A guide to selling more

Hi everyone!

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.

  1. 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%.
  2. Make sure it’s interesting, eye catching, and actually showcases what your package is about.

Two examples:
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).

Nice post, but there’s a few things in there I thought I’d address as a seller with some info from the other side :slight_smile:

Firstly, there are much larger studios purchasing assets. Granted they may not be quite technically AAA, but ARK: Survival Evolved was almost entirely marketplace assets when it launched, Conan Exiles uses a LOT of marketplace assets, and apparently Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds also has a lot of assets. These aren’t quite AAA games, but they are far from indie or hobbyists, each making huge millions of dollars and being made by teams of 30+ people. For the most part, customers usually are indies and hobbyists, but it’s not all of them anymore.

Secondly, the reason a lot of assets have more flashy names is because Epic actually have a rule for asset names that is “no generic names”. In practice, they rarely seem to apply it (as there are generically named assets all over the place) but I think a lot of sellers get caught in a trap because they think that means that they can’t use a fairly common sense name.

Regarding the description - there is definitely a limit. We are allowed, at a maximum, 2000 characters (or it may even be lower now) for the product description, and any html code for links (such as the video) is included in this, meaning that in practice you end up with much less. It’s a little easier now that sellers are able to directly edit this information, but it’s still not a very large amount of text. That said, most products that I see on the marketplace don’t even get close to using this 2000 characters and you are right - they don’t cover what the products actually do, include or anything useful. Honestly, the 2000 character limit is very frustrating, particularly with larger packs. Take for instance my own Multiplayer Survival Game Template - it’s impossible for me to get even close to covering all the stuff included in the template in that short amount of space, let alone linking to the video, the dedicated website I have, etc. Very frustrating!

As for showing the asset - Epic are supposed to be enforcing that all assets have one in-engine screenshot at a minimum. Unfortunately, Epic take control of all the screenshots at the moment, so if someone gets through submission without an in-engine screenshot then honestly, the fault is on Epic at that point IMO. On the flipside, the requirement for all assets to have screenshots, including sound assets, is stupid haha.

When it comes to thumbnails and including text - I think the reason a lot of sellers here are avoiding text is because Epic have, at multiple times, changed the dimensions of the images displayed at various points on the marketplace, resulting in text getting cut off when items get randomly featured and stuff like that. Whilst text increases your CTR, having text that is off center and runs off the edge of the displayable area makes the product look very unprofessional, which hurts your product far more than the text helps it, if that makes sense. As a result a lot of people have just stopped using text, at least that’s my feeling on it. As with a number of these issues, sellers are currently having to dodge a whole lot of stupid situations put forward by the marketplace still not really being up to scratch as a platform, and inconsistent/unreliable/changing situations with the content and how it is presented.

Videos is the biggest point I 100% agree with. So many assets have no video, or horrible 7 second videos with no audio. Videos are your biggest selling point once someone is on your page, and not putting some time into on really hurts your sales. That said - the 7 second videos and the 20 minute videos are bad moves too. Even Epic themselves recommend a trailer of about 2 minutes for your main video with longer videos for tutorial content and such. 2 minutes is a good amount of time to convey an idea of your product and why it is great, without it dragging on and losing momentum.

I don’t agree, however, with your point about audio assets using a video with content in it - but that is more from the perspective of having seen a lot of customers who ignore disclaimers saying “this content is not in the pack”, buying it and getting angry and leaving ranty comments and such on the product pages. In theory I think it’s a great idea to have a video for audio assets like that, but in practice, even if only one or two people leave those ranty comments, it hurts your product overall. Audio assets SHOULD have, at minimum, a soundcloud or something along those lines with a decent preview of what is included though.

And finally the tutorials - definitely. The fact that more marketplace developers don’t do some of the basic tutorial stuff still boggles my mind. I’ve been investing a lot of time in my assets, making tutorials covering how to integrate OTHER marketplace assets into my own. This is definitely not something everyone needs to do, but I can say first hand that the more tutorial content you have out there, the happier your customers will be and the less they will hassle you for help, even with very complicated assets like entire game templates. But at a base line, covering how to set up your product in a project and get it all working should be a minimum for coverage, and a video tutorial is infinitely more helpful than a written document. However, it’s also important for creators to make sure the video is watchable (decent audio, nicely paced (ie. not too fast for people new to the engine), etc.).

Anyways, just my two cents offering a little counter to explain some things :slight_smile: Nice post.

I concur with both @PhilipZeplin and @apoisonedgift. I would also add that another way to sell is more is to provide more with Supplemental Asset Packs. There are large number of Modular and customizable Assets that could be extended on with Supplemental Packs to produce greater variety for the Developers. Even if the Asset is NOT Modular or readily Customizable, it can be extended with Accessories {interchangeable parts, materials, other media}, Add-ons, Extensions. I call this Asset Modding. I’m 1000% in favor of Marketplace Support Asset Modding, and I would go a few steps further to extend and encourage Community participation. I don’t purchase assets that are not modular, readily customizable, or have little support from their content providers.

What do you mean by this? As in addons for packs that are already available? Because Epic don’t allow this, or at least haven’t done in the past. There was rumblings of it changing but they were VERY cagey about it and so far I’ve not seen anyone even try to do it.

This is more comprehensive than the guidelines I had in mind for my future pack.

Thanks for taking the time :slight_smile:

3 other things that might emotionally sway / entice more buyers to bite:

Its often a deal breaker if users can’t locate support threads / vendors…
So try to create some active-support threads for each of the product(s).
Also offer advance notice for upgrades to the latest engine version etc.

