07 May TRAILERS : WHICH TYPE TO CHOOSE AND HOW TO NAME IT
The type of your trailer will have a consequent importance on its mission, impact and what people will expect from it. Players do not consume a Story trailer and a Gameplay trailer the same way, because they are different by nature.
- Reveal/Announcement Trailer
- Teaser Trailer
- Early Access Trailer
- Release/Launch Trailer
- Gameplay Trailer
- Cinematic Trailer
- Story Trailer
- Update/DLC Trailer (Name of the Update + Trailer)
- Console Trailer (Switch Trailer, PS4 Trailer…)
- Overview Trailer
Nowadays, trailer naming convention is standard and to the point. The name of the game followed by the type of trailer will do the trick and allow you to provide sufficient insight to what your audience might expect from watch it. This is the 101 of “Naming your trailer properly”. If you have no idea what to write, use the most generic title everyone uses.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops – Gameplay Trailer
- Dreams – Early Acess Launch Trailer
- Celeste – Switch Trailer
Through the title, you can add supplementary informations such as:
- Date of release / Availability
- Informative subtext (Something to win, buzzwords, short catch sentence)
Some trailers decides to add “Official” to their title, to make them more legit. Even though the idea is interesting for the AAA and big boys industry, I don’t think it is a necessary element to add for the indie industry. Though it doesn’t mean it would be an error to take this path.
This idea also comes from the film industry, which over-use the “Official” buzzword to gather the most views on one video (which is usually where the production decided to). Films and game trailers with massive budget have plenty of the same trailer uploaded several times on YouTube and others platforms. this “Official” allows to add a little bit more clarity to the mess when you are searching for the right video to watch. It provide a sense of quality and legibility in our minds, which comes handy when you don’t know which one you should click on. The “Official” trailer should usually answer your wishes.
A type of trailer will frame what is going to happen in the trailer. When you see a title like “Broforce – Gameplay Trailer” you expect to see mechanics, combos, bosses and enemies with a lot of guns and people blowing up. Clicking on this link makes you already aware of what you will see (in other words, what you expect to see because of the title). A gameplay trailer have to fill its own functions properly, it doesn’t need to have an emphasis on the story and other ingame cinematics shots (although it can benefit from it depending on the game and how it is played).
More generally, and this is a detail but an important one, it needs to be short and well written. Use majuscules like we all learned to use them, it will seems much more cleaner.
“broforce gameplay trailer” is what you write in your search bar, not what you write as a title. Prefer to use an elegant title like “Broforce – Gameplay Trailer”.
A title is like a thumbnail. It is one of the first thing people will notice, Although it is much easier to make than a thumbnail, it is still as important as one. As I usually write, people judge at first sight, it is how our minds evolved. You might think it is gibberish, but between “broforce gameplay trailer” with a bad thumbnail that seems like a 12years old fantrailer or “Broforce – Gameplay Trailer” using a great designed thumbnail, you will obviously choose the one that meet what you decided to watch.
In the indie world, it is common knowledge that you should not go past the 90 seconds barrier for your release trailer. Although this insight is backed by numbers, there is a little bit more to decode so we can understand when we can break the rule.
Taking the release trailer as an example, often mixing up gameplay, story and animation/cinematic, will often be used a the main marketing content to use and has a very precise mission: Hype you up to consider buying the game.
It needs to be well stitched together without giving up the idea to be entertaining and informative. Nobody is interested to watch a 4minutes video without a very precise reason, so we usually keep it short enough to be of low effort and decrease the boring feeling that build over time.
Every trailer has a reason to exist, and the mission of a release trailer is different than a story trailer or a teaser trailer. Knowing the why allows you to be more flexible in the structure and length. You don’t need a 80% retention rate in a story trailer, because it targets a sub-audience: the people that are REALLY interested in the story of your game. This audience is smaller than the average player you might be targeting with a release trailer. Thanks to this idea, the players that are the most found of your game, are the one that will spend more time assimilling informations. Without a doubt, they are more open to watch a 3 minutes story trailer that might not be extremely stimulating to the mind with slow storytelling and emotion buildup.
If your main objective is to have a high retention and nice engagement rate, keep it short and dynamic, but a short and dynamic trailer is not necessary a great trailer! The 60-90seconds mark is the sweet spot you can use because of the way we are used to consume this kind of content and all the techniques that have been developed through the last years.
As we have seen, naming your trailer the right way will have an impact in the viewer’s mind. Small little thoughts that build judgements and allow them to take action. Moreover, there are expectations from your audience when you propose them a “gameplay” trailer or a “cinematic” trailer, meaning you have to keep in mind to fill these expectations the right way and not deception them.