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Marketing Indie Games on Amino

My experiences with Amino and takeaways from it

One of my college roommates (still) spends a lot of time browsing newer social media platforms- one of them being Amino. I knew it was an app that Gen-Z uses but that was about it. And then another friend said she used it and that there were visual novel and artist groups on it. Now I was intrigued.

I had never heard of people using Amino for marketing, but surely it had been attempted, right? This was a popular social media for younger people. Millions of downloads. It had been attempted, right?!

After hours of searching for articles, threads, something along the lines of “I’m going to post on Amino to promote my thing” I came up empty-handed. So I trenched into uncharted territory. Here’s what I found.

What is Amino?

Amino is a social media platform available on iOS and Google Play (as well as a limited functionality browser version).

Explore your interests, tell your story and find your people on Amino.

Start by exploring a new type of video with Amino Stories to share the best parts of your interests with millions. Then, chat and connect with fans like you in Communities around all your passions.

Our latest update empowers you to create videos, Communities, posts, and quizzes to represent your interests to the world, the fandom, or just your favorite group of friends.

From the Google Play Store
Screenshot Image
Image from the Google Play Store

Think of Amino as a Zoomer* combination of Tumblr, Reddit, and Discord with 100 extra bells and whistles. The app has so many features I’ve yet to understand- even my friends who’ve used it for much longer than me haven’t used all of the features it offers.

* When I say “Zoomer” in this article I don’t mean it as derogatory or inferior in any sense, it’s just an apt word to describe this platform for the younger generation.

Groups

When you join Amino you’re prompted to join groups, much like you would join public Discord servers. These Amino groups can be broad such as Anime or K-Pop or more niche such as Undertale or SCP Foundation. One thing to note- like Discord servers, anyone can make an Amino group and there can always be duplicates. (Amino groups are typically shortened to just Aminos)

While the app is targeted as a general social media app for people who want to meet people with similar interests, a majority of the groups I saw were anime and geek-related.

Most Amino groups operate like subreddits in the sense that they’re communities where you join and share content related to the topic, but with the important distinction that there can and will be multiple Amino groups for the same topic when it comes to bigger areas. After you join a group, you can see the top posts, make your own posts, join public chatrooms, read wiki entries… there’s a lot. To add to this, there’s a lot of different post types.

Posts

Yes, these are all different types of posts you can make. The vast majority of the time you’ll want to make a blog post. Incidentally, when posting from the browser, you can only make blog posts.

I’ve only made blog posts and polls (though I did make 1 story on a blog post I made). You might be tempted to post just an image, but as my art friend explained to me, people want more than that. They want more images, they want context, etc. Even if you’re posting artwork, post it as a blog post and add WIPs. Blog posts are almost always the way to go.

Feeds

In every Aminos there are 2 main feeds- Featured and the Latest feed. The Latest feed shows everyone’s posts in chronological order. When you post something, it’ll always go on this feed (along with everyone else’s). The Featured feed is a curated selection of posts that are picked by the mods / curators of that Amino.

More people look at the Featured feed, so ending up on it is always a good thing. Much like subreddits, every Amino has a different set of rules for posts and getting Featured. A lot of Aminos just pick good posts, so if you spend more than 5 minutes on your post you might get picked.

Different Aminos will have extra feeds you can look through (for example, the Otome Amino has an Otome News feed) but we’ll just worry about the Featured and Latest feeds for now.

Reputation

When you post, log in, participate in polls, etc. you get reputation for that specific Amino. Think of reputation as group-specific karma- you have different reputation counts from Amino to Amino, and at certain reputation levels you level up. That level up badge shows up by your name, which is sort of a prestige thing.

Log-in streaks are also a prestige thing on Amino. You do a daily check in for every different Amino group which gives you a small bit of reputation.

Identity

For Amino, you make a base account and then have a different profile that can be altered for each Amino group. This includes name changes, profile backgrounds, different avatars, different bios, and more. You essentially get a blank profile when you join a new Amino group and have to edit each one separately.

You’ll also get followers very quickly whenever you post something or log in. Followers are basically useless on Amino. Users have a separate feed for following but I’ve rarely seen people actually use it.

Demographic

One stereotype / misnomer I hear a lot is that Amino is an app for kids- that only people younger than 14 use it. While there are certainly some spaces that have a majority of minors, there are definitely places that have adults in them.

As anyone can post a poll on Amino (and users get a small bit of reputation when voting on it), you can easily find out basic demographic info. Here’s 2 different polls I ran from 2 different yaoi Aminos.

I believe most Amino users are 23 or younger with a majority being teenagers, namely high schoolers, who a frequently on their phones with little spare income. Before I downloaded the app, I would frequently be advertised it when I searched for anime-related things like manga on my phone, especially on the Google Play store. My belief that a lot of the users don’t have much disposable income comes from that a majority are teenagers and when I see recommendation posts they’re always asking for free outlets and media.

Tip: some Aminos will have a Polls category where you can see most of the polls posted by every user there. Look in these to see if you can find demographic information and people’s tastes!


