Your game might not be out yet but your audience is already out there. “What does this mean?”, you ask. It means that you don’t need to have even started building the mobile game or app you have in mind but you can already find out its potential on the market. Let us take a closer look at just how.
The plan is to build a survival game in a post-apocalyptic world. This is deemed a great idea by the entire development team and sure, it could be just that. However, how can you be sure that you have made the right decision? The best way to continue development is to test the idea at an early stage before losing money on wrong decisions.
A/B testing the idea by building a look-a-like app store page is key. The control variant should be the chosen theme, post-apocalyptic in this case, whereas the other variants should represent other theme options. Other theme options to test against are for example a jungle theme, a desert theme, and an arctic wilderness theme. Before you lock in on the opposing variants, a proper research should be conducted. It is beneficial to take a look a what competitors do and is there something that they are not doing yet. This helps produce more accurate findings in the test. In this case, having opposing themes that do not make sense in the style or genre of game might lead to misconstrued results. For this test you would then also create separate ads for each variation that correlates the respective themes. When the user clicks the ad, they move to the app store look-a-like page. If it is intriguing enough, they click the download button. Since there is no actual app out yet, the page redirects to any assigned final destination. A great idea is to attach a survey here where you can find out more about the user.
Learn from the data
Once the campaign is over, analyze the data. Looking at the ad and variation level data you are able to analyze which of the themes was the most appealing one. The results could show no distinct differences between the variations or show a clear winner. Either being an indicator as to where to continue development. Let’s say the results show the desert theme as a clear winner. Great, you’ve found a theme that appeals to your audience. You have also now saved resources by not starting development based on a hunch. Now with data backing up the decision, you can confidently make decisions towards building that game with a desert theme. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you need to do what results tell you to, rather it shows statistics on what could perform better. It doesn’t mean that the game can’t be a hit with the post-apocalyptic theme too.
Research, test, repeat
The same principle should be applied throughout the entire development phase. You can (and probably should) test for example characters, core mechanics, what motivations drive the audience, etc. Testing shouldn’t also end once the game is out. That’s when you start testing to find the best-performing store page assets, which is an iterative process too.
If you want to dive deeper into the topic, check out our previously written post about concept validation.
And when you want to start your concept validation, slide into our DM:s to get started.