s traffic is coming from. You don’t exactly get drilled-down user demographics here, but you do get quality information like where most traffic comes from, as well as the percentage of organic, social, direct and referral traffic. Just enter any of your competitor’s domain names here, and you can plan a similar strategy for traffic as your competitors.
2. Google Display Planner
Sign up for a free Google Adwords account to gain access to multiple important tools like Google’s keyword planner, display planner and so on. In this context – indie game marketing – we’re only interested in the Display Planner option since we want immediate access to our top competitors’ demographics.
Enter the same competitor’s website url into the ‘Your landing page’ section. Select country to identify from where the most traffic. The results will immediately pop-up deep insights of your competitor’s (and potentially, your) target audience, with information ranging from age, gender, devices they use and their keywords or topics of interest.
To maximize your benefits from this tool, try to identify the demographic information that your top 3 game competitors have in common. By leveraging this information, you can take the average data or choose any particular game’s data for targeting your own game.
3. Facebook Audience Insights
Create a free ad manager/ business account on Facebook and then head over to Audience Insights. Here, instead of URL, you have to enter keywords like ‘candy crush saga’, to narrow down the audience. Try to find the biggest game in your genre, as unpopular games in your niche – such as Arizona Sunshine in VR games – will not have a big following, which means that Facebook might not have a lot of data.
Similar to Google, Facebook Insights give a lot of demographic statistics, such as interests and pages your audience likes. You can even use this data to plan an advertising campaign for your game on a small or big scale.
4. App Annie
App Annie is a pretty straightforward tool, but only for mobile specific market research. With a free account you’ll see every top keyword your competitor is ranki ng for in marketplaces like Google Play or iOS store, as well as where they’ve been featured. It also shows you historic data and rankings, which you can use to plan your own content or ASO strategy.
These are some simple tools you can use to predict your ideal game audience, and validate intelligent guesses about your audience, in less than day. It’s a fantastic way to achieve significantly better results from your game marketing.