Launching a game app in a saturated market can be difficult, given that the mobile app ecosystem is more competitive than ever. You would be one of the 100,000+ game developers putting out their new games in Google Play Store monthly, or perhaps one in 30,000+ new app developers in the Apple App store. It’s never easy to get noticed amongst the sea of games; that’s why you have to make sure your game lands where it should be, with the right tactics and weapons at your disposal.
So let’s dive into what you can do to increase your chances of having a great launch for your mobile gaming app!
Number 1: Make your Marketing Strat Game Strong
Marketing within app stores is only but the first step in securing your app’s first downloads, which is one of the most crucial moments for your game. You want to capitalize on your first few weeks in the App Store, the appeal of a new game already giving you advantage and the attention needed for potential new players. It’s vital that you think of the bigger picture: building awareness around your gaming app and brand. This means using other marketing channels including a personalized website, curated social media channels, good press and influencer marketing in addition to the app store optimization (ASO). This is why you should build an effective strategy that combines each aspect of the marketing space to cover as much ground to generate the hype when your game drops on the store.
In-depth market and competitor research is just as important as your marketing strats with your game launch. This can be done easily with ASO tools that provide data about app downloads and keyword rankings for relevant competitor apps. Good research sets the basis for a good app store launch.
Using ASO tools specific for game distribution like slab, you can gather information and insights about the strats your competitors are using, the keywords you can use or perhaps avoid to build your own niche, and be able to look into the most important features and USPs, winning screenshot layouts, the best CTA text for screenshots, the most important keywords and user feedback. This may very well give you the edge you need to land your games in the high ranks of the app store.
Number 2: Choose your battles wisely: The Right App Store for your game app
The most known app stores are Google Play Store (Android) and the Apple App Store (iOS) as they are the two largest distribution channels for mobile apps. Together the Google Play Store and Apple App Store list millions of apps that get global reach to over 100 countries! You can learn more about the key differences about the stores in our Beginner’s Guide to ASO.
It’s a known practice to launch your gaming app in both stores, not only to ensure you have access to the largest number of potential users as possible, but to make sure you don’t lose out on the impact of social media and word of mouth. Given that the apps work on different operating systems, it’s a gamble to focus on one market of mobile phones as you’d lose out on another market by sticking to one. HOWEVER, it is important to note that the Google Play Store’s biggest category is Gaming compared to the Apple App Store, so the choice on maximizing your launch to an app store that specializes on games is something to consider for your strats. We’ll talk about this more in the next section!
Key advantages of Google Play Store and Apple App Store
The Google Play Store has an easy approval process, compared to the Apple App Store. It takes a few hours to go live after submitting your app to Google, as long as you’ve completed the process according to their guidelines. In the App Store, however, 40% of apps are rejected during their first submission. Apple tests and analyzes for any bugs, broken links, false screenshots, repeated submission of similar apps, placeholder content. If you believe you have a polished game that can go through the screening process of the Apple Store, then you can move forward with the launch on the Apple store.
Google Store is a go-to for most game developers given the ease of testing the creative elements, the text and visuals. It allows for gaming app to be more easily localized as you can work through filtering creatives that are effective for a certain region and those that aren’t. However, the App Store recently added a TestFlight feature that allows developers and publishers to invite users to test your games and collect valuable feedback before releasing your apps on the App Store. They’re catching up on the testing aspect of app developments, as Apple users tend to spend more on apps than Android users do. This means the Apple App Store has a higher probability of providing you with better user monetization.
Prep your app store listing
Once you’ve decided where to publish your app, you need to make sure that it will also be found and downloaded in the app stores. As discussed on the first part, your marketing strat’s got to revolve around creating awareness for your game and its branding!
You know what’s just as important as your marketing strats? Having a great landing page inside the app stores! All your efforts will be towards directing your potential users towards your game. The way you describe your app and the visual creative elements you use are the ultimate key to converting all those store views to actual downloads.
Your store listing will also directly impact your ranking in app store searches. Using keywords that match with the search terms that your target players are actually using will help you show up at the top of the search results. For a successful launch of your game in the app store, you will need to determine the relevant search terms for your app as early as possible. This should be based on keyword research, competitor analysis, and the terms that are most relevant to what your app actually offers.
For your creative elements in the app store listing, here are some quick tips to help with your game launch!
- Create app creatives that actually show how your game mechanics and functions work—players want to see if your game is intriguing enough from a gameplay perspective to actually spend their phone space to download!
- Demonstrate the key message in the first screenshot. Give your game a great selling point! Why should gamers play your game? Will the story, the easy play style, draw people in the game?
- Consider the differences between the App Store and Google Play Store – like autoplay of video, the number of screenshots allowed and overall different user behavior patterns;
- Localize your graphics;
- Consider using app store videos that show a real user experience;
- Test your app store launch!
We highly recommend testing your app’s usability and app store presence before making it available for download. Testing significantly increases the likelihood of a successful app launch. There are two main ways to do this:
Invite-only beta launch: You can offer an invite-only beta version of your game app to a select group of users in order to gather early feedback and fix bugs before opening up for everybody. It’s also a great way to reward a group of early adopters by giving them exclusive access and can be used to gather early reviews and ratings.
Soft launch: A soft launch means releasing your mobile game app in selected countries. The goal is to get insights on your app metrics and to test your marketing strategies, functionality, and app store presence before releasing globally. Does your app show up for keywords you want it to? Do the creatives look as eye-catching as planned?
Number 3: Choose your weapon! ASO tools for your game app launch
Working with app store marketing tools is a critical part of preparing for your launch, helping you to do market research and to find and track your keywords. Without doing proper competitor and keyword research inside the app stores, you’re guessing at what’s effective and potentially missing out on opportunities for a better start.
We’ve discussed the benefits of ASO in our guide, now imagine being able to optimize your gaming app in the app store without having to go through all the manual labor of looking up the keywords, the competitor analysis, adjusting the visual and text elements, and predicting the next keywords for updates through observed data in the market. AI-powered ASO tools like slab can do just that, removing the time you would spend to work on the app stores and simply letting you work on better improving your gaming app and work on other future games while the marketing is done for you!
Remembering these 3 things is a sure-fire way to get your game app to successfully launch in the app stores. We wish you a happy lift off and to see you sign up for a hassle-free ASO strat today with us!