My experience with social media for video game marketing
Submitted by Duion on
I still remember all those people telling me things like "Dude you need to use social media for marketing etc it is so great and will do so much" and similar things, so I looked into it and used some methods of course and this will be a little breakdown of the results.
So these are the things I tried:
For trailers of things I'm working on and sometimes work in progress videos. Some videos even got a few thousands of views, others a few hundred, it sounds much, but the real effects from that were hardly noticeable. This becomes more clear, when you consider an average conversion rate of 2%, where 1000 views will just mean 20 people will click on your links and from those only a small percentage will download. This still sounds moderately good having a few hundred or thousands of views, but considering that almost all of those views were generated by me or others linking to it or embedding it, it makes the usefulness of the platform itself very questionable, since why you need a social media video platform, if all the views it generates you were generated by yourself? You could just host it yourself then. Of course there were some organicly generated views, but it was only 10% or less of the total views. So I'm not doing youtube anymore.
There were quite many youtubers doing videos about Uebergame, which is good, but the bad part is, that they had no significant subscriber base, on average maybe 20-100, one even had a few thousand, but as described above, even that is almost nothing, if you consider an average conversion rate. This is just on a sidenote, since me being on that platform had nothing to do with others making content about me, so I have no influence over that.
That seemed to be the platform everyone is at and it is big, so I thought thats the way to go. You post updates of your game there, articles, screenshots and videos as well and then supposedly it will generate some attention, but in reality it does not. The platform overall is pretty dead, it looks very active, but very few people are actually actively using it. Posting new media like a screenshot or video, will give you around 50 views and an article may give you hundreds or thousands if it gets promoted to the front page, which rarely happens and if so, it is very short. Considering the average 2% conversion rate again, this is still almost nothing. I'm still having it, but I'm considering quitting it, since it is one more place I have to upload and write stuff for, with hardly noticeable result.
A "friend" suggested this to me and posted something for me, but the result was absolutely nothing, since he was not very popular as well, so that platform is useless as well unless the person already has a lot of followers and gaining followers you can also do on your own. So totally useless for me.
Later I saw many people promoting their stuff on reddit and it looked to work well for them, so I tried it as well. The problem was just, that self promotion is not allowed or not welcome on most subreddits, which I only found out later after some moderator deleted my stuff. To me it seemed pretty hypocritical, since I looked what people were doing and almost every post was people self promoting their stuff, so I thought it was fine for me to do as well, sadly I did not know about their hypocritical double standards. The hypocrisy becomes even bigger, when you consider, that I advertise a 100% free product, while most others advertise commercial stuff. I saw others very succesfully cheating the system, using fake accounts and vote manipulation and all that stuff, but I did not want to go that route and prefered to keep my moral integrity instead. Overall there is a lot of censorship and manipulation going on, so as an outsider and acting legit, it is almost impossible to gain anything there, so I quit that as well.
Various open source community websites:
This seemed to be the primary place to me where I should advertise and gain attention, but damn I was the most wrong on that. On some pages I posted myself, on some others posted about me, thats how I found out about those websites. The result overall was, that all those websites have almost no visitors, so I could not notice anything from those platforms at all. Not only did I gain seemingly nothing for my efforts, I was also banned from the "biggest" open-source-"game developers"-community, which is also pretty hypocritical by them, since I'm one of their biggest contributors, if not the biggest contributor, but hypocrites do not seem to care about logic, reason or reality. Overall it is not that bad that they boycott me, since they have no visitors, they just have maybe 20 active people and since they hate me, I have nothing to lose from not being on there or not being promoted there. I'm still on some pages, just in case someone searches for open source game projects and discovers me, since if they do so, they are more likely to be a valuable contributor, but for gaining users it is pretty much useless it seems.
Similar to the open source communities, this seemed to be the way to go for me, since Linux and open source are quite related and open source often go hand in hand. Those have the same problems as the open source communities and that is, they have almost no users, which becomes a bit obvious, if you consider Linux having a market share in the gaming sector below 1%. There were some articles about me on a big Linux site, but I did not notice much visitors from there.
I added my game to a list of open source video games, thats all I can do, since I think you are not allowed to write articles about yourself or your products there. It is not good for promotion, but it seems to be better than all other methods above, since I really get some clicks from there now and then, which is far better than all the other platforms, which quickly go down to zero clicks after a short period of time an update is posted there and this even though Wikipedia is not really a social media and not really a platform for promotion.
Some people are spamming all kinds of forums with their stuff, but I looked through them and they either have low number of readers or if they have they often do not allow self promotion or do not welcome people who are not taking part in the community and just want to use it for promotion. Another thing that happens to me a lot is that I get censored or banned, so forums are not a good option as well except the Torque developer forum, but that one is not good for gaining new customers as well, since it is just for developers.
Social media is useless for marketing, if you are not having a big following already or people with a big following promoting you. You will just waste your time and energy on that, just for that platform to screw with you and eventually censoring and deleting you. You can have accounts there as an outlet, but you should never let it be your main promotion platform, since if they delete your account, everything is gone, but if you use it, to draw customers to your platform, you keep them. Even for using it to draw customers to you it is still quite bad, since if you can draw the customers directly, it will be much better for you. Very big companies for example do not care that much about being on other platforms, they just create their own, since why should they allow the competition to screw with them and have control over their user base. The problem is, if you are small you are very dependend on being on bigger platforms to gain any attention at all, so you are kind of forced to do a very bad deal. Later I found out how successful people do marketing on social media and that is by bribing big influencers on social media to do promotion for them, which in most cases involves money, which I cannot afford, since I offer a free product. Steam gave me more customers than any other platform combined times 10, but even there things have changed drastically, since exponentially more games get released every year, leaving you with hardly any exposure, especially since algorithms have changed as well so that they are only promoting the big games.
So I'm very close to considering that social media may be totally useless, at least for me, since it seems to be made for the manipulation of people and the market and this is only possible if you have the money to do so, or people who already have influence to promote you and both cases most likely do not apply to me.
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