Twitter Marketing: How to Use the Analytics Platform

By Tim Youngblood

Twitter’s analytics platform collects an impressive amount of data for a free tool. Before we dive in, let’s define the metrics that Twitter uses on their platform. Luckily, these metrics are fairly universal and are defined the same way on other platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. Also, if this is your first time visiting Game Borough, check out the previous posts in our Twitter marketing series to get caught up!

Indie Game Twitter Marketing Series

Impressions Versus Conversions

What is an Impression?

An impression is simply a tweet (Or post if you’re on Facebook) that comes onto a user’s feed. This doesn’t mean that the user clicked the link, liked or retweeted, or even looked at your tweet. It does mean that users had the opportunity to so, however, and users who do things such as liking, retweeting, visiting your profile, following you, or visiting a web page you’ve shared.

 

 

If you look at the screenshot above, you’ll notice that the number of impressions is way higher than the other metric. If you focus on increasing the other metrics like followers, mentions, and profile visits; the impressions will rise on their own. Essentially, impressions are just a byproduct of success with more important metrics. These metrics are often referred to as conversions.

 

What is a Conversion?

In sales, conversions usually refer to somebody buying your product. For marketing on Twitter, I use the term conversions more loosely because, as I said earlier in the series,  Twitter is not a good platform for sales conversions. In the case of Twitter, getting likes, retweets, follows, website visits, and profile visits are all considered conversions. To track website visits, you can either create a website tag to track visits on Twitter’s end using their conversion tracking tool or just track them from your website’s CMS or Google Analytics. I do the latter because Twitter isn’t a large source of traffic for GameBorough and I spend more time on the site’s CMS than on Twitter. Should you decide to use Twitter ads at some point, then conversion tracking will be necessary. Twitter has a Link Visits variable that it tracks, but your website will do a better job of tracking the users’ activity on your site.

 

What Else Does Twitter Analytics Track?

From the screenshot above, you can see that the Twitter Analytics homepage collects the metrics I talked about previously. The other tabs are Tweets, Audiences, and Events.

 

Using the Tweets Tab

The Tweets tab shows the aforementioned stats like impressions, engagements, retweets, and link clicks for individual tweets so you can compare their performance. Here’s a screenshot of ours below.

 

This is the Tweets dashboard showing the top 3 tweets from last month. You can click on each individual tweet to get more information. And of course, they try to sell tweet promotion on pretty much every page.

 

Using the Audiences Tab

The Audiences tab shows what kind of people follow you, and more importantly, what kind of people show up in your organic audience. Your organic audience is users that don’t follow you on Twitter but are likely to see your tweets in their feeds occasionally due to a shared interest in subject matter. Using hashtags in your tweets makes it easier for Twitter’s algorithm to put your tweets in your organic audience’s feeds. Below is a screenshot of Game Borough’s organic audience.

 

From our organic audience screen, you can see that our audience speaks English, likes games and technology, and is quite the sausage-fest. 

 

Using the Events Tab

If you spend a lot of time on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve probably noticed that every day is “National Something Day” like “National Donut Day” or something. The Events tab keeps track of upcoming obscure holidays as well as events happening in pop culture so people can find excuses to make new tweets. The Recurring Trends tab also shows common weekly hashtag themes so you make an excuse for a new tweet every day! Some examples of this are #ScreenShotSaturaday, #ThrowbackThursday, and #FlashbackFriday. The screenshot below is of our Overview tab.

 

This shows some upcoming holidays and events. Brace yourself for Father’s Day, we’re going to see an obnoxious amount of God of War themed tweets.

 

Putting Twitter Analytics to Use

I usually start by looking at which tweets performed well and which did not. For tweets that performed well, I can try to replicate those factors in future tweets. For example, the time of the tweet, the hashtags, subject matter, and the overall look of a tweet are all variables in a tweet’s success or failure.

For a tweet that isn’t performing well, I also look at the same factors. Let’s use one of Game Borough’s least popular tweets as an example. This particular tweet was a bit perplexing for me at first because it is one of the most popular articles on the site (It’s about indie game marketing tricks). Here’s a screenshot of the tweet, after everything we’ve covered in this tutorial series, you can probably notice some issues.

 

I can’t even read this tweet and I made it…

 

This tweet has some major issues. For one, the text is all crammed together, making it hard to read and making the link very difficult to find. The image I used doesn’t make any sense without the context of reading the article, which is a bad featured image choice when considering that the goal of this tweet is to get somebody who hasn’t read the article to read it. Audiences are also more likely to read an article if they know what it’s about. Personally, I’ve noticed success just using the article’s title in the tweet.

