What is Mobile Game Guerrilla Marketing and How to Do It?
(This article was originally published on Udonis’ blog.)
Did you know that there are over 6.3 million apps out there? More than a third of those apps are mobile games. What does that tell you?
The market is crowded, and the competition is fierce. Basic mobile game marketing methods are no longer enough to make your game a success.
You need to step up your game and think of unconventional marketing strategies for mobile games. Something that will make people stop and listen. A memorable campaign people will share on social media and talk about for days. An advertisement that will make people download your game straight away.
Wondering how to achieve that?
Mobile game guerrilla marketing.
Apple’s Guerilla Marketing ad
What is Guerilla Marketing?
When you hear the term ‘guerrilla’, it sounds kind of forceful and scary. Everyone’s mind goes to images of armed forces, confrontation, and violence. Luckily, guerrilla marketing is something much different. It is a marketing campaign that uses unconventional methods and attention-grabbing techniques. It’s famous for the use of public space and outdoor installations to capture the attention of people walking by.
Guerrilla marketing has a long history. We can trace it back to 1984, and it has been used ever since. In fact, guerrilla campaigns saw a rise in popularity during recent years because of their viral potential.
Guerilla Marketing for Mobile Games
There are several reasons why guerrilla marketing is very appealing to mobile game developers and marketers. One of the biggest ones is the low-budget nature of guerrilla marketing campaigns. If you’re an indie developer with no marketing budget, these inexpensive and oftentimes free advertisements might be ideal for you.
The amount of attention and engagement a guerrilla marketing campaign can achieve is also quite appealing to marketers. It is a creative and memorable way to promote a mobile game. It might be just the thing you need to stand out from the crowd and get noticed.
What are the Benefits of Guerrilla Marketing for Mobile Games?
- Very cheap
- Huge viral potential
- Local visibility
Finally, another big benefit of using guerrilla marketing to promote your mobile game is the fact that it’s not used often in the gaming industry. When it comes to promoting mobile games, guerrilla marketing is still an underutilized method. That gives you an even greater opportunity to stand out and do something different.
How to do Mobile Game Guerrilla Marketing?
If you’re thinking about using guerrilla marketing techniques to promote your mobile game, read these tips first. It will point you in the right direction.
Know Who You Want to Target
As with any campaign, you need to know who you want to target with mobile game guerrilla marketing.
Although it might seem simple and effortless, guerrilla marketing requires a lot of planning beforehand. Otherwise, it will be a total miss. So think about who your target audience is and how you can get their attention. For example, you want to target female gamers from the US, aged 25–35 with an interest in puzzle games. The more specific you get, the more effective the campaign will be.
The next step is determining the goals you want to achieve. Do you want people to download your mobile game? Increase brand awareness? Whatever it is, it should be a starting point for creating a guerrilla marketing campaign.
Be Creative, Original and Unexpected
The main characteristic of guerrilla marketing is that it’s unconventional and catches people by surprise. It’s about using ad space in a very creative way, but still delivering the message, sometimes even without using words.
When coming up with a mobile game guerrilla marketing strategy, think outside the box. Consider the features that make your games unique and exciting. Then try to translate that into unconventional and bold advertisements that get reactions. Of course, you want those reactions to be positive. You don’t want to scare people off with some edgy messages and super weird activities.
Here are some common guerrilla marketing types and techniques to inspire you:
- Outdoors Marketing is what guerrilla marketing is famous for. It refers to the smart use of public space and different types of advertisements placed outdoors.
- Ambient Marketing is a guerrilla marketing technique that grabs people’s attention by placing ads in unusual and unsuspected places.
- Event Ambush Marketing is when you use the audience of another event to your advantage. Keep in mind, this might get you in trouble so try it at your own risk.
- Experiential Marketing refers to involving the audience in the event. It produces great results because it creates a happening that’s immersive and interactive.
However, you don’t have to go in the direction of installations or events in public space like most other guerilla marketing campaigns. Why not transfer guerilla marketing techniques into the digital space? Social media is a great place for that. Plus, your mobile game campaign could easily go viral.
