In this article I’ll be discussing all thing Advertising; from what your options are, to where works and doesn’t, and what kind of CTRs (Click Through Rates) you are trying to achieve, with tons of data to look at (hard data is what truly defines the success of an ad campaign).
I intend to focus heavily on traditional online banner advertising, but will touch briefly on other types for you to use as a guide in your decision making.
Three very important terms:
- Impressions: The number of times your banner ad(s) appeared on the page for someone to see. Impressions vary based on how many you buy, and site traffic. (Most large sites sell impressions, while many others sell a percentage of page loads and you hope it’s high that month.)
- Clicks: The number of times someone (or something) clicked on your ad when it appeared.
- CTR: Click Through Rate. The percentage of Impressions that got Clicked; usually less than 0.5%. (Clicks / Impressions * 100; listed as a percent. ie: 0.34%)
An early thank you to Chad Krizan (BoardGameGeek.com’s Advertising Master) and Ray Wehrs (Kingpin of Calliope Games) for their help on these two Articles! : )
“Comprehensive” Disclaimer: with an ever-growing ever-changing market, with endless places you could advertise, it’s going to be hard to be comprehensive. We’ll see how far we can get!
First let’s talk about your…
Advertising Options as a first/second time Kickstarter, with quick suggestions.
- Banner Ads – A must when placed on the correct sites
- Facebook Ads – Strongly suggested when well targeted
- Facebook Post-Boosting – Suggested when used properly
- 3rd Party Reviews – A must, paid or free – (Though not technically advertising)
- Media coverage – Ideal, but never guaranteed – (Not technically advertising)
- Convention presence – Rarely useful for live Kickstarters, do this before and after the campaign instead
- Conventions Advertising – Same. But, a must if you’re at one and have a booth with product!
- Kickstarter Promotion Companies (the ones that spam mail you) – Absolutely to be avoided always
Major Topic: Banner Ads
Banner Ads work. Period. That’s why you see them everywhere you go. The ticket is to put the right type of ad in the right places.
Most common sizes: 728×90 (above); 160×600 (called “tower” ads); 300×250 – sizes in pixels.
Types: PNG (high quality still image); JPG (good quality still with smaller file size); GIF (medium/low quality psuedo-animated image); FLASH (high quality full animation movie).
Guest Post by Chad Krizan!
I spoke at length with Chad Krizan, the advertising guru of BoardGameGeek.com, about this topic and asked him a bunch of questions.
Here’s what he had to say…
Me: Do the still, gif, or flash ads tend to have higher CTRs? Lowest?
Chad: Static ads usually outperform animated ads. However, this is typically because people over-engineer their animated advertising. Keep in mind that the average page view is around 8 seconds, and a viewer may very well scroll away even before then; “fluff” animation at the start of an animated ad is a total disaster for CTR. Chop off those fluff frames and get to the point (which results in a, wait for it… static ad!), or you’re losing potential clicks.
If you do use animation, make it something subtle (motion in the background), but don’t change the meat of the ad. Absolutely do not cycle through a bunch of “fluff” frames that obscure what the ad is actually about.
Avoid Flash like the plague! As of a few months ago, Chrome requires a play button to be pushed on anything Flash, which has killed it as an ad format for as long as that’s the case.
Me: How do you design an ad that generates a high CTR?
Chad: 4 things…
- Awesome artwork. Theme and quality. If you skimp on either of these things, you’re already hurting your future marketing. People’s first impression is simply how it looks, and people click ads for cool-looking stuff.
- Mention of a deep discount, or showing the price in the case of a very cheap game. People like deals!
- Mention of urgency, such as “Final 48 Hours!” or “Ends Today!”. People don’t want to miss out!
- Your company logo, if you already have a good reputation. Of course, this doesn’t help out new publishers trying to break into the hobby, but it can come around in the long term.
Me: Any other tips you can think of?
Chad had a few other things to share…
- High saturation (of ad impressions) is good for branding, but results in a lower CTR as people see the same ads over and over but may only click once.
- Changing your ads somewhat frequently, refreshing the appearance, will increase your CTR.
- Updated ads with urgency or events is great (“Only 48 hours” or “Stretch Goals Unlocked”).
- Hold off on advertising until day 2 or 3 of the project. As organic early funding vouches for the validity of the project to the new visitors.
- If your project is failing, throwing more traffic at it likely isn’t going to help. Ads don’t sell a game; your Kickstarter page does.
- 0.34% is an average CTR for BGG; under 0.20% is bad and needs rework, anything over 0.45% is quite exceptional. (These ratings may be diff for other sites.)
- Don’t bother with “hype” banners before a product is available or before the Kickstarter begins.
Thank you Chad for offering your time and expertise. These tips are amazing!
A closer look…
Take a closer look at Chad’s last bullet point above, it’s the idea that coalesced all this info together to finally issue this KSAC into existence, (advice I wish I had before I had to figure it out on my own) take a look at our guest post on Stonemaier Games’ Kickstarter Lessons here.
- What are your thoughts on advertising?
- Do you notably prefer still or flash ads?
We’ll clip the text here, and move on to numbers, charts, and heavy data analysis in KSAC #17.5 aptly named: KSAC #17.5 Ad Data Analysis.