Knowing this, I can make a new version of the post for this article that is easier to read, says the title, and has a featured image that better illustrates the purpose of the article. Here’s what I came up with:

 

This tweet is much cleaner and has a more clear purpose. I’ll come back later to see how it performs.

 

Now that you know the basics of Twitter Analytics, you can start playing with it! Not sure where to start? Are there features that I left out? Leave your questions in the comments section and we’ll help you out!

 

Twitter Marketing: How Do Hashtags Work and How Should Game Devs Use Them?

By Tim Youngblood

In this part of our Twitter Tutorial Series, we’ll discuss how hashtags work on Twitter and how to use them.

What is a Hashtag?

Pretty much everyone knows what a hashtag is these days, but it helps to delve in and understand their purpose within Twitter. Twitter receives millions of new tweets every day, making the task of categorizing all these tweets impossible for Twitter’s employees to handle themselves. Instead, they crowd-sourced categorization by using hashtags, which essentially function as keyword groups. They are simply Twitter’s best solution to categorization and indexation, similar to how meta keywords were used for SEO before Google’s algorithm became more sophisticated.

 

How Should Indie Game Developers Use Hashtags?

People usually fall somewhere between two opposing schools of thought on how to use hashtags in marketing campaigns. One school of thought is that users should use as many hashtags as possible (As long as they’re relevant). The other school of thought is that popular hashtags become oversaturated, and promoters are better off making up new ones for more specific audiences. Each strategy has its own merits, but which is better lean toward? The answer really depends on your industry.

Larger brands are more likely to try using their own hashtags because they have to compete with other brands in their own space. These hashtags often correspond with TV commercials and marketing campaigns. Creating and popularizing a new hashtag takes an entire marketing team, and isn’t really feasible for solo devs and small teams. So in the case of indie games, I think that throwing in as many relevant hashtags is a better option for teams that are short on time and money.

 

These are the types of companies that have to care about hashtag campaigns. Graph courtesy of Talkwalker.

 

How Are Indie Games Different From Other Niches on Twitter?

Indie games are not large brands, they are not like blockbuster games that release at certain times of the year (Like Christmas). Indie Games aren’t bound to fiscal quarters and they don’t compete with each other the same way that large game publishers do. In fact, I’ll even argue that indie games aren’t really competing with each other at all.

Most indie games are significantly less expensive than big studio games. We’re talking about conversion goals of $5-$25 (In game sales or crowdfunding donations) versus $50-$60 for a big name game. For the price of the new God of War game, I could buy or help fund up to 10 indie games. The markets are completely different. Indie developers aren’t really competing with each other, they’re competing with the ever-dwindling human attention span, which currently averages 8 seconds. This is why giant corporations are willing to spend millions on commercials during the Super Bowl just to promote a new branded hashtag.

 

You can squeeze a lot of Hashtags into Twitter’s new 280 character limit. Just make sure people can still read it! Legit Games did a nice job with this simple screenshot.

 

How to Add Hashtags to Your Tweet

Since the indie game scene is much more community-oriented and collaborative than corporate marketing, I say go nuts with those hashtags! Personally, I don’t think you can have too many, but make sure they are positioned in a that doesn’t make your tweet unreadable. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to try making some new and unique hashtags. For example, it never hurts to make the title of your game into a hashtag.

As I’ve said in other articles, the indie game community is very open and supportive. Try all the hashtag combinations you can, and don’t be afraid to keep trying new hashtag combinations on the same content. Most of Twitter is reused content, so don’t feel bad about rehashing old stuff, that’s pretty much all social media is these days anyway.

 

hashtags data by hashtagify.me

Not sure where to start with Hashtags? Try using a tool like HashtagifyMe!

 

Twitter Tutorial Series

Now that you understand the reasoning behind why indie studios use hashtags the way they do, next time, we’ll get into using Twitter’s analytics tools to get the most exposure possible! Please feel free to reach out in the comments if you have any questions!

Why Should Indie Game Developers Use Twitter For Marketing?

By Tim Youngblood

In part one of our Twitter tutorial series, we’ll delve into the aspects of marketing that Twitter is good and not-so-good for.

What Should Marketers Know About Twitter?

Twitter is an interesting platform because it allows users to generate enormous amounts of reach. On the flipside, however, it has the lowest chance of meaningful conversions of the more popular social media platforms (a conversion goal might be having somebody buy your game, download your demo, or contribute to a crowdfunding platform. Sidenote: I’m leaving things like Instagram, SnapChat, and Tinder out of this… yes, people do use Tinder for marketing…)

So what exactly does this mean? The TL:DR version is that if you want to use Twitter as your primary platform for sales leads, you’re going to have a bad time. So what is Twitter good for? Twitter is great for exposure and engagement.

