How to promote small videogames?
Many game developers of small mobile videogames struggle these days with this question - How to promote my game? Even tough the answer might not be obvious, there are several ways of promoting your own game.
Deciding when to promote
Very important part of successfull marketing is correctly deciding when to promote your awesome game. This might sound difficult bit, in fact, it is really easy. In all cases you have to start advertising as soon as possible - meaning as soon as you have something to advertise with and players or publishers can clearly see what does your game offer and how will your game look like in its final form. This could be indicated by trailer possibility - if you can't even make sensible teaser or trailer, it is too soon to promote. So if you feel like you can already make trailer for your game, mashing all important information about your game into it, do it! Do not hesitate since time is off the essence.
Choosing the right platform
First thing that comes into everyones mind is social media. This however is very difficult way if you are starting from scratch and you would also have to spend a lot of money in order to get big enough audience on your page. The same applies if you wanted to create YouTube channel for your game. However, on social media like Facebook you can find many groups of gamers where you could try to advertise your game with some success. It is always advisable to search for these groups and letting them know about your game in the first place.
We could say the most important social media for advertising your game is Twitter. Especially if you are making your game in Unity, because if you make a good interesting post about your unity game with hashtag #madewithunity or tag Unity @Unity3d, chances are, that they will retweet your post among their 316k followers, as they often do. That is a huge advertisement and if you achieve this you are good to go. Overall you should take advantage of the power of hashtags on Twitter and the best thing you can achieve is people writing about your game and using your own hashtag. Quite a great advantage in this have the "io" games since their name is also link to play the game, which is brilliant idea and it works flawlessly.
There are more possibilities of promoting however - reaching youtubers or journalists. The best case scenario is that you know somebody from youtube or videogame journalist industry. If you don't, no problem - everybody has a contact form on their sites and you can only gain by trying to write them all about your game. Even a small youtuber playing your game is a huge promotion and the same applies for article on a game related site. Downside of this might be, that journalists would be only interested in really high quality and original pieces. The same goes for Steam early access releases, now that only quality games are allowed to be released. The difficulity of promoting for free is the reason why very small android games (meaning <75Mb) developers can consider themselves lucky, since they can fit really well also on web. You can release the game or its demo version for free on many websites with a link attached for your full android version.
Advantages of web distribution
Great example of this are web platforms allowing easy game distribution such as GameArter.com. This is obviously the best solution if you don't yet have a lot of fans, since you don't have to spend weeks or even years gathering audience on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Your game reaches players instantly and hundreds of thousands will see it everyday and if they like the name/idea/pictures, they will play it. This means that with very small time investment, you can reach a lot of potential players also for your mobile game.
Earn money while getting attention
Releasing games on web can also be very profitable if your game draws enough attention. Just like on Google Play or App Store, you get rewards based on displayed ads in (or around) your game which, in combination with Google Play release can bring you nice income. That is not the only way you can earn money with your game on web however. Great plus of releasing game with GameArter.com is that you can implement GRT token support for your game (kind of optimized IAP for web games) or you don't even have to create a currency for your game and let GameArter implement GRT token as the only game currency (you can read more about GRT token here). Therefore you can get additional income from all GRT sales made in your game.
Additional tips and tricks to keep in mind
There are tons of other things you should keep in mind while developing and advertising your game and it would take forever to mash them into one article. Best thing to do if you want to learn even more about this topic is to go join reddit /r gamedev where you can find a lot of precious information and advices from other skilled developers.
If we were to highlight one post that you definitely should check out, it is this one - My big ass list of shit to do before launch. Since it is brief list of great ideas for game developer. On the other hand, if you look deep enough you will find that the internet is full of many different lists of advices for game developers and one more example of this that you should definitely look at is Shipping an Amazing game: Checklist.
Anyway, in the end, if you are a developer of mobile or just small game made in unity or html5, the best choice for you is to release the game on web, especially with GameArter.com. Go check this site out if you want to find out more information about releasing your game on web! You can also find alot of information about this topic on GameArter Meduim, such as this article: Post Release Phase.