Submit something useful to Community Tools / Reach out to users first.
For those who reply to threads / help users, great more Karma / Kudos!
But don’t over-push a patreon page at the same time or it gets boring!

If it makes Blueprint Packs cleaner & clearer in videos / screenshots etc…
Remember to turn-off background grid + dial-down spline-curve settings…


I’ve inquired on the policy here with 0 response from Epic :frowning: This inspired me to build a new type Online Asset Store that caters and supports Community-Driven Asset Modding.

There is a notion among many Content Providers that Game Devs only use Marketplace Player Assets such as Characters for prototyping. This is false. We want to use them in our commercial productions to save time and money.

If you’re a Game Dev like me, you desire your store-bought game assets to appear unique and to provide your Players customization options for Characters, Weapons, Vehicles, etc with store-bought assets. This is the challenge. Many of us purchase these types of Assets with intent to modify in some fashion to make them appear unique to our game. This is inefficient and negates the purchase in the first place. You’re back at square one, if you lack the talent to model/code etc.

Overall, This is money lost for content providers. Why not publish Assets such as Character, Weapons, Vehicles, Architecture that are readily customizable and supplement them with Asset Part Packs for further customization? A super savvy Content Provider would even provide an Embedded-able Entity Assembler like this one. If the content provider doesn’t have time to do this, then they provide license to the community to do it, and earn a % of the sales? That is what the is offering.

I’ve spoke about this issue over the past decade or more. I’ve suggest all sorts of ideas to get my point across. . It requires a paradigm shift in the approach to developing content for the marketplace, especially when taking in consideration of the Power UnrealEngine offers. The is lot of Content Creation power in UnrealEngine itself, in fact i would dare say that future version will integrate content creation equitable to 3rd party editors.

Well, there’s a few other issues present here.

Firstly - presently the marketplace already has a lot of issues with customers often buying things without reading ‘small print’ such as whether packs are supported on VR and mobile devices, resulting in unhappy customers that leave negative reviews because the marketplace doesn’t do the best job of presenting important information. As such, I can imagine a lot of creators not wanting to risk going down this road because if someone buys it unaware that they needed to own another package, that will result in all sorts of issues for the creator. The marketplace needs to be laid out in a more user-friendly fashion, or people need to be made more aware of the fact that they actually need to READ the ‘technical details’ section, rather than just looking at the screenshots and video. That said, creators also need to be made accountable as a lot of products don’t even list things like whether they are multiplayer-ready etc. When we submit products, epic have a set of guidelines, but the details in the technical details have, in my experience, been entirely up to me with what I do/don’t fill out and include… which is ludicrous. All blueprint assets, for example, should list the same details so that if someone is looking at two similar assets, they can make an informed decision =/ Add to this the fact that we have a very small space for the item description, and you end up with a scenario where a lot of customers don’t read the information that is important (because it isn’t front and center) and creators don’t list the stuff that may make their product less appealing than a competitors.

Secondly - I think you will find that a lot of the creators on the marketplace are specialists - they are either art guys, or technical guys, or sound guys, etc. In order to do what you are talking about, a lot of the time you need to be reasonably skilled in multiple disciplines to be able to make best use of it, other wise you jsut end up with a lot of pieces that the end user has to put together themselves, resulting in the product not actually saving that much time, thus lowering how valuable it is. In theory, this could be alleviated by creators working together - however, Epic do not allow for creators to share revenue, so you are left in a situation where one (or more) creators would be left relying on another creator to be honest about the sales of a product and share the profit fairly. That’s a pretty big ask for people who are relying on this income to live on.

And finally - as mentioned, Epic have not come down with a hard ‘yes this is allowed’ yet AFAIK. They have said that you are allowed to make packs that rely on the free plugins in some cases… but beyond that their response was (last I saw) “if you do this, we would need to assess this on a case-by-case basis”… Given the amount of work that marketplace content takes already (to ensure the quality, meet epics standards (a lot of which are very counter-intuitive) and so on), the prospect of spending hours upon hours on something to only possibly have Epic say “oh nah, we don’t allow that” is really waaaaay too big a risk for most creators to take.

At the end of the day, there are at least a small group of us who would LOVE to be able to make modular addons for our packs. I know I would be releasing heaps of smaller addons for my Multiplayer Survival Game Template if I could, and new features would get added to that pack a lot quicker as a result, because I would be able to invest more time into them knowing that I will reap some profit from them directly. As it is, I’m left making free updates, with no garuntee that it will increase sales at all, which means the updates are lower priority than a lot of other things. I know that Allar has expressed interest in doing something similar for Generic Shooter as well. I would also have made several packs with other creators by now if there was a better (see also: any) shared revenue system in place - but because there isn’t, and I don’t have anyway to actually ensure that everything is fair to myself and any other creators, the risk is just far too great, so I’ve turned down the propositions as they have come up.

As it stands, Epic’s system means that creators and customers alike lose out because they just don’t have the infrastructure, commitment or even communication to facilitate addons like this. It’s super frustrating, and as a creator who really REALLY tries to ensure that my product is top of the line, with constant updates, lightning-fast support, etc. it’s really disheartening.

Also - your site loaded, but only after about 10 minutes and it has heaps of missing images and such…

I can’t agree that AAA studios don’t buy items on Marketplace. I can’t say you what exactly studios bought my plugins but they made best-selling games which you can buy in physical stores such as Best Buy.