What is Marketing

Hey guys. For the last year or two I’ve been considering paying for advertising, which is something I’ve never done before, but it seems like a way to keep sales up in the years that I’m not publishing anything new. (And it also helps with accounting shenanigans, as I could reduce my tax bill by investing in future sales, blah blah)

But the more I think about it the more challenging it seems.

First of all, for it to pay off, you’d need to have a fairly high revenue per user, which is why I guess you see it the most with micro-transaction-plagued mobile games, and big AAA games. But I’ve also seen it with some medium-sized indie games, who presumably have publishers who know what they’re doing – and I don’t. I’d have to learn quite a bit to figure out how to measure if the advertising was worthwhile or not.

Secondly, I haven’t really felt the need for it other than curiosity. The store algorithms on Steam and Google Play do most of the user acquisition work for me, and I’m paying them a share of the profits regardless of whether they find the new users or if I do. So it seems like a poor deal to pay to send users to one of these platforms. On Google Play for example, I reckon less than 10% of the 500k EBF5 downloads are from my social media efforts, and the rest are from Google Play randomly showing the game to people. (my characters being recognisable definitely helps a lot, but that’s really hard to measure)

Thirdly, I just really hate the idea of giving more money to awful, monopolising companies like Google and Facebook.

I guess a lot of those problems also apply to paying “influencers” like gaming livestreamers. I don’t regularly watch any and my games don’t seem like the flashiest to show off in that form, so I don’t know if it’s a good fit. Plus it’s always a joy to see people streaming my games just because they want to, and it would feel weird to pay others to do it.

So now I’m thinking, what if I commission really popular artists to do art of my characters, and give my games a little shout-out on social media? It seems less dirty than more direct marketing – I support a micro business and get some cool art out of it. I don’t see a lot of examples of this sort of thing though, so I guess I’d have to try it to see if it works. It also feels weird to pay someone for art when my games already get tons of fanart organically.

I guess the most elegant solution would be for me to be the influencer, but I’m just not cool enough. All of my clout has always just come from my games doing well on gaming platforms, due to good reviews and recognizable characters. And I guess that’s fine too.

So the conclusion is that I may just end up doing nothing with any of this. But maybe I’ll commission a few art pieces to see if any traffic comes from that. Thoughts?

10 thoughts on “What is Marketing

  1. Loockiller

    Hey there, i play this game since the 3rd one. I really like your games, and how many possibilitys there are in.
    So i guess since you dont have that flashy wow boom stuff in your game to shine, and the grafics and effects arent especially that catchy for an ad. I really suggest too that the advertisement is better spent on influencers that play games and share it. I saw some videos that were like: i play a game you guys hardly know that they exist and damn i wanted to play it myself, although they share the problem. The graphic isnt very invitive at first and not that flashy but the mechanics are lit.
    Dont get me wrong! I love you artstyle! And i love how everything is, really! It fits into that game like a glove!
    But for a quick 20-30 seconds ad i would rely more on streamers and such. Bc they do have a trusted viewer base and can make more of that mechanic part. Thats where your game shines in my opinion. I watched 2 challenge videos of ebf5 (only throw items and pokemon challenge) i was fascinated man.
    Regular ads are now based more on stuff that triggers the target audience and lie on them with the content.
    Your game is really a little treasure chest that shines each time you open it again a bit more!
    And that is what you need to advertise in my opinion.
    Its a oldschool roundbased rpg that contains almost everything what you can think of. It can be played relaxed or challenged with every encounter! Puzzles, quests, humor ect.

