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When free exposure goes right, I think.
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What happens when Game Jolt feature your game and a big Youtuber finds it? Here I will try to show all the stats and give some tips for indie developers so they can increase their userbase!
Remember, this is my 'case'! I'm only spreading my story here!
First of all, I will speak a little about me.
Hi! My name is Rodolfo and I'm a game developer from Brazil.
In August of 2015 I participated in a Game Jam / Competition hosted on the forum GameDev.net, I had 7 days to create a game with the theme "death is useful". I ended up with my little game Try. Die. Repeat. and I won the first place \o/
At the 7th day of the game jam, I published my game on Game Jolt, after that it went crazy! it was on the home page all the day and I started to receive a lot of feedbacks, videos, ratings, everything... I was really happy because all the feedback was very positive! with it, I started to mail a lot of Youtubers about the game, etc... I tried to find channels which the game could fit.
 
Image: Initial days after put it on Game Jolt
One big Youtuber from Brazil (3 million subs) answered my email and played it! after that, a bunch of smaller Youtubers tried it too. It gave a good boost on the Game Jolt page and on the IndieDB page.
Almost 2 months after the release on the Game Jolt, Pewdiepie played it, I think he found it in his forum, because I posted it there and it received a lot of view / bumps... with the video the stats went crazy again! Pewdiepie didn't put the link of the game, so few people tried to play it, but my website went crazy :D
 
Image: month of October when Pewdiepie played the game.
After all, the Game Jolt page was getting 100 plays and the website 40 new visitors every day... then, BOOM again! Game Jolt featured the game on their Homepage and Markiplier played it, exactly 1 year after the launch.
 
Image: Google Trends since the launch
When I saw the video made by Markiplier I thought: "how can I get even more for this video?" because it was good! then, I put a comment on the video saying thanks to everyone who liked the game and explaining that I made the game in 7 days and I was working on the full version!
It went viral! I was answering everyone and the people was very happy because they wouldn't think a 'game developer' would spend their time answering every question asked on a youtube commentary. I think it helped and some of the people checked the game after see my commentary.
I tried it with other Youtubers (even non-English speakers) and it worked very well too! people seems to like when the dev appears to thanks then :P
I tweeted a bit and I got some good stats from it too... always using #gamedev and #indiedev.
 
Ok, today is 10/Sept/2016 and with all this exposure, I got some numbers from it:
  • 420+ followers on Game Jolt;
  • 100+ subs on the Beta Test mail list;
  • 150+ subs on my youtube channel in PT-BR oO';
  • ???+ videos on youtube about the game (it's a lot D:)
  • 2200+ real facebook likes (I have a little trick for this, if you want to know, ask me... I don't want to create problems here :P)
  • I still have my twitter account with 6500+ followers using a tool wich helps me :)
 
and the ratings are pretty good I think :D
 

My journey:

I always wanted to work on the game, but I didn't have money to do it, so I started to work at 2 jobs, to pay my living costs and save some money to do it.
Now (August/2016), one year after the release on Game Jolt, I have enough money saved and I started to work on the full version of the game which will be a plot driven 2D platformer in a semi-open world.
\o/

My basic tips on Marketing for you:

These are some things which I try beeing a solo dev, it may work for someone D:
1- Marketing since the beginning
You've started your project? Cool! now, start showing it to the world! create something! an image, a gif, spread your cool idea and get people interested! 
If you will wait until the launch to do it you will be flooded with all the games which are being created and launched at the same time. If you start before, your exposure over time will help you!
2- Trending subjects and Special dates
Halloween? Christmas? Pride? Games Done Quick? Olympics? get this and create something mixed with your game, doesn't need to be inside the game... create an image and post it, it will get attention and people will click on the link to see what's that :)
3- Set everything up before it's too late 
Have your website, social profiles, forum accounts, etc. set before you even start! If someone finds your game and want more information? where will they find it? if they want to help you on the beta test? do you have a subscription box already?
Be prepared!
4- Be active!
Always post in your social media, post on forums, create a dev blog and I use a tool which can be called as "bot" :) to follow and dm people on twitter. Really, if your game or idea is cool, you don't have to be afraid! from countless DM or follows on my Twitter I didn't receive a single person cursing me or anything like that... but please, have something interesting at least!
* I know this "isn't cool" but it worked for me D: ... so, sorry? :/
5- Stream and Videos
Stream your development if possible! even if you're shy, try it, the game dev community is awesome! and you can start to build your audience from there!
You don't want to stream? Ok, please, document your development! Record videos from it, it can be useful in the future.
5- Hashtags
If you don't know yet, here are some famous # which can help you:
#gamedev, #indiedev, #pixelart, #ScreenshotSaturday (twitter and facebook)
and on the Reddit /r/gamedev you can receive a lot of feedback from fellow developers.
I really don't know if this post will be useful for someone, it's more a "my journey" post then something really helpful D: sorry!
 

All the links:

  • Website: http://trydierepeat.com
  • Facebook: http://facebook.com/TryDieRepeat
  • Twitter: http://twitter.com/rodolfodth
  • Game Jolt: http://gamejolt.com/games/try-die-repeat/86584
  • Indie DB: http://www.indiedb.com/games/try-die-repeat
  • Pewdiepie Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfmzDY_0bFI
  • Markiplier Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=734zACsliuM
 
~
if you read this far, you're awesome! really thanks <3 I hope you had a good time! 
and sorry for any inconvenience.
Rodolfo Valezin
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