Where I Went

Tiny little preface for anyone new reading. I make visual novels and RPGs– all of my games are pretty anime styled and feminine. I also primarily make games with romance in them where you play as a girl or boy and date characters. Sometimes I make girl x boy (otome) games, sometimes boy x boy (boys love / yaoi) games, etc.

For starters, I joined a few general groups that I’m interested in- things like Fate/Grand Order and visual novels. I scrolled through them to get a feel of the place before I thought about posting. A lot of them really feel like an aggregation of Tumblr feeds- people posting what they have on their mind that’s related to the main topic.

To give you an idea of what you might see on Amino, here at the top 5 most recent posts on these Aminos.

Otome Amino

  • Blog post asking for otome recommendations for the phone
  • Blog post asking what otome an image is from
  • Post about them getting into Mystic Messenger again
  • List of characters they like best
  • Asking for feedback on a bit of otome writing

A yaoi Amino (not naming it)

  • Sketch of Deku from My Hero Academia
  • Bio of their OC
  • Wiki entry of all the manhwa they’ve read
  • Recommended music
  • Bio of their OC

Note: On Amino the vast majority of people refer to boy x boy as “yaoi”. I had a handful of people question what I meant when I referred to it as “boys love” in yaoi Aminos.

The types of content you’ll see varies from Amino to Amino and even within the same interest, as different yaoi Aminos have somewhat different types of posts. However, I believe a majority of the content on Amino is casual- it can have effort put into it but at the same time is still informal.

Whenever you’re trying a new social media platform for marketing, it’s always good to see what others post and what gets featured / liked the most. The great thing about Amino is that, for the most part, your posts won’t get removed as easily as they might on Reddit. As long as your post isn’t “BUY THIS NOW ON SALE 10% OFF” then you should be fine. Posts with more effort put into them (namely longer blog posts with lots of images) do best on most Aminos. Also, since there’s a lot of Aminos with the same topic / interest, it’s not uncommon to repost the same post in multiple groups- this is normal!

Example of how I posted the same post in 2 different yaoi Aminos at the same time and both featured it

There were 3 main groups of Aminos I joined:

  • Art Aminos
  • Yaoi Aminos
  • Otome & VN Aminos

I joined 3 anime art aminos, 4 yaoi Aminos (and later joined 2 smaller ones), the Otome Amino, and the Visual Novel Amino. Here’s my experiences in them.

Art Aminos

I’m an artist. I’ve drawn the artwork in several of my games. I also have a Twitter and Instagram that I can funnel people into. So I joined a few art Aminos.

Things to keep in mind

  • Art Aminos are full of other artists
  • In order to get featured, most art Aminos require several WIP shots as proof
  • Don’t post just an image, always post a blog post with several WIPs
  • Don’t post art that’s you didn’t draw yourself, even if you paid for it and own it commercially

For a majority of my posts I would follow a similar format- greeting, banner crop of the image, followed by some WIPs, then the finished image, and “you can also see the full image on my Twitter or Instagram!” with the link embedded on the words.

On some of my later art posts I made the embedded links bit.ly links so I could see how many people were actually going through them- these never got more than 10 clicks each across several Aminos.

If you’re producing fanart, you’ll have much better luck joining Aminos for that series. If you’re trying to post art of your game that you drew… your mileage may vary but overall you won’t get much return on your time unless you post consistently and have great art.

It was true in my deviantART days and it’s still true now- if people see an OC enough that character will become popular. If you have enough art of a character, show it off and introduce people to them! Tell their story, talk about the background, their goals, etc. Especially for story-driven games, people falling in love with your characters can lead to them falling in love with your game.

tl;dr

If you draw art for your games: you may have some luck if the art is very appealing or you have a lot to share. Have a CTA in every post, whether that’s talking about the game or linking the artwork on Instagram or Twitter. Use link trackers to see which Aminos have higher engagement.

If you draw lots of fanart: you may have some luck in art Aminos but most likely you’ll have better odds in Aminos for that series. Have a CTA in every post, whether that’s linking the artwork on your social media or to where people can buy it as merch. Use link trackers to see which Aminos have higher engagement.

Otome Amino

My personal favorite Amino, the Otome Amino is a smaller community that just really like girl x boy games. A majority of the people in this community (as with other Aminos) are mobile users, and thus will frequently post mobile otomes they’re playing or ask for recommendations. The Otome Amino is very shill-positive- posting updates and announcements for your (otome) games is perfectly fine.

I don’t have much to say about the Otome Amino- from what I’ve seen, it’s a nice community and it’s very easy to post there and talk to people. Every few weeks I post game updates/other stuff there and I’ve hosted a giveaway there before. I don’t have any direct stats for links posted there yet, though. Yet.

Yaoi Aminos

Ah, this is going to be a story… this segment will be more casual as I talk about my experiences in various yaoi Aminos (around 6 in total) and then some take aways from them.