Online Viral Marketing relies on creating viral, shareable content. This content mostly appears as:
- Video format
- User-generated contests
- An original landing page experience
How effective can these forms of advertising be? Well, according to Wordstream, a social video generates 12x more shares than images and text combined. Not only that, but 51% of marketers find it the type of content with the highest ROI.
Make Your Guerrilla Marketing Campaign Interactive
The most effective guerrilla marketing campaigns are the ones that are interactive and require the participation of the audience. When you get the audience involved, it creates a memorable experience. Something people will talk about. It would fall into the category of the aforementioned experiential marketing.
You might even create an advertisement that people become a part of. Frontline’s clever campaign is a great example of that. They have placed a giant photo of a dog on the first floor. If you look at it from above, when people walk over the photo, an illusion of a dog being covered in insects is created. Not only is that a very clever idea, but also a great and unconventional use of ad space. And of course, it wouldn’t be as effective without the (in this case unknowing) participation of people passing by.
Track the Performance of Your Mobile Game Guerrilla Marketing Campaign
Measuring the results of a guerrilla marketing campaign is often very tricky. Especially if you’re using traditional marketing mediums like billboards and interventions in public space. In that case, it’s hard to know exactly how many people saw your advertisement and how many installed your mobile game as a result of it.
However, if you go for digital guerrilla marketing, you’ll have access to all data and be able to track the performance of the campaign in a detailed way. The numbers will tell you whether your guerrilla marketing stunt was a hit or miss.
6 Inspiring Examples of Guerrilla Marketing
Enough with the theory, let’s go through some examples that showcase the effectiveness of guerrilla marketing.
Zombie Match Mobile Game Guerrilla Marketing Campaign
When Jake Sones, developer of Zombie Match, was rejected to showcase his game at IndieCade, he knew he had to take the matter into his own hands. Instead of giving up and not going to the festival, he went. But here’s the twist — he dressed up as his mobile game.
That’s right. Jake created a Zombie Match arcade cabinet costume that had an iPad as a screen. That way people could play his game on the spot. As he walked around in the costume, Jake was getting a lot of attention. People were not only playing his mobile game, but many downloaded it right then and there.
Jake also handed out a ton of flyers and took pictures with people. It resulted in a lot of free exposure on social media and an increase in brand awareness. Even some gaming sites like TouchArcade mentioned Jake’s stunt.
Hipster CEO Mobile Game Guerrilla Marketing
Before the Hipster CEO mobile game was even launched, its creator Gerard Kelly wanted to create some buzz around it. He had a small mailing list and he was trying to get people interested in the launch by sending news and updates.
Then Gerard got an ingenious idea. He sent out an email to his mailing list saying, “Walt dies.” Here’s the interesting part — that email was sent right before the final episode of Breaking Bad.
People freaked out because they thought it was a huge spoiler. Gerard even had to apologize and say he was only kidding and had no idea how the series ends.
However, his guerrilla marketing stunt worked. Almost everyone who got that email shared it and it ended up on social media where it went viral.
Gerard got more than 10,000 new subscribers! That made it a lot easier to market his upcoming Hipster CEO mobile game.
That, my friends, is how you do smart and effective mobile game guerrilla marketing in the digital age.
Bounty Guerrilla Marketing Campaign
This example is not from the gaming world, but it’s incredibly creative and effective which makes it worth mentioning.
Bounty, a paper towel company, created a huge ‘mess’ on the busy streets of New York and Los Angeles. One was a huge spilled coffee cup (including real coffee aroma and steam) and the other was a giant ice-cream melting on the LA promenade. Next to the ‘messes’, was a billboard saying, “Makes small work of big spills — Bounty”.
Do I even have to tell you that Bounty’s public stunt was a huge hit?
It was impossible to ignore this campaign. Everyone who passed it on the streets had to look and many stopped to take photos with it. That’s why guerrilla marketing is so effective and memorable. It creates a huge buzz and gets people talking. There’s no way the same results would come from traditional billboards or TV ads.
The Ice Bucket Challenge and No Makeup Selfies
I’m bringing you two more examples of mobile guerilla mobile marketing campaigns. They are not directly related to gaming, but you can learn a lot from them regardless.
When it comes to popular guerilla marketing campaigns that took place online, these two were one of the most memorable ones. If you’ve been using social media in 2014 and 2015, you couldn’t have missed them. In both of these campaigns, mobile played a significant role.
