Guess That Fart - Paid Advertising

March 4, 2016, 3:50 p.m.
tags: marketing , guessthatfart

I'll admit, I'm scared. After pouring hours and hours into a project, I guess it's normal to wonder: will anyone like this? Was it all a waste of my time?

When I first decided to work on this idea, I thought it had a lot of potential. When things starting to come together in development, I thought it was gold. Feedback from friends has been good. But can it see success on the Google Play store? Is it going to make any money? Was it worth three months of working almost every day? Should I have given up on it when the Apple App Store rejected it since they have too many "fart apps", and not decided to build an Android version?

On the other hand, this is kind of exciting. I've never really tried to market a product, let alone one that I hope will make money. I've thought out about how to improve search rankings before but never really put in effort to get some degree of success. So I'm going to market the shit out of this thing. I want to see how far it can go.

I released Guess That Fart last week. It's got 9 installs and the same number of 5-star reviews, all from friends. When you search for "guess that fart" on the Play store, it's waay down on the results. You have to scroll through several pages to see it. Clearly this has to change. I'll add this to a list of goals that I hope to accomplish by March 16. (I'm going on vacation then....) The goals are:

These goals might be a bit lofty... I'm not sure. But better to aim high instead of too low. The top result when searching for "guess that fart" from an Android phone has got over 100 reviews and over 5000 installs. (I won't name it since that is competition!) So I think if I accomplish the last two goals, the first will probably take care of itself. From what I gather, supposedly the search rankings are based on a combination of:

Looking further ahead, if you search for "fart games", one of the top three results has over 500k installs, while the other two have over 10 million. Ten million! I think there is certainly a market here. (I probably should have searched this stuff before I made the app... next time.)

But what is the market? I'm thinking I've got to get this in front of the middle school and younger crowd. For me, it was probably during middle school when farts were all the rage. Farting in class, or really anywhere in public... everything fart was funny. Of course I still find them pretty funny nowadays as well.

My first plan of action is to pay for some advertising. I've never done this before and I want to see what kind of returns it gets. I also just want to get the app out there and see if random people install it and like it. I'm going to use two services: AdWords and AppLovin. The former because it is well-integrated into Google Play, and the latter because that is what I am using currently to serve ads in Guess That Fart.

But first let's go over what the store listing (backlink!) looks like. Google Play has a cool feature that let's you experiment with different variations on your Play store listing. So I made a few different versions of the text description, and these will be served to a certain percentage of the store listing visitors. I'll write another post on this in the future if the results are interesting.

The images are pretty straightforward as they show screenshots of the main interactions with the game. I think this is satisfactory for now as the game looks good and the gameplay is pretty self-explanatory.

I do not have a video preview. I may change this in the future. I decided against it for now because I don't want to give away how the game plays before you play it. Though I could see how a video could lead to more installs. Perhaps even a funny video that does not show gameplay but reinforces the kind of humor in the game, like a live-action performance of the game show. For now though I'm going to start advertising without a video preview.


AdWords is nice because it's built right into the Google Play Console (which is where developers manage the store listing). It's a simple process too: they take images from the store listing and generate ads for you. All you need to do is add four taglines that will be used on various types of ads. Google will automatically use subsets of these in various orders to try to determine what is most effective. Pretty cool! Here's what I'm going with:

Next choose the target audience: I'm doing United States and Canada, English-only since that's all Guess That Fart currently supports. Then you set how much you want to spend: How much you'd like to spend, on average, per day. And, your target cost-per-install (CPI).

You set your target CPI based on how much you are willing to spend to get one install. I currently don't quite understand how target CPI works behind the scenes, but I'd imagine it's something like the following. Let's say an app is getting ready to serve an ad. AdWords uses a bidding system to determine who gets to place their ad. With target CPI, AdWords will determine your bid for you. It will do this based on a combination of factors including what the target CPI is, how much you've paid so far per install, how effective this ad spot has proven to be, and more. Presumably, if you have a higher target CPI, you'll win bids more often. Or, you'll get placement on the more effective ad spots. Or both.

I'd be willing to spend a dollar per install right now but I'm going to start a bit lower to see if I can get away with less, at $0.70. Longer-term I'll have to see how much revenue is generated on average per install to determine what I should be spending on advertising. And I was going to do $50 per day but AppLovin has a minimum of $100 per day, so for now at least I'll do $100 with AdWords as well for comparison.


AppLovin is quite easy to set up too. It generates the ads as well, and actually take the assets from your Play listing to do so. So the ads end up looking quite similar to the AdWords ones, just without the taglines. Instead it uses the short description you have defined on the Play store, or none at all. The generated example ads show tablet screenshots mixed in with phone screenshots but hopefully this is just as an example and the real ads will adapt according to what kind of device is being used.

They also generate a video. I don't know why haha. It looks pretty janky, and does not mesh with a game about farts, but it's actually kind of hilarious for that reason. I'm not sure if the jankiness will immediately turn some people off, but I'll leave the video ad enabled for at least a day or so to see how it goes.

This campaign will also be for United States and Canada (actually all of North America since that is the available option). It will have the same budget of $100 per day, and $0.70 target CPI.

Prepare for Launch

My budget limit for this batch of advertising is around $1500, if the ads yield no results. So that gives about a week of advertising depending on how successful the advertising is. I'm not sure when the best time of day is to launch it, so I'm just going to do it now. Who knows, maybe there's a bunch of people who like to download new apps after work on a Friday. Here goes!!!