I can recommend you thousands of links of mobile marketing companies and all of them will have some important information and interesting tips. But in fact it's not that hard. The most important way of discovery of games is searching the Play store.
First start by asking yourself a question:
How would I search for my game if I'd like to play it?So let's say you created a tower defense game with a fantasy theme. Obviously you are targeting tower defense games fans and people who like fantasy genre. So if I was searching for this game, I'd type: "Fantasy Tower Defense" or "Tower Defense Fantasy". And because people with Android phones prefer free games, I might also add "Free". Go ahead and do the search. Do you see any pattern?
Google Play Store DescriptionNotice that most of the games you have found have the word "defense", "tower", "fantasy" or "free" in the title. That helps a lot. The title of your game has a great weight in the search algorithm. It's great if you can come up with a cool name like "Story of the Dragon Kingdom". But hey, does it say that it is a tower defense game? So use those 30 characters properly and call your game "Dragon Kingdom Tower Defense".
Google Play store search looks into your description as well. Make sure you are using the right keywords in the description. Don't overdo it, in case people actually read through it as they will likely end up with a terrible aftertaste in mouth... But make sure it contains "Tower Defense", "Fantasy" and "Free" couple of times.
Don't forget to make the description appealing to people. It's good that you rank high in the search - potential players will check out your game. But the next step is to make them download the game! Use video and nice screenshots. Again, ask yourself: Would you rather see the gameplay first? Most people do!
Reviews and testimonials help too. If somebody said something quotable about your game and it includes a keyword or two, mention it. Links are automatically translated when you put them to description. Make use of it, too.
Translating the description to couple of other languages can help you as well. Especially in markets with high numbers of localized games.
And most important point: You must have a good game in the first place!
Improving the search rankLet's assume you already have a good game with a solid Google Play store description page and handful of awesome screenshots and a viral gameplay video. Bad news: there are plenty of other games which have that too.
Good news: There are still options how to improve the search rank!
The most obvious way is to increase the number of downloads and to get good reviews directly in the store. You should have already created a fan base for your game: friends, family and members of the game developer community. Most of the members of the community are willing to download, play test and rate&review your game if you do the same for them (not sure about your friends and family :)).
Search engines (Google... duh) use links to webpages to determine their rank among other factors. It's safe to assume that Google Play store does the same. So what you need is your Google Play store game linked on a couple of other (Android/mobile game specialized) pages who have high rank themselves. Getting reviewed is probably the best way, but don't forget to share the news about your game with the community!
One of the other factors is probably social media coverage. If somebody tweets or shares a link to your game, it most likely adds to your rank. The "authority" of that someone matters too. But how is that calculated is a mystery to me.
Getting on a featured listThere are couple of interesting featured app lists in the Google Play store that can help you promote your game. You have probably seen them already.
- Featured: new apps hand-picked by Google Play team.
- Staff Picks: rotating set of apps chosen by Google Play team.
- Top Free: most popular free apps of all time.
- Top New Free: most popular free apps less than 30 days old.
- Top Paid: most popular paid apps of all time.
- Top New Paid: most popular paid apps less than 30 days old.
- Top Grossing: apps and games generating the most revenue, including app purchases and in-app payments.
- Trending Apps: apps showing growth in installs in the last 24 hours.
- Editors' Choice Apps: Some of the best apps of all time available for Android, chosen by the Google Play team.
- Top Developer: Some of the best developers on Google Play, chosen by the Google Play team.
Pay special attention to the Top New lists. You have exactly 30 days since you made your game public to get as much attention as possible to get into these lists. Popularity is measured by number of installs, uninstalls and most likely the quality of reviews. Make sure your game is bug free, because bugs can seriously hamper your chance to get on the list.
Important thing that people tend to forget is that these lists are localized per country. You can use tools like App Annie to see your rating in other countries. Getting featured in one country can be enough to start the avalanche! Translating your game description and the game itself can help.
SummaryQuality game is necessary but not sufficient. Make sure your Google Play store details are appealing both to search engines and people. Content and form are important. Ask people to help you started with downloads and store reviews. Try to get reviewed with backlinks to your game. Make sure your game is bug free and enjoy your sleepless 30 days in the store!
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