Advertising Channels

I have compiled a list of the most popular and well-regarded advertising
channels for indie games. Bear in mind this isn’t an exhaustive list; there are other options out there that I haven’t covered. These are the sites most
commonly recommended by indie developers as being the most cost-effective and efficient ways to advertise an indie game.

Reddit

Website: http://www.reddit.com/ad_inq

Ad Model: Cost per impression
There are two types of ads you can run on reddit: ‘frontpage’ and ‘targeted.’
You specify the start and end date, between which you’d like your reddit
promotion to run. Your promotion will start on the start date, and end at 12
a.m. on the end date.

Frontpage Advertisement

Your promotion will rotate on the reddit homepage (‘reddit.com’).

Targeted Advertisement

Your ad will show up in two sections:

  1. Top spot on the subreddit being targeted. If there is more than one
    person (or more than one ad) targeted to that subreddit on the same
    day, your ad will rotate with those ads as well.
  2. On the front page of a user who is logged in and subscribes to that
    subreddit. This will rotate with other ads that are targeted to other
    subreddits that user is subscribed to, along with front page ads.
    You are charged a flat fee for every 1,000 impressions you want to receive.
    The reddit CPM rate is $0.75, so 75 cents per 1,000 times your ad gets
    ‘delivered’ (displayed to a redditor).
    The minimum spend per campaign is $5.
    Reddit advertising can be very effective because you can specifically target the gaming subreddits. As with any reddit activities make sure you understand the reddit audience first, which can vary for each subreddit.
    Present your game in a way that would appeal to them and always
    remember your reddiquette!

Project Wonderful

Website: https://www.projectwonderful.com

Ad Model: Cost per day
Project Wonderful offers a unique approach whereby you don’t get charged
for clicks or display, instead, just name your price for a day’s worth of
advertising; when you’re the high bidder, your ad is displayed. You can alter or cancel your bids in real time, and even advertise for free (if your bid is at $0, and you’re the high bidder, the ad is free).

As a result of this unique approach, Project Wonderful can make advertising accessible to indie studios on a budget.

BuySellAds

Website: http://buysellads.com

Ad Model: Varies depending on publisher
Access thousands of quality, pre-screened publishers with a wide variety of
pricing options. It is very straightforward to use:

  1. Browse or search the marketplace for ads you’d like to buy
  2. Select your placements
  3. Upload creative
  4. Checkout
    Once you have paid for your ad(s), your order will be submitted to each publisher and they will either approve or deny your ad within 24 hours.
    You can then manage and optimize your campaign, see how your ads are performing, try different versions of creative with the A/B testing feature. Any placements that aren’t working can be cancelled, and new ones booked.

iSocket

Website: http://www.isocket.com

Ad Model: Varies depending on publisher
iSocket used to be called BuyAds, and it looks very different now. I have
included it here, but I don’t have any recent information from indies on how well it now works for them since the brand change. In all honesty, it now looks rather daunting and expensive!

What they Say

“iSocket for Advertisers is an automated way to buy well-defined,
guaranteed inventory directly from premium publishers. iSocket never
blends inventory from multiple publishers or placements, so you always
know exactly what you’re buying. iSocket combines all the benefits of
buying directly with the efficiency of programmatic.”

Google Adwords

Website: http://www.google.com/adwords

Ad Model: Cost per click
One great feature of Google Adwords is that you pay only if people cli on
your ads and visit your website. I much prefer this approach to a CPM type
method, as you can be certain you are actually getting traffic as a result of
your ad.

Keyword Search Ads

You create ads and choose keywords, which are words or phrases related to
your business. When people search on Google using one of your keywords,
your ad may appear next to the search results.
The key to Google Adwords is to be very specific with where and how you
advertise. First off, just select a few countries; if you have an English
language game it is probably best to stick to the English language.
As an example, at Super Icon our PlayStation sales figures provide a useful
insight into our highest selling markets, with our best numbers coming
from:
▶ USA
▶ UK
▶ Germany

▶ France
▶ Canada
▶ Spain
▶ Netherlands
▶ Australia
▶ Belgium
▶ Italy

You can also select your target age range if you have one. The most
important thing to remember with an Adwords campaign is don’t just let
Google choose where to place your ads, choose the sites to target yourself.
Take charge of your campaign!
Also be aware that you can specify where not to target (i.e. if you have a PC
game, you don’t really want to target mobile users). You can also specify
make and model of phones and tablets to target, so you can be very specific.

Facebook

Website: https://www.facebook.com

Ad Model: Cost per impression
Every single indie blog I have seen that mentions Facebook ads says don’t
do it, they are a waste of time. So I shall take that advice and ignore standard Facebook ads.

A better option is to boost individual posts. I’ve done this a few times, and
in general, it works well, promoting the post to the right sort of people who
are most likely to be interested in your post.
Boosted posts last for three days and increase the reach of your post beyond
your regular followers. To get the best results, wait a few hours before
boosting a post, let it hit its natural reach first. Boost posts that drive
engagement rather than just likes—such as a new game launch, with an
included Call-to-Action. Don’t forget to pin boosted posts to the top of your
page for the duration of the promotion.
It is really easy to do, each post has a Boost post button, you select how
much money you wish to pay, choose a payment option and click go. Your
post will then be promoted until your budget runs out. You should also
measure its success via the Facebook Insights and other analytics tools.

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