Defining Awesome — Online advertising is bullshit
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  • Online advertising is bullshit

    Written by . Posted at 4:10 am on February 25th, 2010

    If you have experience with online ads please read.
    Just for fun, I tried advertising Soldat online for money. This is my second attempt after getting nothing from Google’s Adsense. This time I tried Facebook. It seems like a decent platform. You can advertise to people selecting them by age, maritial status, sex, language etc. In addition to that you can show your ads to already established fans of your products or friends of your fans which are not yet fans. Seems like a pretty good idea. I setup an ad selecting exactly those people from english speaking countries and Germany (cause fans from those countries buy Soldat Registered most frequently). The profile of the person is of course male 16-29 yrs old, not married. This is how my Facebook ad for Soldat looks like this. (I tried several variations and this one got most clicks).

    After 2 months of this there were 600,046 views with 154 clicks. 1-5-4 CLICKS! That’s 0,0002% if my math is correct. This is astonishingly shameful. Bad, bad, bad. The only good part is that I spent only 35$ on this. But still it wouldn’t get me anything. My well-estimated guess would be that every 100th person buys Soldat Registered so I lost 10$ on this deal. Of course assuming that at least a 100 people from those clicks actually played the game.

    Now my question goes to people that used online advertising successfuly: how do you do it? I agree I didn’t spend much. I set the CPC lower than expected. Yet I got a lot of views. In my opinion people just didn’t click it when they viewed it. It’s no wonder Facebook can’t pay for its bills and the only reason Google is rich is because it has billions of worthless sites with ads on them. Am I doing something wrong?

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    1. First rule of the internet:
      Do not click on ads.

      If something seems interesting I usually google it and check it up there. So that might be the case.

    2. Ads are designed to make dumb people buy stupid shit, not to make gamers play awesome games.

    3. Second rule of internet is: do NOT CLICK ON ADS.

      Seriously now, I just have my ads adblocked. This isn’t the TV, with it’s unconditional marketing diarrhea bombardment with a loudness 250% of the movie you just watched.

      People have of course tried it, like The result was even more people using adblock, privoxy and other blockers.

      Just don’t use ads. I think you’d get better results from word of mouth. Include a note at the register screen that if you’re too cheap to register the game then at least get your friends hooked.

    4. Its good to promote your game..
      like curious said, If something seems interesting the user usually google it and check it up there.


    5. I have never ever seen an intersting ad on the internet. never.

    6. I would suggest you to focus more on the register screen before starting Soldat. The Moonsonix thing (by your brother?) was in my opinion a very good idea.
      Think about it, make it bigger, ask some retro game-dev friends if they need more attention for their game, and so on. says that “1287 players online” are online right now – I could think about ~10000 times the register screen opens a day.

      Your target group would be:
      – more male
      – 16-29 years like you said
      – metal music ­čśë
      – Soldat/retro/indie like games

      Although you would make money, the disadvantages would be: no advertisement FOR Soldat and the risk of people leaving it for some other game =/

    7. Effective advertisements need to command the attention of the viewer and project the key selling-points of your product in as succinct a fashion as possible. Of course, Facebook advertisers are notoriously devoid of scruple, so the medium itself places you at at an inherent disadvantage vis-a-vis your target audience; but a punchier ‘hook’ might read:

      “Counter-Strike, in 2D, with jetpacks.

      Intrigued? Then click here and discover Soldat – the last word in visceral multiplayer action.”

      Also, try using an in-game screenshot: granted, Soldat isn’t exactly on the cutting-edge, but it *looks* fun, which is more than can be said for the legions of cookie-cutter ‘Mafia Wars’ imitators who purloin promotional stills from Grand Theft Auto in order to disguise their lack of graphical content.

      (Speaking as a Marketing Executive.)

    8. Google’s Adsense is the biggest pyramid scheme in this world, that’s why they earn billions.

      In more and more cases the whole ad business is a virtual thing. For example, Google places your ads on other people’s sites and you place Google ads on your own site, this means you don’t need to pay anything and most likely do not earn from advertising either.

      I think the objective value of Google’s actual ad business is a lot less than it’s estimated at now. But obviously Google is a very well-known, respected and healthy brand.

    9. The ad doesn’t look that bad actually, although I would probably have included the Soldat text logo.

      A punchier line to encourage people to check it out sounds good, but I think this is a case of not reaching the target audience.

      After all, the image looks cool enough for me to check it out, it’s ‘free’ and there are already 1000s of people playing. Perhaps it does sound too similar to all the text / browser games on Facebook though… don’t know.

    10. Yeah I forgot about the first rule…

      Profesh: I’ll try that why not.
      PHeMoX: Google and retirement plans are the biggest pyramid schemes.

    11. I think your main problem is that you’re advertising on facebook, which is bogged down with a load of shitty games – all of which try to make theirs seem like the best thing since sliced bread. The fact that your game actually IS great doesn’t matter if everyone’s already too jaded to click the ad and find out.

    12. yeah its true that no one ever click ads and as for me i have this anti-ad program so i won’t even them

    13. @MM: mailed you some infos about advertising I found since I can’t post them here, because WordPress always tells me “duplicate posting” =/

    14. thanks illu.
      Research shows that only a little percent of people use ad-blockers. Most people still use IE6 and thinks its the internetz. But I guess these people are not potential Soldat players.

    15. Maybe offer existing purchasers a discount code to refer to their friends and give them %age off the price?

      Or if that code is used, the original person gets a small icon in-game or something *shrug*

    16. Andrew: I was about to suggest this. The problem is that every user would have to register an account, which would then need to be associated with a debit or credit card, in order to prevent legitimate users fraudulently referring themselves under multiple e-mail addresses.

    17. Yah I agree with some of the comments above, when people see that ad they think is just another stupid game like Evony or Mafia wars. If I had no clue what soldat was I would of never clicked it. Its a great game but I think Soldat needs a lot more attention as far as graphics bug fixes. But to contradict what I just said I think you should focus more on link dead than soldat or you can sell it to some other game developer who would like to add more to it.

    18. *im talking about soldat in the last part of the last sentence.

      *Maybe you should sell the rights of soldat to some wealthy game developer who will completely overhaul the game*

    19. Why would he do that? It would be like selling your baby for money…

    20. rfreak, dying baby.

    21. IT would be like betraying all the values under which soldat was written: far away from capitalist swine.

    22. Oh man, when do we get to play a bit?

    23. Have you thought of releasing on Steam? I’ve heard that they take about a 30% cut, but they are quite high visibility. Plus if you added a bunch of Steam achievements + cloud support, I think you would be very popular.

    24. Martin, that is an EXCELLENT idea. But does Steam allow free games? Or do you mean selling the registered version?

    25. I mean selling it. Soldat is a great game, and I really think that the creator deserves more money for his actions. At $9.99 a pop on Steam I think it would do quite well. I think right now the problem is that too much of the game is given away for free, which means that people buy it out of wanting to support the author, not wanting the coloured jets or other minor things offered, which should change if we want to see MM release a bunch of new awesome games.

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