I’m not a seller on the marketplace, but I do have a lot of experience with it. I have both sold tutorials and plugins to Photoshop and other software while a student years back, and it’s also what I do for a living – I work as an online marketing consultant.
I’ve been continually frustrated by most authors poor use of the marketplace. Both from a Buyer perspective, where I’m annoyed I can’t find the information I’m after, and as a professional where my inner mind is screaming at the bad marketing in front of me.
So with that in mind, I thought I would write a small “guide” on how to perform better on the Unreal Marketplace. Credentials at the bottom if you need them.
Remember you’re primarily selling to indie devs and hobbyists. A Triple A studio will be making their own assets – your primary target group is either indie devs, or simply hobbyists.
If you can accept that, then remember to create and describe your content for that target group. Don’t use overly technical words, if simpler ones will do (or include both). Don’t think “It’ll sell itself” or “the right people will know the quality” – that’s not how it works.
SEO and the naming of your packages
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and is the term for optimising any sort of content for any sort of search algorithm (any search field runs on one). So many people on the marketplace name their content things that will never make them found. The marketplace currently isn’t great for sorting and filtering content, and for most people it will simply be presented as a full page for the category – meaning your stuff is hard to find.
That’s why a lot of people SEARCH for content, instead of slowly scrolling through literally everything on there. But they won’t find your content, if what they search for isn’t what you called it.
Let’s take a look at “Buddhist Monastery Environment”. First off, most people probably wouldn’t search for “Monastery”, they would search for “Temple”. Second, most people probably wouldn’t search for “Buddhist”, but search for “Japanese” or “Asian”. Search wise, a much better title would have been something along the lines of “Modular Japanese Buddhist Temple” (or “Modular Asian Temple”, whatever, just examples). Not the catchiest name, but it would appear in far more relevant searches.
The same applies in your description of your product – use words that people actually search for, and make sure they appear in the description text of your product.
And that brings us to the text description of your product, another field that is vastly underutilised. First off, describe what your product actually does! Too many times have I read a description for a blueprint, that is so set on telling me all the features of it, it doesn’t actually tell me what I can use it for.
To some this may sound provocative, but it’s not my job to read through your description to figure out what your product can do – it’s your job to tell it to me as fast and effectively as possible. Don’t go into detail of your product, before having explained the general use of it. The Able Ability System is a great example of explaining features, instead of what you can actually do with it. These are the first 3 sentences of text: “A high performance, multi-threaded, data driven Ability system with network support, written from the ground up for Unreal Engine 4. Able is an engine plugin, written in C++, for Unreal Engine 4. In Able, Abilities are created from various actions called Tasks. Tasks are then assembled together in the Ability Editor.” Oooookay, but what does that actually mean? Like… what can it actually do?
While here, use it to actually describe everything in your package. No, you can’t have too much text (unless there’s a limit on the Marketplace end of things). Do you have 5 different trees in your environment package? Mention each 5, by name and type. Don’t write “5 models for trees included”, write “Environment includes 5 different tree models: Mable Tree, Palm Tree, Small Palm Tree, Large Christmas Tree, Pine Tree. All trees are textured to fit a spring or summer scene.”
While we’re at it, some info on tris/poly counts and general performance would be great. A lot of assets make it incredibly difficult to figure out what sort of level they’re aimed at – particularly in the “Architectural Visualization” category, where it seems to vary GREATLY but with little mention in the packages themselves.
Show the Assets
Seriously – have a picture that actually shows all the individual assets. It can be incredibly difficult to figure out what assets are in a package, when all you get are nice looking screenshots. Include one (or by all means, more!) screenshots of all the individual assets in your package, so people can actually see what they’re buying.
Thumbnails are incredibly important – it’s the first visual impression anyone gets of your package on the Unreal Marketplace, and is the book cover for your content.
- Use text in your thumbnails. We know from YouTube that including text in a thumbnail can increase the CTR (Click Through Ratio – the percentage of people that click on it) by as much as 30%.
- Make sure it’s interesting, eye catching, and actually showcases what your package is about.
Good: The Desert Oasis pack has a wonderful thumbnail. It looks great, has text that immediately explains what it is as you see it, and properly captures the feeling of the assets and content of the package.
Not so good: The Modular Building Barn is less fantastic. It has very low lighting making it hard to see what’s there, you certainly don’t get the feeling that it’s modular, lack text, and the low-poly style is a bit confusing since it doesn’t correlate with the name at all.
For crying out loud, have a video of your product. I’m, in the big picture, an utter noob at Unreal Engine, and even I know how to make a decent fly-through cinematic.
Still images can be deceiving, and everyone knows this – people want a video to be inspired by what your package can do, and to calm any fear that the images of your package isn’t up to snuff.
Studies from online retail show that having a video of your product can increase conversions by as much as 70% - that means if you’re selling 10 now, without a video, you could have sold 17.
Everyone watches videos, studies even show that around 60% company Executives would rather watch a video presentation than read a report, and Cisco estimates that in 2020 close to 80% of all internet bandwidth will be consumed by video. Seriously, have a video.
What if you sell non-graphical assets? Even with sound, I’m completely sure that having a video demonstrating how (as an example) monster roars fit with characters would up your sales – simply include a disclaimer in the beginning stating that models and scenes are for video presentation only and not included.
Include tutorials for pretty much everything, and it’ll do better. Remember the first point up at the top? Your primary target group isn’t professional game makers who already know it all, your primary demographic is people that are most likely still learning.
Make your product an easy buy, by including simple tutorials on how to use it – yes, for pretty much everything. Don’t write a description that says “how to use it is self evident” or “it’s obvious how to change things”. Make a video that show it.
Just have an environment package? Make a short tutorial on how to piece the content together to create a cool scene. Have an audio package? Show how to sync it to box triggers, or how to layer it on top of each other to create something even cooler.
Have a blueprint? Make a video showing how to use it in an actual game, how to change the various settings, and so forth.
The fact that you go the extra mile will pay off, and make your product a safer buy. In the long run, it’ll also save you time replying to customer questions on how to use your product, and will help get you better ratings (or rather, not get bad ratings based on people not understanding how to use it).
Aaaaand that’s it for now, I’m done. I hope you found it useful. I didn’t go into how to drive traffic to your product off-site and a bunch of other things, because the post would get too long, and frankly, I didn’t feel like spending that much time on it.
Mini credentials for the sceptics: I’ve worked with online marketing and SEO for about 8 years, 6 years with YouTube SEO, and working as a YouTube & SEO Consultant at iProspect for about 3½ years, and I’m a speaker at VidCon. Clients have included Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Ernst & Young, and a shitton more. My LinkedIn will pop up if you search my name (Philip Ask Zeplin-Frederiksen).