Black Friday is an opportunity to step up your gamedev marketing campaigns... but standing out can be difficult. Let’s look at the strategies that have stolen the show and maybe you can enjoy your own show stopper this Black Friday - even in China.
Let’s start with one of the best ways you can advertise your game - social media channels. Below I will show you different ways in which you can make the best out of your social media this Black Friday and make bank without too much effort!
1. MICRO INFLUENCERS AS A GAME SALES LEVERAGE
With influencer campaigns it’s important to remember that you don’t need big names for it to be successful. The mobile game Brawl Stars has proved this point perfectly, they’ve partnered with smaller influencers who were already producing content around the studio’s other games. This campaign amassed 5 million subscribers on YouTube for the game before release!
A successful influencer campaign could include:
- videos of the influencer reviewing or playing the game
- special rewards waiting for the players during the event
- unique and fun attractions - like a new quest available for a limited time
- creating a digital version of the influencer that you can interact with in the game
It’s one of the tactics we use in Huqiao, so if you want to learn more don’t hesitate to reach out!
2. DOUYIN - ADVERTISE ON CHINESE SOCIAL MEDIA
Douyin is essentially the Chinese version of TikTok and it attracts a whopping 600 million daily active users! The app is especially popular among the Gen Z, so the content produced for the app should reflect the relaxed attitude of the main audience.
To advertise your game on Douyin you can:
- follow the trends - use trending hashtags or trending sounds
- try to encourage users to like your videos and leave comments, you can start a discussion by asking questions in your videos, or you can engage with content similar to yours and build a relationship with your audience
- add links! You can direct viewers straight to your product page
- create challenges - it’s a very easy way to go viral, be creative and come up with a fun challenge that people will be excited to participate in
- collaborate with KOL’s (Key Opinion Leaders), aka influencers - they have a community that trusts their opinion, you can use that by getting them to play or review your game, but you can also use your micro influencers to comment on your videos to boost reach among their audience
- use Open Screen Ads & Feed Ads - very easy and effective tactic. Feed Ads can be especially useful - they are full-screen and are displayed in Douyin suggested feeds, but what’s more important users can share them with each other!
An example of a fun challenge could be the Chinese mobile game called Movie name elimination 消除电影名, their campaign encourages people to beat the next (supposedly impossibly hard) level and prove they are smarter than the person playing in the video. Talk about good motivation!
3. RAISE YOUR PROFITS WITH D2C SALES WITH THE HELP OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
Posting on your social media channels is an opportunity to promote your less popular titles by connecting your studio’s brand with your best selling games.
In 2021 SEGA shared on their Facebook profile about which of their games are on offer on which platforms. This is a great way to connect your studio’s brand with your most popular titles and get people to purchase more games created by you!
You can use your social media to direct the potential customers to your store. Last year Ubisoft used this tactic and advertised on their Facebook page their Black Friday deals with prices reduced by as much as 80%!
It’s a clever move encouraging people to buy more than one game from the same developer.
This will allow you to increase your profit margin as you are selling directly to customers.
4. ACCELERATE BUILDING A LOVE BRAND WITH MERCH
Best games are the ones that stay with the players for a long period of time - and what these top games have in common is merchandise. Offering merch creates an opportunity to be associated with such top selling titles and therefore be one step closer to becoming a Love Brand - a brand that customers have a strong emotional attachment to.
A unique product will appeal to fans and show that your protagonist is badass enough to have his/her own action figure, on top of that it can also potentially recruit your players as a walking advertisement.
Let’s have a look at some examples, in 2021 thanks to the Black Friday offer from CD Projekt RED the fans of The Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077 were able to snatch their awesome merch with a nice 30% discount! They posted it about it on their social media channels giving their players a great reason to follow them.
Final Fantasy XIV had a treat for their fans too, not only did they have their adorable merch on sale, but they also offered free shipping. I love that they shared pictures in their Facebook post of what products they had on offer. Just look at those adorable Carbunkle slippers and tell me you wouldn’t be tempted.
Don’t fret if you don’t have your own merch yet. You can always use existing services that will, for example print your designs on T-shirts. The return on the merchandise may be smaller but more wearers equals more marketing.
Displate is a great example, they print collectible metal posters that are definitely a unique product. All you need to do to join is upload your artwork, and then sit back and relax as they will take care of everything else.
5. BUILD A COMMUNITY ON CHINESE SOCIAL MEDIA
To match your community’s needs with your campaigns you have to pay close attention to your player’s opinions. Let’s see what can you use to do that on Chinese platforms:
- One way to do it is by joining Bili Bili - Chinese YouTube. The videos and livestreams on Bili Bili focus primarily on gaming, making it the best place to look for feedback regarding your game.
Let’s not forget that China’s e-commerce livestreaming sector generated 165.2 billion dollars in 2021. If numbers like that make you drool then stop wasting time and contact Huqiao!
- Don’t forget to make the most out of HeyBox - aka „Chinese Steam front-end", after all it’s a gathering place for a community of over 60 million Steam users, who are waiting to tell you their honest opinions.
