Video Game Marketing Advice
Tommy Liu
December 27, 2012

Video Game Marketing Advice

Video games are big business, but they have to be marketed properly, and developers must look beyond the trailer while doing so.

Video game trailers – the requisite one- to four-minute videos made to excite and entice fans and non-fans alike. You know the type – it usually involves stunning graphics, driving music, minimal to no gameplay, and, above all else, slow motion. It’s pretty routine at this point. Launch a trailer six months to a year from the game’s release, maybe a teaser trailer prior, then follow it up with a few more breath-taking trailers. Is that really enough?

Don’t get me wrong, I love cinematic game trailers, especially the slow-motion ones (don’t take away my slow-motion), but what I’m getting at is, don’t stop there. Go beyond the trailer.

When your game trailer is released, the masses can’t get enough of it. Your fans are whipped into a frenzy and practically salivating at the notion of how amazing your game is going to be. However, the game doesn’t come out for another nine months, and the next trailer isn’t for another two months.

What are you going to do with all of your fans’ enthusiasm? You can’t just leave them be. With the endless content on the Internet, attention spans stay short, meaning there’s a chance they’ll forget your game already before it even releases, and you don’t want that. You want to remind your fans about your game frequently and keep it top-of-mind. Drive them to your Facebook page and have them like it. Most users visit Facebook daily, so when they like your page, you’ll be integrating your game title into part of their everyday lives.

Of course, fans liking your page doesn’t equate to top-of-mind with your title; you’re going to need to provide them content. With so much time between trailers, you’re going to want to have constant content to keep momentum and interest. Here are a few items to consider.

Videos. Not every video has to be as grandeur as a cinematic trailer; lower-key (but still high production) relevant content is a very viable option. A Web series would be an ideal content choice because it’s frequent, reliable, and shareable, not to mention a money saver when you can have multiple videos shot and produced at once. One-off “viral” videos are a good option as well, because anything worth sharing is worth being top-of-mind. Videos separate of cinematic trailers also give you an opportunity to target your secondary and tertiary demographics by changing the messages geared towards them.

Images. A quicker option to videos is images. Images make for great content because they’re  fast and easy to consume. Nothing to sit through – what you see is what you get. A great image is eye-catching and demands attention. When you flip through a phone book (that big yellow brick you use as a doorstop), where do your eyes go to first? I’m betting the pictures. There’s a reason Pinterest is the third largest social network: people like pictures. A picture can say a lot even if only given just a glance. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Articles/Blog Posts. Sometimes, you need more than a thousand words to get your message across, and that’s when articles and/or blog posts come in handy. Relatively easier to churn out than videos and images, articles/blog posts allow for more technical and explanatory messaging. Strip away the glitz and glamour and what is your title all about? With this option, you can delve a little deeper into the game, offering significant insight on a more personal level.

Social Media Posts . The simplest and possibly the most underrated choice of content is the social media post. With a couple of sentences, you can command attention from your fans, because fans can reply and offer their two cents, and everyone likes to have their opinions heard. However, simply making a post is just the beginning; it’s when you, as the game title, respond to the fans’ comments that you really warrant top-of-mind residency. At this point, a dialogue has begun and a relationship is started. And surely you remember every relationship you’ve been in, right?

Ultimately, you want to use all of these options in conjunction with each other, giving a variety of content to your fans, keeping the fans’ anticipation for and excitement in your title up. Essentially, you need a social media campaign, and even more essentially, a social media agency to manage the campaign. If you need one, let me know, I might know some people that can help you.

Tommy leads research and digital media marketing strategies at Supercool Creative. A graduate of California State Polytechnic University, Tommy is analytical, driven and a thought leader in creative concepts, online video, social media and viral marketing for brands and businesses. Also, he is awesome.