When the Ice Bucket Challenge appeared, you could have seen people pouring ice water over their heads all over social media. After posting the video, they challenged others to do the same and gave them 24-hours time to do the same or donate $100 for ALS research. The purpose of the campaign was to raise awareness of ALS and to raise donations. Various celebrities and brands have embraced this campaign. Influenced by their role models and the nature of the campaign, the people were motivated to do this because they felt like a part of something bigger than themselves.
Another viral campaign that took place on social media was the #nomakeupselfie. This campaign represented each woman’s personal rebellion against beauty standards. As the name indicates,, the women posted a no-makeup photo and challenged a friend to do the same. It also came with a charitable cause: raising money and awareness for Cancer Research UK. The campaign raised the wanted amount of money in just 48 hours thanks to donations coming from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Based on these examples, it is obvious that a good challenge campaign should:
- Be easy to do
- Be highly interactive
- Make participants feel good about it
- Work on mobile
Domino’s Order On The Go Campaign
This campaign is not for a mobile game, but for its close relative — a non-gaming app.
Domino’s is one of those companies that pay special attention to mobile marketing. Not only today, but they did the same back in 2013.
Back then, not only did they have a mobile app, but also created a great guerilla marketing campaign for it.
You know those red marks you see when you’re using Google Maps?
Well, Domino’s took those marks and replaced them with pizza slices. This created an unusual scene with real-life surroundings, buildings, people, and well, pizza slices rising around them.
This might look confusing and weird, but that’s what guerilla marketing is all about. Domino’s “Order on the go” campaign become one of their most memorable marketing moves.
Combine Gurellia Marketing with Other Marketing Methods
While guerilla marketing may bring you a low-budget viral success if you play your cards right, it should always be combined with other marketing methods for optimum results. For mobile games, two main ways of getting more users and putting your game on the map are organic user acquisition (app store optimization, social media marketing, website, free influencer campaigns) and paid user acquisition (paid advertising, paid influencer campaigns).
If your marketing budget is low, or even non-existent, focus on organic user acquisition — it’s free. Start by getting your app store pages in order. The main elements of ASO are the game’s title, icon, promo video, screenshots, description, and keywords. Make each element work for you and use it to showcase the best features of your game.
You can also try content marketing on social media — it’s another free way to get more users. Creating a community around your game and encouraging social sharing can get your game in front of new users. Additionally, you might try contacting gaming influencers and asking them to try playing your game — some might do it for free.
If you have an advertising budget, no matter how small it is, you should start running ads for your game on social media networks and other ad networks like Google, Applovin, Unity Ads, and ironSource.
To do that, you’ll need ad creatives — for mobile games, video ads achieve the best conversions.
Final Thoughts on Mobile Game Guerrilla Marketing
Uniqueness and creativity always win in the end. That’s the key takeaway of guerrilla marketing for mobile games. People are tired of basic billboards and same old social ads. They want to see something different. Something that disrupts the usual flow of things. That’s what grabs their attention.
Be daring and unconventional when marketing your mobile game. It doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. You saw in the examples that it’s possible to execute a successful mobile game guerrilla marketing campaign for free.
This time, money can’t be an excuse. All you need to create a kick-ass guerrilla marketing campaign for your game is creativity.
One more thing — be aware that your quirky guerilla marketing campaigns come with certain risks as well. For example, it may turn out that you don’t know your users as well as you thought. This can lead to an offended or upset audience. In other cases, guerilla marketing campaigns can simply bring misunderstanding or confusion.
Read More About Mobile Game Marketing
- 45+ Mobile Gaming Statistics for 2020 That Will Blow Your Mind
- Indie Mobile Game Marketing: Best Strategies for 2020
- Who is a modern mobile gamer? (shifts of the ‘gamer’ demographics)
- Top 15 Mobile Marketing Companies in 2020
Since 2018 until today, Udonis Inc. has acquired over 150 million users for mobile apps & games. We’re recognized as a leading mobile marketing agency by 5 major marketing review firms. We helped over 20 mobile apps & games reach the top charts. Want to know how we make it look so effortless? Meet us to find out!