In the old days, back when people watched television and had to sit through countless laundry commercials on the horrors of static cling and “ring around the collar”…
Well, that’s the point. Back then, there were television commercials to promote all manner of products. The more visibility the product got, for the most part, the better it sold in the stores.
But that was then and this is now. Or is it? No. Times may change, but most things remain the same. The more visibility you get for your product, the better it will perform. The one BIG difference is that back then, producing and running television commercials involved a good chunk of change – a chunk of change that most app developers do not have… and should not be spending on television commercials.
Today, we have all manner of cheap cams, free video editing and screen capture software, and sites to place them on, like YouTube. There’s even free special effects with the likes of Looksery and voice modification.
I’ve even been able to produce a few amateur test videos, and while not bad, nothing worth showing off – but with free resources and a nominal investment in time. That is to say that anyone seriously interested in producing a video could have something nice for show with a few weeks of effort. Or, you may already have friends able to assist you – no expensive, professional video shoot or studio required.
That is to say with virtually no money you can produce a video and get it distributed “for free” to anyone and everyone willing to show it. Odds are that this will not generate a lot of traffic or downloads for your app, but it could. Under a completely free, bootstrapped scenario, it will be a matter of a focused effort or the chance it goes viral – but fundamentally, you will be relying upon someone with viral capacity to make that happen.
Hundreds, possibly thousands, of players have channels on YouTube where they feature reviews, walkthroughs, tutorials, explain game mechanics, feature game play, show-off different “builds”, so on and so forth. Some of these players have thousands of channel subscribers; some of their videos have hundreds of thousands of likes. Nothing precludes you from contacting these video-savvy players to give your app a review or some playtime – if you are confident that your app has merit.
This approach can be taken several steps further to include hiring a player to play and produce videos. That would not be too different from how things used to be. Being open about the video being a paid production or that the player is being paid to show the game play is important for transparency. Reviews should be impartial, and usually are if they are free, but paid reviews must carry a disclaimer.
While anyone could produce a video, obviously high-profile gamers, game reviewers, or even “celebrities” will prove more effective. Most major brand names have been doing exactly this in one form or another for as long as anyone can remember. Point is that anyone who endorses your product, even on a paid basis, most likely considers your product worthy enough to not be detrimental to their reputation and future earnings potential. It’s about as simple as that. Endorsements carry a lot of weight.
For as much interest as there is in games, there is as much interest in “What is the Best …. ?” and “What are the Top 10 …. ?” There are countless versions of these types of videos spanning most game genres on YouTube and other video hosting services. People listen to what others recommend:
In short, that’s lots of extra free advertising to boost your apps – going from a very broad perspective to very niche specific – sometimes on a monthly basis.
Coupled with this is the additional need to promote your videos via your web site, in-app messaging, emails and newsletters. Videos presenting new features, demonstrating interesting or complex game mechanics, superior plays and “funny stuff” is a great way to get inactive or infrequent players to come back and play your game some more.