How to market your gaming app

Here's how small gaming development companies can best go about marketing their new or existing game app

Here’s how small gaming development companies can best go about marketing their new or existing gaming app

The gaming industry has been growing in competition over the years, with millions of game apps present on marketplaces such as the App Store and Google Play Store in the mobile realm, along with Origin and Steam for PC gamers. The variety of genres and gameplay styles continues to evolve, with technologies such as cloud, blockchain and virtual reality (VR) entering the space in recent times. Globally, the mobile games market is projected to reach a value totalling $221.7bn by 2027.

Video games remain a go-to for gamers across all ages, beyond those under 18 — it’s reported, in fact that those between the ages of 18 and 34 make up the largest proportion of gamers across the US (36 per cent), while under 18s make up 24 per cent, and 35-44 year olds represent 13 per cent. This makes it vital for marketing of game apps to cater its marketing accordingly, for no one approach will fit all.

But where to start; what challenges need to be considered and overcome; and how can gaming companies use their marketing strategy to get ahead of the competition? In this article, we explore how to market your gaming app.

>See also: How to write a marketing plan

Challenges to overcome

“Marketing a gaming app is a challenging task, and small business owners need to carefully consider their approach in order to avoid wasting money on ineffective strategies,” said Beatriz Repiso, owner and CEO of Otternative Marketing.

Below are the biggest challenges for gaming app developers to watch out for:


The first port of call for any small business when it comes to marketing is the budget at your disposal. This can also prove the first hurdle to leap over when marketing a game app, with resources often being limited and needing to balanced with other operations, such as employee management and production.

Trend analysis

Keeping up with trends in the quickly evolving gaming industry, staying in tune with customer needs and monetising accordingly can also be easier said than done, but is paramount for marketing success. Marketing staff must always look to optimise their strategies in line with such change. In the monetisation planning stage, whether for free or paid apps, companies should examine their options — whether they be in-app purchases, subscriptions, or advertising — and determine which ones are the most appropriate for their market.

Data management

Additionally, game developers often run into concerns around data privacy, with apps in the space on the whole becoming larger, utilising user data at an exponential rate. According to research conducted by marketing tech company Bango, over half of gaming developers claim it has “never been more difficult” to acquire new paying users for their apps, due to public pressure over data privacy along with the sunset of IDFA and cookies.

“[The finding] is a big problem for the digital economy. We’ve been calling it ‘the App-ocalypse’,” said Bango co-founder and CMO, Anil Malhotra.

“For businesses relying on revenue from mobile gaming apps, user acquisition is the name of the game, as it’s an economy that relies entirely on downloads and active users. So anything that impedes the sales funnel seriously disrupts the bottom line.”

This area of operations calls for an equally strong focus on compliance and protection over assets, to respond to an evolving regulatory landscape.

The steps to take

Once your organisation has agreed on the budget for marketing your gaming app, it’s then time to establish an actionable marketing plan with specific; measurable; achievable; relevant; and time-bound (SMART) objectives throughout.

Repiso explained: “These should align with the overall goals of the business. Examples can include increasing app downloads, improving user engagement, or generating revenue.”

Planning promotional content

From the start, companies need to plan the types of content to create and share for promotion of the game, including blogs, videos, and social media posts. Deep market research is needed to gauge how the competition is marketing their games, allowing you to find ways to differentiate. You should also consider the media and platforms that your target audience is most likely to use, and adapt the approach accordingly.

As well as general use platforms like Facebook, Twitter and TikTok, specific gaming communities to market your game app to can be found on sites such as Discord and Reddit.

Source: App Masters, via YouTube

User acquisition

No successful marketing strategy in the gaming space, or any sector for that matter, is complete without user acquisition — the aforementioned “name of the game” cited by Malhotra. Reaching new users within your target demographics can be achieved through:

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO): As businesses across all sectors have increased their online presence over the past few years, SEO has ascended up the marketing agenda as a vital tool to help stand out from the crowd. Using competitive and relevant keywords, and utilising link building can help with this area.
  • Paid advertising: Enlisting the services of social media platforms and game websites to display banner ads among other assets proves a common and effective way to get your name out to a wider audience.
  • Social media influencers: Also a viable method is user acquisition through the presence of influencers on sites such as Instagram and YouTube. Often a go-to in the latter stages before going to market, game companies can partner with content creators to promote the game through their channels. For example, promo codes are often used as a vehicle for discounted copies of game apps.

Analysis of performance

Once word starts getting out about the game, marketing staff should consistently gauge the amount of views that each method of advertising is achieving. This can be done through social media marketing tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite, as well as analytical tools like Google Analytics.

According to Repiso, game app developers should also “engage with users and gather feedback; understand what users like and dislike about the app, and make improvements as needed.”

By no means does marketing of game apps end with the release — marketers should always be adjusting their strategies where necessary, in line with the evolution of industry trends and user behaviours.

Source: Mental Checkpoint, via YouTube

Disrupting the competitive gaming space

Whether it’s your first product, or you’re promoting a sequel or an entirely new game, breaking through the noise can be a fearful prospect with much uncertainty. But by following these steps and overcoming common challenges on your marketing journey, you can successfully market your gaming app to a new or established audience and stay responsive to demand.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is a senior reporter for Information Age, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.