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The greatest itch.io marketing hack no-one taught me



(Credit: photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels)


Marketing for this game development journey I've started has been a bit of a hit and miss. Certain things haven't worked for Tappy Donut (my first game released on Google Play). Shout outs on Instagram, Tik Tok videos and ASO lead to a minuscule amount of downloads. Looking back, I realise I should have invested more in user acquisition to have made it a success the first time around. 

But things have taken an interesting turn since then. Releasing on itch.io actually raised my eyebrows just a little. I discovered a very simple 'hack' - make a sale and let people claim it. I ended up building a list of 571 users just by doing a simple sale (now 557 after a few bounces and unsubscribes). I set a very low price for the game ($1) and made a sale to get visitors. I made it free and sat back and watched. 

The funny thing was I didn't put the word out on social media for this sale. Looking at itch.io's analytics, I noticed it had been picked up by game sale sites and even ended up on a Reddit thread. The whole experience was very strange. 

What surprised me a little was how captive the emailing list was. A few days after the sale ended, I put out a short thank you email. I was very grateful that people were playing the game, despite its troubled history and the difficulty I had actually getting out of the door. 262 people ended up opening the email, which isn't too bad given the size of the list. 

Is this worth doing for everything? No. I've tried sales for game assets and they haven't worked as well. 

Games work great because they can be expensive and everyone loves a freebie. Spreading out the sale message on social media can help amplify the take up on the offer.

Will this work with other sites? Absolutely. It's worth trying it out and seeing what works and where. 



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