These honest opinions are the best kind of feedback, you can copy the language your players use, the inside jokes they share and use it in future campaigns, making them fun and relatable for your audience.
- There’s one more place where building a community within the Chinese social media is essential - of course, I am talking about WeChat.
WeChat has over 1.2 billion users and mainly it is a communications platform, however it has so many other features that describing it would require a separate article.
WeChat is a great place to communicate with your audience and inform them about your products and promotions - for example you could send out special offers for your followers for events like 11.11.
Here’s an example from one of Huqiao’s clients Pirk Spark and the news feed content we’ve prepared for them.
If Chinese social media sounds confusing - don’t worry, Huqiao experts are here to guide you and increase your sales in China!
SALES MAXIMIZATION PRINCIPLES
Now that you know where to promote your games, let’s talk more about some principles that will help you make the most out of this Black Friday madness.
6. OFFER GREAT VALUE TO GET ON THE BEST SELLING LIST
Black Friday shoppers have pretty high expectations nowadays, if you offer a small discount they will simply choose something else. To get on the top selling list try offering a discount that people can truly say no to - at least 50% off.
Let’s look at why it is valuable to get on that top selling list. Last year Cyberpunk 2077 became a top seller during the Steam sale. Thanks to this the number of players skyrocketed from 14k on November 11 to 29k two weeks later!
These new players then left a lot of glowing reviews! It proved to be a great thing for the game’s future.
Furthermore, more users could represent a greater value proposition for online games (more people to play with = more fun and gives the incentive to come back to the game) and squash the competition.
7. STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD
How, you may ask? Well, This can easily be done with thumbnails, trailers and exciting screenshots of your game.
With a crazy number of offers available each year, players spend a lot of time browsing and looking for a new eye-catching game. In these situations it’s important to remember about your game’s thumbnails, people create first impressions very quickly and it should be something that can attract their attention and make them interested.
Make sure the name of your game stands out, use colours that can show the mood of your game and try to indicate what the game is about.
It’s also important that your game has a captivating (but realistic) trailer, the first few seconds matter the most as today’s audience is known for having a short attention span.
The trailer that I thought of immediately was for the Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, it’s simple, it only shows one scene but they’ve done it in a way that feels like you’re about to watch an epic movie. The music, the slow build-up and the reveal of other assassins’ at the end, *chef’s kiss*!
If creating videos sounds overwhelming to you, then leave us a comment and we will reach out to you! We can help you with short, dynamic clips from your game, thanks to our video studio that has created video spots for companies like Motorola and Milwaukee Tool.
8. MAKE THE BASE GAME AFFORDABLE OR FREE
DLCs can be a great way to increase your revenue, all you need to do is get people hooked on your game and Black Friday might be the best time to do that. We can follow the example of The Sims 4 - their base game was recently made free, however last year during the Black Friday sales it was 88% off. On top of that a lot of the expansion packs were 50% off!
It’s a great long-term strategy, discounting the base game or making it available for free can bring a lot of new players.The Sims franchise is known for releasing a large amount of paid additional content, so financially speaking it’s a great investment.
This kind of promotion is a great idea for any game that offers expansions or DLCs. This also results in increased visibility of DLC packages amongst a newly grown user base.
For many games, DLCs and in game content can make up a bulk of their generated revenue.
REWARD YOUR REGULAR PLAYERS WITH SPECIAL IN-GAME EVENTS
Black Friday is also a good opportunity to use in-game events as an additional selling point. It could be a good time to launch special events, offer free content for the players and get people talking and sharing about your game. More hype = more copies sold!
9. REWARD REGULAR PLAYERS
FIFA’s signature signings, introduced during last year’s Black Friday provide all the football players included in the promotion with improved stats and bring players one step closer to building their dream team. This is definitely a great way to show some appreciation for the players and encourage them to spend more time playing the game.
10. CREATE A RITUAL WITH DAILY REWARDS
Last year PUBG hosted an event for their players, with many daily rewards and products to purchase for your account. It was a good time to be a PUBG player. Winner Winner Black Friday dinner!
Daily rewards are a great way to encourage people to come back to your game regularly, it motivates the players and rewards them for playing. The motivation could be even bigger if something special awaited players who, for example, open the game everyday for a week. If the engagement is regular and rewarding it may be possible to turn browsing your store into a ritual.
11. OFFER FREE CONTENT
In the Minecraft universe Black Friday might be called Block Friday but the idea is the same. In 2021 on top of the daily deals, Minecraft players could enjoy a cute, and what’s more important free skin pack. For games with such a big online presence like Minecraft, adding more personalised items is a great idea.
It could encourage players to share screenshots of their game and spread the word, attracting new players to your game. Offering free content before Black Friday is a great warm up before the main event. You can definitely combine it with a bigger Black Friday promotion creating hype that your competition will be drooling over with envy.
As you can see the possibilities to stand out during the Black Friday insanity are endless.
You can take the simple approach and just reduce your prices, but with a little bit of extra effort this could also be a good time to skyrocket your sales, gain new followers on your social media accounts, attract new players and build a loyal fanbase! Try to remember about your regular players too and prepare special treats for them, they might in return recommend your game to other players!