We all share the cool things with our friends so that they can experience them too. That’s the very definition of word-of-mouth and here’s why it’s such a big deal in mobile game marketing, and some ways in which you can help create that buzz for your own game.
Why is word-of-mouth important?
Word-of-mouth marketing is powerful because people generally trust what their friends tell them. Just think about how often you’ve received a personal recommendation for an app, and then gone and downloaded it. Compare that to how likely you are to react to an ad for the same app.
There’s another advantage : word-of-mouth marketing can cost way less than the vast advertising budgets needed to make a splash on paid channels. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that word-of-mouth is “free” — it’ll still take time and effort to build up buzz around your game. But because it happens organically, it can potentially snowball into something huge for a comparatively little cost.
It’s all about emotions. So whether your game is frightening or addictive, triggering an emotional reaction is going to get players talking. Anything that stirs up strong feelings will be a hook to get players talking: winning a boss fight, nailing a hole-in-one, or even failing in a ridiculous way.
How to REALLY get people talking about your game
So, once your players are hooked, you’ve got to help those players take a step forward and tell their friends about it. The easier it is for them to share, the more likely they are to do it — so try and strip out as many roadblocks from the process as you can.
Here are some of the things that work really well:
- Make sharing seem natural — keep your players in the game. Let them see exactly what they’re about to share: Crossy Road shows a Polaroid-style preview of your tweet, and C.A.T.S. lets you see the GIF while you’re checking the post-match battle report.
- Customised that share text — be creative, engaging, fun and human. Look at what your players say when they share on Twitter or Facebook — maybe there are some examples there that you could use in the game itself?
- Choose your moment — don’t interrupt your players and choose a right time to ask them about sharing your game. For example, when your player has completed a match or set a new high-score. As an added bonus, their emotional reaction to that event will still be fresh in their minds, so they’re even more likely to share. Timing is everything.
If it’s not easy for players to share something, they probably won’t do it. So keep it in mind and make it really easy to share.
Reach the right people, not more people
Thanks to social media, making a recommendation is easier than ever. But just because Facebook and Twitter have made it faster and easier to spread buzz around your game, that doesn’t mean that they’re the best platform for it.
Messaging services are gold for generating a hype around the game. Personal messages that are ultra-targeted by the sender. If someone sends you a GIF of a game via iMessage or WhatsApp, that means they’ve specifically picked you as someone that they think will get the most out of it. It’s hard to think of a stronger recommendation than that!
If your game is great and gives your players cool moments, they will want to share them with others. You just need to help them do it.
That doesn’t mean you need to incentivise players to hit the share button with in-game items. Memorable, emotional gameplay moments, added to a seamless sharing experience, will result in players telling the world that they need to check out your game.