So to begin with I joined several yaoi Aminos and browsed around. A majority of them are writing-heavy and manga-heavy. People will write fanfics, recommend mangas and manwhas, draw fanart for gay ships, create bios for their gay OCs, role-play with their gay OCs, and more. I decided that my approach would be mainly posting romantic art and posting polls.

First I decided to post polls to get a sense of the places, as each Amino has some overlap but still has slightly different communities and ways of moderation (I posted 2 of these polls up above in the demographics section). However, I quickly ran into problems…

Problems

First it was the icon. My default icon on Amino is an image of Fidelia, one of my characters who’s an anime girl. Whenever you join a new Amino you can change your icon but it defaults to whatever you set when you made your account. Apparently in some yaoi Aminos they require your icons to be boys only.

No, this isn’t a joke.

So I changed my icon to a chibi headshot drawing of two of my male characters, Kotachi and Ophi. It’s very small since it’s an icon. My profile was blocked very soon after and I received this.

Apparently chibis are considered too “child-like” for most yaoi Aminos and are therefore banned. This includes chibis that are of adult characters (this was clarified to me by a mod, as I asked). So keep that in mind- you can’t post any kind of chibi-like artwork on yaoi Aminos.

I had a few other “scuffles” with rules in various yaoi Aminos… Remember that while they all have similar rulesets, each Amino has their own specific rules. Some of these were posting stuff that was not “out-right BL related” (despite all of these Aminos having lots of general My Hero Academia posts), “not sourcing artwork” (it was a sketch I did for a friend’s BL game), and more… Your mileage will vary greatly from Amino to Amino.

Some of the yaoi Aminos were fine! I could post artwork or about Asterism and get 40+ likes and such. Others were, well, like I already discussed. You’ll find out quickly which Aminos you can vibe with and which aren’t for you.

Things to keep in mind

  • A vast majority of yaoi Amino members read and post about mangas, manhwas, or light novels
  • Romantic artwork will give you the best mileage here, even more so than free games
  • Free games can get some mileage but you need to pair it with romantic artwork and/or a story
  • Similar to art Aminos, you must source artwork- artwork not by you is fine but you must source it (and if you claim its your art then you need WIPs/proof)

Of course, this is mostly conjecture- I need numbers. Was there any way I could say whether or not some of these Aminos actually helped or not and back it up with numbers? I sure can try…

My Test

Around July 20th I released Asterism: Time & Space on itch.io, a free short side story to my current game in progress. It’s a small game about the main character and love interest going on a short date and is playable on Windows/MacOS/Linux/Android/browser. This project was perfect to use as a test for yaoi Aminos as 1) it’s free 2) it’s playable on android and browser 3) it’s cute. Again, I’ll remind you that a majority of the Amino userbase wants free content on their phones, so mobile games work best here.

My posts about this:

  • had a personal title (it doesn’t say “New free yaoi game out”, instead I made it personal by saying “I” made one)
  • started off with a short intro about how I and friends made it along with the logline (“a short visual novel about taking your grouchy boyfriend to a museum”)
  • included screenshots of the cute boys
  • some more details on who made it and how long it is
  • a bit.ly link to the itchio page
  • ended with a crop preview of the kiss CG

I made sure to track the link using a custom link, though I did reuse the same link for 6 different Aminos.

If you are keen-eyed then you’ll have noticed in my previous screenshot of my post that that post alone had 103 likes alone. While my posts gained over 240 likes across all yaoi Aminos, less than half of the people who liked the posts clicked the link. Considering you can like a post on Amino without ever opening it, this is kinda good. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not uncommon for people to copy paste their posts to different Aminos.

However, I only have stats on people who clicked the link, not downloads. The game has over 5k plays on itch.io, so it’s safe to estimate that less than 50 of the people who clicked the Amino link played it.

tl;dr for this test… keep your posts personal and casual. Use lots of images (that you can post). Always have a call to action.


Wrapping Up

Amino is a mixed bag. On one hand, it’s easy to post in most groups and you don’t have to worry about posts getting removed as easily as say Reddit. On the other hand, pitching content that isn’t high quality / free / mobile leads to a lot of dead ends.

As you can see, I only ventured in anime-centric spaces, but from what I’ve seen casually browsing that’s what most of Amino is. If you don’t make anime-esque content, I can’t recommend Amino. Even if you do make anime-esque content, it’s hard to recommend it…

I think, in summary, Amino is okay to use sparingly. Introduce yourself and your project casually. Treat it as a casual thing, not as a business-professional thing. Post polls to get quick feedback. Amino is not a replacement for marketing on Reddit. If you’re making an otome game I’d recommend checking it out, otherwise your mileage will vary.


I hope in some way this was informative or at least a funny read on my struggles. I’m still going to use Amino but only sparingly- I try to keep my daily login streak going but there’s more important stuff to worry about in life.

If you have any questions or suggestions for future articles, feel free to @ me on Twitter or post in my marketing channel in our visual novel developer’s Discord. You can check out my other marketing articles/ramblings in my tag here.

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