Tal Perry became involved in the gaming industry because he saw it as a growing industry with a lot of potential. He came from a strong business development background and is now VP of Business Development at Appnext, the cross promotion and advertising network. Perry’s most recent venture began when several investors he had previously worked with asked him to set up a new business with them. They experimented with the concept, developed a business plan, and formed Appnext this past March.
Developing the Business
Perry brought from his previous work a number of skills that have proven to be very useful in this cross-promotion company. Among those, he found especially helpful are the negotiating and analytical skills he used while practicing law: the ability to understand the legalities of licensing for different types of games, and the ability to understand and draft contracts. In addition, his networking and sales skills have proven to be very useful. He suggests that people involved in business development need to realize it is like sales and marketing at the same time.
Perry particularly emphasizes the importance of networking for business development. He says, “Really take advantage of every opportunity to network. You never know if you’re going to need that contact later on.” He recommends using all situations to meet and connect with people even if that contact does not appear to be an immediately relevant lead. He also advises using every available tool to network, including researching on the internet and using LinkedIn.
How Game Marketing is Evolving
Perry has seen game marketing on different platforms change completely. In some ways marketing is becoming more difficult, but other aspects are now easier. On Facebook, the cost of marketing has gone up and it is more difficult to get the viral marketing you need, but it also allows for easier marketing in some ways. For example, for mobile games, the open graph and the connections people can make with each other increases marketing potential. Without the social network that Facebook allows, it would be impossible for people to make these connections.
We are now seeing the increasing use of cross promotion. It started on Facebook with the use of cross promotion exchange bars that allowed developers to promote their games at no expense. Now there is a variety of tools the developer can use in order to cross promote in different ways. At Appnext, they most frequently see developers targeting the exit traffic, but games can also be promoted with the smart bar or exchange bar and many other tools. These will help overcome the rising cost of marketing on Facebook, as well as other marketing problems. Cross promotion is also becoming very important on Android and iOS; games can now be marketed for free by adding any of the different cross promotion products.
Strategies for Cross Promotion
Using cross promotion well is quite complex. Finding the right place in the game is the best strategy that Perry sees. He has found it is best to offer the promotion when the player is free to play another game, or finished playing the game, rather than in the middle of the game when it may annoy the player. Perry maintains, “That will lead to better performance both for the game that is receiving the new user and for the games that are sending out the user because they’re going to get more users back. We see at Appnext that the CTR’s are much higher when the product is placed in the right timing of the game.”
Another challenge is determining the right place on the canvas for the promotion product, but the best place will vary depending on the specific game. The actual look of the promotion product is also an important consideration. Perry reminds us that developers should spend a great deal of time and effort on the look of their game. “Don’t splash an exchange bar on top of your canvas that looks like something out of Times Square. With too many flashing banners and links, consumers won’t know what’s going on anywhere and it just makes the user interface look very bad. That’s a mistake I see happening a lot.”
Perry says that other methods of advertising a game will continue to be necessary. Paid campaigns will be needed, particularly for new games, for cross-promotion to succeed. A new game will have to buy traffic to get back the clicks needed to grow. So the new game promotion must include buying traffic from standard networks like Google or Facebook or from cross-promotion networks like Appnext that sell traffic in addition to the exchange traffic. Cross promotion will be an increasingly valuable addition to the marketing plan, but it cannot be the only plan.
Appnext’s Mobile Solution is meant to help gamers discover more apps and drive exposure. It will be available for both Android and iOS at the end of this month.