First time experience marketing an Android game

It's been a bit more than two weeks since I launched Manic Driller for Android using Godot Engine and here are some insights and data of what happened and what I learnt.

During the first two days, most of the downloads were coming from familiy and friends.

A total of 30 downloads. 😁

Nice! I also did some spam in Twitter, but without much success: another 2 downloads. 🙁

During these days I manage to get into top 110 in Top New Arcade games in the Google Play store.

On the next three days, because I didn't have more friends to bother, the downloads stopped and the game dropped from 110 to 212 position. It was looking bad...

Meanwhile, I fixed some bugs and added leaderboards because some users requested this feature.

At this point the game was already a failure, but I was surprise that some of my friends were keeping playing and sharing scores and records between them. That make my quite happy! 😇

5 days after the release

I completed the Google Play profile for the game adding a video trailer and better description. I should have done this from the beginning. My bad. 😞

The game was not having many downloads and it was still going down in positions. The organic downloads were not working.

I think organic downloads only works well when your game follows a trending (FnF forks, pregnancy and fat 2 fit runners seems to be the trending now) or if you have a huge community of followers that will download your game as soon as you announce in the social networks.

The second, will make your game to have a huge amount of downloads, positioning you quickly in the top of the lists, making your game more visible and therefore you will get more downloads.

This can trigger a snowball effect.

6th day

I decided to start advertisment my game using Google Ads.

Budget: $5/day

And... It works!!! 😵

I quickly start getting more than 100 downloads per day, making my game to climb from +200 to 130 position. I keep doing this for a few more days.

If I spent $5 a day and I get around 100 new users evey day, the average price of adquired user is $0.05. I'm not making that amount of money per user, so the ROI is broken and I'm loosing money, but it's worth to keep trying to get some conclusions.

Also, I started doing some more spam in reddit, and it worked well, even I got some feedback from users wich is always nice and very appreciated.

After 7 days running ads for my game, I got a total of 1000 downloads, but only half of them are keeping the game installed.

Because of this, the game's best top position in the Top New Arcade Games was somewhere close to 90.

Google Play not only cares about downloads, but also about players keeping the game installed.

And Manic Driller is doing terrible here...

This is because my game has a bad player engagement experience. Apart of beating your friends records in the leaderboard, nothing encourage you to keep playing every day. This is also affecting my ROI per user.

After I stopped the ads campaign, the game stopped getting new downloads and started to drop positions in the list, making more and more difficult to get any new downloads from organic traffic.

So, this can be considered the end of this game.


But... there are some few things that I learnt and will like to enumerate here:

  1. No ads, no downloads. In a massive competitive market (hundred of new games every day are launched) unless you have a big followers list or you manage to go viral, you have to buy ads to make your game succeed.
  2. Because you are buying ads, you have to think in the ROI per user. Try to keep the balance positive between money spend per adquired user and money gained per user.
  3. Users engagement is very important. Because it can boost or kill you in Google Play lists. Also, because keeping the users playing your game everyday is the best way to have a positive ROI per user.
  4. Before launch a game, have ready all the needed marketing stuff and Google Play profile completed. The launch window is very tight and you want to do the best in that short period of time.

Post mortem

Manic Driller is dying now, but it was a nice experiment and learning journey. At least, the game didn't take me too much time to create and release it, but I got a lot of experience in the process.

Sometimes you won't see things coming until you release your game.

This is why is important to release games!

Even if they are small or not very polished!

Now, I already started working on my next game (stay tuned!) and thanks to Manic Driller I can take better decisions and I'm pretty sure is going to do it better.

Thanks for reading!