 

Exposure normally gets a bad rap (and rightfully so), but when you’re marketing a product instead of your services, it’s a necessity. (Comic courtesy of The Oatmeal)

 

What Do Exposure and Engagement Really Mean?

These terms both sound like generic marketing garbage you see marketing professionals blab about on LinkedIn, so let’s break these concepts down. (10x! Growth hacking! )

Exposure is simply the act of getting more eyes on a certain page, product, or project (Like your game!). Exposure is great for spreading the word about your game and gathering support. It doesn’t, however, guarantee that these new eyes on your project are the right kind of viewers (In this case, people willing to provide some kind of meaningful support, like buying or sharing).

Engagement is simply connecting with a relevant audience in a meaningful way. This can be getting feedback from people interested in buying or helping crowdfund your game. It can also mean support from other studios or a publication writing about or retweeting your game. For example, I hear about a lot of games that I end up writing about for the first time through Twitter.

 

The team developingWild Mage took to Twitter after their first crowdfunding campaign fell short. After stepping up their Twitter game and using a program called Thunderclap, they reached their funding goal in 13 hours!

 

This doesn’t mean that Twitter doesn’t provide exposure to meaningful users and transactions, it’s just much harder to quantify. Twitter is a gamble with no real risks because the platform is free and with the right hashtags, your tweet can be seen by thousands more people than networks with gatekeeping systems like Facebook and Reddit. Twitter is the best social media platform for something to “go viral” on (Although, Reddit is a close contender). So in a sense, Twitter is kind of like the lottery for social media marketing. It will never be a consistent avenue for conversions, but it’s worth doing because it takes little effort and can have a big payout.

 

Twitter Marketing Tutorials Series

In upcoming tutorials, we’ll get into some tricks for analyzing your data and optimizing your tagging to get the most out of your Twitter efforts! In the meantime, if you need any specific Twitter advice, please reach out in the comments!

Should You Make a Website for Your Game?

By Tim Youngblood

Spoiler alert: the answer is yes. Here is why and some tips to get your own site started! A lot of game developers are using Facebook, Twitter, and platforms like itch.io to host the information about their studio and their games. While platforms like Facebook and Twitter will track referrals, there is a lot of data that they don’t include.

 

Why Analytics Data is Important

When people view your game, do you know which website referred them to your page? What part of the world is that viewer from? Do you know what time they viewed your game? Do you know if they downloaded your demo?

Having your own website where you can implement Google Analytics is the best way to keep track of your data. Often times, you won’t know what data points are the most important for your site, so it’s good to track everything until you know you need it. Google Analytics tracks just about every variable you can imagine and you can track more complex goals as you go along. I recommend starting with the basics, which are already set up to be tracked. These include, pages visited, times of visits, referrals, time visited, and the location of visitors. Once, you start noticing patterns with these, you can change the time of things like social media posting to get more eyes on your game.

 

This is the basic page of Google Analytics. From here, you can track just about any variable you can imagine!

 

Making a Website on a Budget 

A lot of developers don’t make a website for their game or studio because they don’t have the money or time. Building a website that ranks for a lot of keywords in search engines can take months and even years. I’ll get into whether or not it’s worth your time to do things like SEO for your site in a later article. For now, the important thing to keep in mind is that your website isn’t there to rank for keywords (Seriously, PC Gamer writes one article about your game and you’ll never rank 1st for it). It’s there to monitor the behavior of people who are interested in your game to get more eyes on your game and to increase your sales or downloads. If you’re serious about making money on a game, you need analytics data.

 

WordPress’ analytics platform isn’t perfect, but it’s great for beginners!

 

Fortunately, web design has become much easier in recent years with templates and services like WordPress and Blogspot. Both of these services are free and easy to use, I have more experience with WordPress, however, so I will focus on that. I do not recommend using Wix because you have to wait a day or two to make even basic updates on your site. Having a .wordpress.com or .blogspot.com domain doesn’t look very sexy, but they’re free and you can implement Google Analytics. Should you decide to focus more on your website in the future, you can easily convert your site to a normal .com domain. If you think a WordPress can’t look professional enough, you’re hurting my feelings, because you’re visiting one right now…

 

A WordPress theme can make your Dev blog look professional for cheap or free. This is the dev blog for Origin Story (Colors have been reversed)

 

As always, this is not a comprehensive list of reasons to make a website or platforms to make a website on. If you’re not sure where to start with making a site for your game or studio, feel free to contact us or post your game in the comments!

Also, be sure to check out our marketing section for more Indie Game Marketing Tutorials and Resources!