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Mobile Gaming PR in 2016 is rapidly changing as video sharing platforms such as YouTube, Kamcord, Hitbox, MobCrush, and Twitch are quickly becoming the top destinations for where games are being played, talked about, and found.
The old-school thought that you can simply write a press release, put together a wishlist of gaming journalists, pitch them, and hope that they care enough about your game, is dead. It’s over, and I don’t even know how much more I can emphasize this. Worse yet, bad PR will sink your game launch before it even has a chance to hit the waves.
What does it take to give your game launch PR initiatives a fighting chance in an industry that’s inundated by hundreds of other developers, all vying for gamer’s attention? I’ll share a few thoughts and tactics that are paramount to a successful game launch as we speed into 2016.
Community holds the key
Indie game development studios, and even most of the big name brands, need to move past the terms “user” or “consumer” and instead treat people for who they actually are: Community Members and active participants in the game promotion process. The problem lies with how brands have traditionally struggled to build true long-term relationships with their fans, mainly because they use a short-term marketing approach and focus on selling products, not fostering relationships.
Things are starting to shift, as more publishers and studios are starting to look for creative ways to collaborate with content creators and influencers. Some are even generating their own 1-on-1 relationship with their community of gamers, especially when it comes to customer support. A perfect example of this is TinyCo, who took action for its community by including an in-game support desk for players to solve issues without leaving their mobile game “Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff.”
Video is the battleground
Online video content today overtakes takes the reach of national TV stations, with mobile video consumption growing at roughly five times the rate of traditional viewing devices. More important, consumers are enjoying content on their own terms, based on what interests them at that given moment.
According to a report published by SuperData Research, by the end of 2015 roughly 500 million people will have tuned in to game walkthroughs, trailers, and live streams, with half of them making purchase decision or in-app purchases. Viewers are also spending more time watching digital content, with an average time of 1:55 hours daily vs. 1:44 of their time spent on social networks.
Aleric Heck, who runs the popular YouTube channel AppFind (which boasts over 155,000 fans), explained why video content is such an important factor of mobile game PR. “We are currently living in a social and digital video age, which means that more and more audiences are turning to video content in order to get recommendations for which mobile games to play,” Heck said. “In the past, developers could send out press releases and have articles online from app review sites, however, these sites have long since been surpassed by the engaging video content available by creators on YouTube. Millennials and the young Generation Z are more likely to turn to video content rather than traditional articles to receive news, entertainment and tutorials, the same can be said for recommendation videos such as Mobile Game Recommendations. These videos allow potential consumers to simultaneously view the game in action, listen to the commentary of their favorite and trusted reviewer as well as engage with the content by sharing the video and leaving comments”.
If you spend any time online, you’ve probably realized that animated GIFs are everywhere. Reddit is riddled with them, Tumblr is full of them, and we’re starting to see them more on Facebook as well as Twitter. They’ve obviously become the format of choice in a time-strapped society.
Artwork can definitely get players excited about new game titles, but once they see GIFs they resonate with, they usually there that “I gotta play this game” feeling.
GIFs are here to stay mostly because they’re easily digestible. They’ve inspired thriving social networks such as Instagram and Vine, and they’re dominance looks to continue in 2016.
We’re living in an age where everyone is hyper-informed and updated with the latest news almost instantly. One of the best tactics that should be taken into consideration is focusing game related PR launches around real-time trends.
Real-time PR tactics is a unique kind of newsjacking that taps into the world’s insatiable appetite for up to the minute news and information. Piggybacking off current news stories is something PR professionals have been doing for years, but with the tools and services such as Whatstrending.com Buzzfeed and Twitter trends, creating relevant time sensitive PR stories is easier than ever.
The most important factor in developing a real-time PR strategy is creating having the capability to adjust content on the fly, while recognizing the importance of speed. That being said, posting in real time to be should always add value to the intended readers, even when riding on a major news story. As always it’s better to focus on getting the content right versus getting it out too quickly.
Takeaways for gaming PR in 2016
- Understand video content consumption
- Invest in video content
- Images speak louder than words
- Nurture your community
- Leverage Real Time Trends
We’re way past the Mad Men era, so why do PR agencies still insist on acting that way is beyond me.
Oren Todoros is a PR executive who focuses on the mobile industry; with 12 years of marketing experience, Todoros has helped establish both independent developers and large scale development firms, increasing their brand’s reach through the mobile landscape.
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