As an indie app developer – the main focus is often building a great mobile game, but the ultimate goal of serious game developers and publishers is to build a game that is played, and generates enough revenue for continued development.
Investing to make a game better is hard if there is no ROI in sight.
Revenue comes from engaged users.
It takes time to optimize a game for engagement, but a great game solves the “engaged” part.
Wait – where do the users come from?
How do mobile apps get discovered?
The answer is “mostly from app store search“.
Which means the answer is also “marketing”.
Specifically app store optimization, the art and science of positioning an app for maximum exposure and conversion for relevant app store searches and installs.
But – most developers I know really just don’t like marketing.
It is more than “uninterested”.
The impression is that marketing represents a huge distraction from making a great game.
It’s confusing and can be expensive with uncertain ROI.
And maybe just feels a little inauthentic.
Marketing and selling are kinda gross
You are trying to convince people you don’t know to try your game.
Worse – you have to explain to them why it is so cool.
They should just “get it”…. and maybe they will….
But marketing is more than selling your mobile game.
They need to know it exists.
In fact – any mobile app marketing effort should start with positioning your game for discovery.
Discovery by people who may be actively searching for games just like yours.
Until the LTV (life time value) of a user exceeds the CPI (cost per install), investing in advertising can be an expensive way to acquire users.
But positioning your mobile game so that people searching the app store for your app, or apps like yours, find your app – means acquiring organic downloads from an ultra-relevant audience.
ASO starts to make sense as the essential marketing investment for an indie game.
“If you build it, they will not come” is the oft-repeated, but perfect way to capture this idea that permeates developer circles.
Build it, and help them find what you built.
And it should be part of every indie developer’s plan.
Check out our guide to ASO, and other help tips here.