Charitable Results

Our late October promotion flopped.

While we wait for Demolish! Pairs FTP to be reviewed (currently on Day 8), I figured that I would write about some results we got with our tiny promotion that ended almost a week ago, attempting to earn some money to donate to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  The basic numbers are based on tracking provided by Facebook, so perhaps we should start there.

(Cheap) Advertising on Facebook

Back in late August, as an inexpensive experiment, we decided to dabble in Facebook advertising.  At the time, our Digital Gamecraft page had an embarrassingly low number of ‘Likes’, all from people who I knew personally.  In order to increase this number, I clicked on ‘Promote Page‘ to suggest this page to other people.  In conjunction with this, we created a short 75% off sale for Demolish! Pairs, to provide brand new content (and a deal) for the page.

The results of this “campaign” were fairly decent, increasing our ‘Like’ count to more than 50 (from fewer than 20) in just a few of days, and for around $15.  The real benefit, though, turned out to be the availability of Facebook Insights once we passed 30 likes; this puts a figure for the number of people “Reached” on each post, giving an immediate idea of how well propagated your message becomes.  That initial post reached fewer people than had liked the page, but it gave me data to consider.

The next step was making a new post, warning that the sale was going to end in 3 days, and then, rather than continuing the page promotion, I instead clicked on ‘Boost Post‘ to advertise the sale directly.  This appeared to be more successful in terms of sales, and also brought a smattering of new followers as well.  The reach of that post was 5862 people (a 27814% increase from the previous post).

The first campaign, to increase the number of page followers, was successful in its goal, with the added benefit of providing more marketing data, but did not increase sales much.  The second campaign was more successful with sales, but not quite enough to overcome the decrease in income from the sale.  Still, it was a good amount of experimental information received for only about $25 total, with costs offset by the minor sales bump.

With improved copy, a better plan, and perhaps a somewhat more profitable price point, Facebook advertising could prove worthwhile (or, at least, break even).

Game Promotion for Charity

Armed with little more than Facebook data and good intentions, I decided to make the offer to donate $1000 to JDRF if our game could sell 350 copies in the last week of October.  The target sales number was chosen to be feasible, if the promotion caught on, and would amount to a donation of all proceeds, plus a small additional contribution from us.  In truth, I would (and probably should) have gone further to authorize the donation of all profits from the sales to charity, but I wanted to see how a target number might work.

To “promote” this offer, I (only) posted it at the end of this blog post, on the Digital Gamecraft Facebook page, and on the Digital Gamecraft Google+ page.  From my personal accounts, I liked/+1’d and shared both posts, and then sat back to watch.  Though my friend (and indie game developer), Gianfranco Berardi of GBGames, shared the post on Google+, I am only using the Facebook numbers and total sales figures.  (You will understand in a moment why this does not affect the results.)

The results were notable.  The impact of an offer for charity seems to bring in views, as the reach of that post, without any paid promotion, increased 385% from the previous non-sales post (and 1724% from the first sale post).  That was promising…  until the sales figures came in.  Despite the significantly increased reach, not only did we not meet our target figure, but there was no discernible change in sales at all.

The Bottom Line

It is going to take a lot of community building and experimentation, and probably quite a bit of luck, before we start figuring out marketing and social media, but this is a start.

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