Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Advertising costs

I spend a lot of time fiddling with advertising budgets. Much more so than most indie game devs (who do not advertise much, if at all). The trick to advertising effectively is to tweak it, to pick the right ads, in the right places, for the right products.

Some stuff I’ve learned about selling games through advertising online:

  1. Some advertising publishers charge silly rates. Literally 10 times as much as others, for no good reason. Not all advertising locations are worth the same, I pay maybe half per click for a text ad on someones blog or forums as I do for the same ad in google search results, but some websites are charging a ridiculous amount, and it’s not worthwhile.
  2. You need to track conversions when you can. Getting someone to visit the site is great, but worthless if they don’t later buy anything, Some ads provide lots of clicks, some provide lots of sales. Ideally I don’t want any clicks that are not eventually sales. It’s easy to forget this
  3. If other people sell your product, they will advertise it, and they may be prepared to spend a lot of money on doing so. They didn’t develop the product, so their only costs are marketing and maybe some web hosting. If a partner gets 40% of the sale price of a $20 game, they earn $8. If they can get a sale for every $7 of ads, they are  in profit. And they may value the sale at > $8 anyway because they might get repeat business.  That means I need to be prepared to pay > $8 if I want to  be top dog on ads for my own stuff. That”s scary
  4. Some ad campaigns just don’t work. They are a waste of money. You learn that, and move on.
  5. Advertising providers want your business. Some will offer you free initial impressions to get you hooked. The important thing is not to be too polite and feel you owe them anything. Free trails are welcome, but eventually I spend my ad budget where it returns optimum results.

Hopefully this is of interest to any other devs. Advertising DOES work. Of course it does, if it didn’t, the Coca Cola company are wasting billions. Plus it does work on a small scale. You can’t spend five minutes knocking it together and hoping for the best though. I spend maybe 2 hours a week on tweaking ad campaigns, maybe more. I also spend a lot of my revenue on advertising, it’s by far my biggest expense each month (ignoring the costs of my time coding and designing games).

Destructive fingers and Democracy 2 MAC

Have I mentioned this yet? Democracy 2 is now out on the Mac.

BUY IT HERE or get the demo HERE

In other news, WTF is in my fingers? Acid? My keyboard is gradually losing it’s most used letters:

I suspect its my fingers. I managed to wear off all of the black coating on my guitars volume knob too:

IT consultants are idiots.

I should know, I used to work as one. But check this out:

I quote:

A Gartner analyst predicts the demise of the computer mouse in the next three to five years.

Taking over will be so called gestural computer mechanisms like touch screens and facial recognition devices.

“The mouse works fine in the desktop environment but for home entertainment or working on a notebook it’s over,” declared analyst Steve Prentice.

I hate to burst Steves bubble, but people keep the same laptop for five years quite often. How he thinks that facial recognition will take over in 3-5 years is beyond me. Plus there are approx 500 million people who are comfortable using a mouse or trackpad. How am I going to use facial recognition to select all the files in a folder? And why the hell would i want to learn a completely new interface system to do it?

Someone pays these idiots to spout such crap. Maybe in fifteen or twenty years. MAYBE.

Incoming Fighter Planes. VROOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!11111

Something bloody fast, possibly this (the Eurofighter)  just flew over my house. I heard what sounded like a major thunderclap, and thought it was weird, considering the bright sunshine. Then realised what was going on.

I live near Farnborough, where they hold the air show, and you often hear and see stuff like this at this time of year. I’ve seen the eurofighter before, from a hill nearby. Damned thing flew absolutely dead down towards the ground like a missile before pulling out. Adrenaline rush FTW I guess. Pity its now totally useless outside of the remote chance of a ten minute war with the USSR or China before nukes kill everyone. Ho hum…

Phear my share-dealing skillz

or not… as the case may be. I’ve long been 100% sure that UK retailers Marks & Spencers is a sure fight stock market bet.

Fuck. I lost hundreds of pounds today on the stock market. Grrrrr. The thing is, the company is VERY profitable, its profits last year and its revenue were up on the previous year. It has a very well defined market niche (eco-friendly upmarket food and high quality clothes) and strong customer loyalty, and unmatched brand recognition. Plus its sales have only dropped 4%. Why on earth did its shares drop so much?

So much for my attempts to be a stock market guru. I guess I’ll stick to indie games, at least they make *some* money!