Julia Manzerova/flickr

Julia Manzerova/flickr

Marketing a mobile app for kids is a tough task — possibly even tougher than developing one. What factors should weigh in to the development of a marketing strategy?

Developing a mobile game for kids can be a uniquely challenging process, but it’s also one that can bring some real rewards upon completion. Like any app, the success of the game depends on more than just its playability and the educational value it brings to the table.

What’s debatably even more important than the game itself is how it’s marketed. Deciding on that fundamental question of who makes up your game’s target audience is no easy feat, and the success of even the best new games depends on the viability and execution of their marketing strategies.

Let’s use Puzzle Explorer as our example — a game being developed by YETi CGI under [tweetable alt=”[email protected] has contracted @YETiCGI to create an #app, #PuzzleExplorer, to teach kids #gamedesign.” hashtag=””]contract from National Geographic that aims to teach young children the art of game design.[/tweetable]

According to National Geographic’s press room, “National Geographic Puzzle Explorer will encourage critical thinking and basic problem solving skills as it teaches children to design and build interactive puzzles through colorful graphics and imaginative game play.” [tweetable alt=”[email protected]’s #app #PuzzleExplorer should be released in 2015, for #iOS, @Android, and web platforms.” hashtag=””]Its release is estimated for some time in 2015 for iOS, Android, and web platforms.[/tweetable]

Marketing the Game

Although the designers readily admit they don’t have all the answers, they have outlined some problems they face while marketing the game, as well as their solutions.

YETi’s designers first looked at their biggest decision, which was deciding whether they should market the game to kids or to parents — or both!

In determining their audience, they realized that there were two distinct interests for each audience: the parents wanted something educational for their kids, and the kids wanted something fun and entertaining.

But parents had an additional interest — they wanted to find a game that their kids could enjoy while also learning something valuable. To find the products that accomplished both goals, parents try to put themselves in the minds of their children while judging the educational value of the games they were considering downloading.

YETi CGI addressed both of these issues by offering a fun way for kids to learn both game design and geography, and by doing so with fun features, images, and words.

Core Values

Making a list of the game’s core values helped give the designers something to chew on while developing their marketing strategy. The game has definite educational value, which was represented by keywords used in their marketing copy like “learn,” “create,” and “discover.”

The game also boasts entertainment value, which they emphasized with words like “play” and “share.” These words were included in the imagery used on the app’s store page, and helped — quite literally — spell out the game’s values for its audience.

Educational Values and Marketing Imagery

Rather than just assuming that any education is good education, the designers tried to define the game’s value a bit further. They assumed that most parents would have heard of National Geographic and would likely see the value in teaching their kids about geography, which is a secondary aim of the app.

They made the primary image for their campaign one that highlighted the game’s geographic lessons, which are delivered through interactive puzzles and striking National Geographic imagery, while also highlighting the game’s focus on custom puzzles.

This imagery neatly tied the two educational aspects together — game design and world exploration. Designers assumed that the game design aspect of the app would be a bit more obscure to parents, not to mention much harder to explain with a simple marketing image.

Because of this, these benefits were briefly outlined in a second image, paired with an in-depth explanation in the app’s description.

The designers hoped that parents would make the connection between the value of game design and the app’s ability to provide a unique educational experience.

Appealing to the Largest Audience Possible

People who play games do so for many different reasons, based on many different personal preferences. To ensure that their terms and keywords appealed to these unique players and their varying motivations, YETi used categories — some players prefer the friendly, social aspect of a game, some like competing, and some focus more on achieving individual goals and progress.

Relevant terms were accordingly incorporated into their marketing copy so that the audience they targeted could be as broad as possible.

Marketing Your Own App

Another thing that undoubtedly helped National Geographic was the funding that comes with working for a major company. If you’re an independent developer, though, there’s no need to fear: AppMakr’s simple app development platform offers intuitive analytics that help you determine what audiences would love your product and how best to attract them. Check out AppMakr’s site and get started today!