Some more numbers in the end.
As mentioned above, we were advertising OGS Mahjong 0.6 on 16 websites. Unfortunately, we can not estimate the percentage of each site in the number of downloads (we are just now beginning to think about how to track this information), but we know their share in the number of visits to our site.
15.5% of visitors came to the site directly. 11% found the site in Google or another search engine. The remaining 73.5% divided among the various sites. And here we were surprised.
Most visits to our website were brought by the article “5 More Linux Games You Probably Haven’t Played”, which appeared a few days after we released the OGS Mahjong 0.6. We are grateful to the authors of this article for noticing and mentioning our game. They brought us 36% of visits, but we’ve learned about this article about a month later.
In general, after the release of version 0.6 we had the following top ten ways of getting visitors to our site:
I was surprised that the post on habrahabr.ru, which gave us the most of downloads, didn’t bring a single visitor to the site. The reason was quite evident – there was no link to the site in the post.We realized this mistake only recently, and in the post about version 0.7 there was a link to the site, but it was not in the posts about versions 0.8 and 0.9.
With the release of version 0.7 the proportion of visitors on direct links increased to 20%, the share of search remained the same, and all sites brought us 69% of visitors. You may notice that the top ten has changed slightly:
Unexpectedly for us, deb-packages for the version 0.7 appeared on the internet site ubuntugames.org. We didn’t count their downloads when calculating total number of game downloads, but their appearance has convinced us that we should start to publish our own deb packages.
After the release of version 0.8, the proportion of visits by direct links has fallen to 17%, despite the fact that we added a button for site-access to the game. The share of search grew – up to 25%, and for the first time has risen to the first place among ways in which players come to the site. The top ten were as follows:
I want to mentioning separately news on the site ogre3d.org, which brought us 7.16% of the visitors and the site linuxsoft.cz, that brought us 4.5% of visitors. We have no relation to the game-mentioning posts on these sites.
With the release of version 0.9, the proportion of visits on direct links has grown to 21%, while the proportion of visits from search has increased to 32%. 50% of visitors came to us from other sites. The greatest number of visitors were led to us by the post about our game in the FreeGamer blog. In addition, we were finally able to see the effect of presence in twitter and facebook. In general, the top ten ways to enter the site lined up as follows:
We can make two conclusions from the above information:
In terms of new visitors, mentioning in some magazines, popular blogs and sites gives a much greater effect than the forums posts, even on big forums.
In any attempt to promote the game on any resource, whether it’s a forum, blog, or database, a link to the site should present. Don’t forget it.
In addition to attracting new visitors, however, a useful feature of advertising the game on the sites and forums is that you can get direct feedback from users. In this matter, we have obtained the best results at developer forums (ogre3d.org, gamedev.ru, sources.ru), and small forums that were not included in the above lists. Website habrahabr.ru was also very helpful in obtaining feedback. In contrast, the majority of sites devoted to gaming in general, or games for Linux in particular brought a little constructive feedback. Groups in social networks Facebook and VKontakte also appeared useless in getting feedback.
In the end I want to give you another interesting chart.
On this chart you can see how the number of downloads of two versions of the game were distributed among all sites, through which we were distributing these versions. The first two columns represents the downloads of versions 0.8 and 0.9 from our website or by direct links, distributed by us on the Internet resources mentioned (and not mentioned) above. The other – different services and resources that allow users to download the game from them.
A few words about the money.
On our site you can easily notice ad block from Google, as well as Flattr and Paypal Donate buttons. Some readers may seem interested how much money we got using all these tools. I can easily share this information.
So, during the time of OGS Mahjong development we have received:
$ 8.22 with the ad block from Google (threshold for payment is $100, so at present we can not get that money).
- 0.68 € via Flattr (threshold for payment of 10 €, so the situation is similar to the previous one).
$ 0 with the Paypal Donate button (i’m not counting the one test transaction of $10 from one of our team members)
We spent quite a little money on the domain and hosting, and the cost of time spent I do not count at all, since we spend it on what we want to do. But all in alll, I can make a simple and obvious conclusion – the development of Open Source games is not a profitable hobby. At least on our stage. If something changes, I will tell you about it.
The final part.
I wrote this article to share the information we’ve collected and the conclusions made ??based on it. Some of them are obvious, others may be useful for beginner developers and help them not to trigger a backflash we have already triggered. If that happens – then the time spent on writing this article was not wasted. Some may draw their own conclusions from these facts. In this case we would be interested to hear about them.
At this point, let me finish. Thanks to all who participated. Thanks to those who have read to the end.