  2. David Zhang


    Some feedback.
    -I’m not sure where you are going with the art comissions. Feels like it’s counter-intuitive marketing because when folks realize that the art-style of the game is not the same art-style as the comissioned art, but they came because the art comissioned looked promising, they’re going to leave very early because they think it’s a scam. Trust me, I’ve been there before.
    -Marketing cost a lot of money because it takes an insane amount of effort to manipulate influencer’s decisions, especially if influencers know that their decisions affect their entire base. If you are unwilling to pay someone to put in the work, or unwilling to put in the work yourself, don’t invest in marketing. It’s just going to lose.
    -On the other hand, if you have a lot of energy to spend on marketing, or money, you need to set aside half that energy on a new game format. Think PvP, Arena-based touraments where players fight and collect EBF monsters, form teams with said monsters, upgrade their monsters with skill points and global currency, and participate with said teams in events for big awards. If this sounds similar, it’s Raid Shadow Legends. Just make a game like that, and trust me, you’ll never have to see bad numbers. You already got the fight style. It’s really just a matter of what you want to do. The PvP aspect and the long grinds to earn rewards keep players in the game.

  3. AssassinSpy

    Hmm, maybe sending a copy of your game to SsethTzeentach (the “hey hey people, Seth here” guy) could work? he’s pretty famous for making quite obscure indie titles popular, and this game seems like it’d be up his alley.

  4. Sean McCarty

    Have you heard of a YouTuber called Pirate Software? He gives some good advice on when marketing is and isn’t viable for your game. Check him out.

  5. Someone who has played the series for over a decade

    I’ve told pretty much everyone in my gaming circle about the EBF-series. (Really, I have ^^)
    Does that count as advertising? *Holds out a large bag marked with $$$*

    Quote: “my characters being recognisable definitely helps a lot…”
    Have you considered printing out fliers of Nolegs to hang everywhere? “Have you seen this cat? If not, you can find him in EBF.” πŸ˜‰
    I’m sure that’ll draw in more people. He’s such a cutie. ^^

    I remember back when EBF3 released on Newgrounds…. It held the top spot on “Best of all time” for quite some time, before eventually dropping down the list.
    Imagine the coverage you’d get if all the >3m people who played it up ’til now told just one other person about the series…..

    Other than such witty comments, I can’t say I’ve got anything too worthwhile to say.
    At the very least, I hope I gave you a quick smile. ^^

    Happy New Year
    Let it be one filled with fantasies of battles deemed epic.

    1. NR

      yes , if you tell your friends about the game counts as a form of advertising , and you idea of the “have you seen this cat?” sounds great!!

  6. Anonymous

    From my experience influencers make the best marketing. If your game gets picked by some big streamer/youtuber like Splattercat or Pewdiepie, you are sure to get high sales (as a one-off thing, then it depends on how much the new players like the game). The way it works is that you e-mail a bunch of streamers providing a free key and hope someone gets interested in making a video. Youtubers make money from creating content, so you don’t really need to pay to get featured; it comes down to how much views your game can generate for them (and that depends, among other things, on what kind of games said streamer usually streams). AFAIK one thing that helps getting noticed is having a good press kit.
    You can also go viral on social media, which is also a boost for popularity.

    Personally I don’t really follow any artist, so I can’t comment on that solution. When looking for artworks I just browse image boards, and some games do pick my interest if they are very popular (because I see it everywhere + it might have interesting designs). But “very popular” applies pretty exclusively to gacha games.

  7. hamza

    I think the only problem with ebf and why its not a huge game is the marketing tbh , I genuinely think ebf5 is the best turn based game ever made and its not even close and I think anyone who like turn based combat will love it so I hope you can figure out how to market it because its really tricky , I think paying streamers and content creators to play it is going to be a bad idea but the art commission might work , BUT I think just a art piece of the cast would be lame I think the best thing you could do is make a small comic (as in a one page joke comic) that shows the characters personality , because when I think of the ebf cast I think about their personality not that much about design although their design is great and memorable

  8. NR

    well, i think your points are great but we can expand it(? let me explain:

    we need to know to what kind of people we are directing , its not like we can offer the same thing to everyone cause there is always gonna be someone who dosnt like it. for example its possible to segment the market in demographic ( gender, income, age, etc) psychographic(life style, personality) conductual(frequency of use,loyalty)

    i recommend to make a poll to knoww more about the fanbase ,after the info is complete the advertising is becomes efficient . so acording to the target market is possibly to continue on making the advertising and what ways of that will we more helpfull.

    hope that helps πŸ˜€


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