I’m running on-going promotional campaigns for Production Line at the moment across a variety of sources. My plan is to work out the current best value for money in terms of cash paid per impression and per click/like, and then to ramp up in that area. Getting a decent click cost is proving tricky though.

After a lot of fiddling, and narrowing of audiences, I’m still struggling to get a Facebook like for Production Line at less than $1.00. I’ve seen my costs wave from $0.83 to $1.95 over a period of a week, even after cropping the lower performing ads out of the equation. The CPM on facebook is currently $13.06, which even as a really targeted demographic, is way too high. It could be that my ad copy sucks, although I have tried variation there. My relevance is  4 or 5.

Switching to AdWords promotion of my trailer gives me different results, The CPM there is £0.33 (roughly $0.44) which is tons better, but possible less effective? The cost per view is just £0.12 / $0.16, which is very attractive…

On reddit I’m seeing roughly $0.66 CPC for ads that lead directly to the steam store page. This is very direct, but is it really 4x as good as getting people to see my trailer?

What I don’t like about ad-words trailer promotion is that its 99% branding with very little engagement beyond that. Viewing my trailer is fine, but how long will that memory persist? When advertising my trailer, I got 642 steam store visits from youtube, and spent £1,500 to get them. If I look at the period before (no ads), I got 506, so effectively I’m paying £1,500 for 142 visits plus general brand awareness. The game is £12, so if all of them bought it now, I’d still make a slight loss under steams cut. How much is brand awareness worth to me? And how annoying to not know the actual real conversion rate of those steam visitors…

There are pros and cons all over the place to thinking this way. there is also the Uber/Tesla/Amazon strategy of really not giving a damn if you are losing money on ads, as long as you can spend enough to get 50,000 players one way or the other, and hope that this then becomes self sustaining and viral. This sounds nuts but it might not be, as lets be honest, you *do* get paid for the games, its only the difference (the loss per customer) that is actually an expense…

Looking at the adwords example.. £1,500 for 142 visits is a loss of £2.17 per sale, or $2.82. Lets imagine I could scale that up in a linear fashion to buy another 12,000 production line steam buyers (doubling its current steam sales, and making 34,000 players in total. The cost of that would be $33,840.

Thats a lot of money, but not impossible. I’ve certainly risked similar amounts on share dealing on a regular basis.


In the meantime here is today’s production Line video in which I wear a hat:

2 Responses to “Fighting to get ad click costs down.”

  1. bourgeoisie says:

    Is it really possible to create a loop of virality for a niche game like PL, or is it being niche actually an advantage? I’m somewhat familiar with the mobile F2P side of things, and in that world even having an install base in the millions can be insufficient to raise a wide awareness about your game. Makes me wonder what having those 12k installs would achieve for you. Do you have a specific goal for e.g. the increase in monthly organic installs?

    • cliffski says:

      Interesting point. Obviously there is a limit to the potential audience size for any any game and production lines is smaller than many simple F2P games, but I[m guessing the cap is no less than 500k potential owners. Catapulting the first 30k to get the next 70k or 170k users would make sense, assuming that growth continues as a result of the first 30k. Obviously the unknown quantity is how powerful is the virality of 30k versus the current 20k?