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2D Animation Side Hustle - How to Find a Niche Market Selling Digital Characters, Props, and Background Art in the Reallusion 2D Marketplace

My TET Avatar Researching Niches in an Untidy Office.
Continuing my series on your 2D Animation Side Hustle, Selling in the Reallusion 2D Marketplace, in this article I'm going to take a look at niches and why they're important to becoming a successful seller.

I'll also look at some indicators, specific to the Reallusion Marketplace, that can help point you in the right direction of finding niches that are in demand.

What is a Niche and Why Are They Important?

In marketing terms a niche is kind of like a sub category or a section of a subject that you want to focus on. It's not the big idea with wide appeal that everybody loves, it's a smaller, more specific section of the idea that fewer people really connect with.

For example, in the Reallusion 2D Marketplace, Characters are the biggest sellers. Everybody loves and wants to buy characters. They're great! That's all you need to know, characters sell the best, go make some!

There are currently 4413 characters for sale in the marketplace. How will people find yours? Niching down to a smaller subsection of characters is a big part of the answer. That's why niches are important.

A simple example of a niche, that is relatively underserved, is non-human characters, with only 845 listings compared to 3040 Human character listings. Already that's less competition for sales, but it's still a lot of competition.

Reallusion Marketplace first page search results for Australian Animals showing only 4 results are actually related to Australia.
Reallusion Marketplace first page search
results for Australian Animals.
I tried niching down even further, searching for 'Australian Animals'. While I got 613 results, on the first page of search only four results were actual Australian animals, and three of those were human characters.

This tells me there is definitely an underserved niche for Australian Animals. 

It also tells me those developers who actually are selling Australian Animals have no idea about how to optimize their listings for search (SEO). If you click beyond the first page you will find more Aussie animals but they're mixed in with animals from all over the world.

Even worse. If I search just the term 'Australia' in the 2D marketplace I get just eleven results, with only one result of a kangaroo, that wasn't already on the first page of my 'Australian Animals' search.

Niching down is how you find gaps in the market. I just found a niche that you could easily be on the first page of any search for 'Australian Animals' or even just 'Australia' - and those are two of the most generic, broad, top level search terms I can think of. (FYI - There are only four, 2D Koala characters in the Marketplace).

A Niche is Not a Niche Without Demand Because... Sales!

In any marketplace a good niche is one that is in high demand but is currently under served. That translates to, a lot of people searching for a more specific product but not having too many options to buy once they get there.

Finding out if there is demand for a niche in the Reallusion Marketplace is a bit of a guessing game. In my Australian Animals example, it looks like a great niche, with very little competition but there's no way to see how many (if anyone) is actually searching for Australian Animals.

The only certain proof you have that something is selling (and selling well) is by the number of user ratings left on each product page, since products can only be rated by people who have purchased them. It's not a particularly reliable indicator since many people just don't bother to rate their purchases.

On the flip side if something does have a lot of five star ratings then there must be a market because, as  we know, many people don't bother to leave ratings. When a lot of people do, that counts for something. If you actually go and check the reviews on a product, you can see if the ratings are recent by looking at the review dates.

Marketplace Search Results sort options allow you to sort by rating and top selling for various time periods.
Marketplace Search sort options.
Some other potential indicators can be found in the various Marketplace sort options for your search results.

As well as sorting on Rating you can sort on Top Selling for the last month, six months, or year.

Unfortunately all this gives you is an indication of what is likely in demand from your search results. 

Another indicator of potential high demand niches can be found by browsing the 2D Marketplace front page.

There you have access to all the various categories, but more importantly you can see What's New, and Top Sellers in the Trial, Paid, and Free categories.

While the results in these categories tend to be a mix of seemingly unrelated content, picking any one item and seeing if you can find more related content could reveal an opportunity.

Tips on Finding Successful Niches

My first recommendation is to simply look at the content you're already making for your own animations. If you've shown your content around, ask what audiences like about it. If they're drawn to your characters, or really love your background art, maybe that's an indicator other creators might as well.

Obviously if you want to keep your content exclusively for your productions don't put it in the marketplace however, if people really like your style, then create something similar to sell.

Next, you should definitely explore the marketplace, and really look at the potential demand indicators I pointed out in the previous section. They're not guaranteed to find you a successful niche but it's the only real time data available.

It's perfectly okay to make more content for an already well served niche since that is also an indicator of demand. If you want to make your own pack of office workers (a very popular niche, particularly for animated explainer videos) go right ahead since office workers in your art style is a niche unto itself. Maybe your office workers will have wider appeal than what is currently available?

Finally, there's the good, old fashioned, market research method of just asking. Network with other Cartoon Animator users, see what they're creating and ask them what's missing that they'd like to see in the marketplace.

Tip: If you are building an audience, creating animations with Cartoon Animator, why not encourage your audience to make their own animations with the software too. These people may jump at the chance to buy your content and make their own fan made stories of your animations, plus it's another way you can connect with your audience.

Research, Research, Research!

If you enjoy making content and you like the idea of sharing it, with the chance to earn a little extra money on the side, then just upload whatever you like to the marketplace. Make sure you tell people every time you upload something new, get them excited about your latest character, and you might be the next Garry Pye.

If you're looking to earn decent money as a side hustle, or hoping to make a full time living, research is key. You don't want to be wasting hours and days of your time producing content that has little or no demand. Content with high demand sells itself.

In my previous article I mentioned that I only have 13 packs in my own store. I rarely, if ever promote my store yet I consistently make a few sales each month. Mostly my Ultimate Stick Figure Pack.

It sells because I did the research, and I made sure my listing always shows up at, or near the top when people are searching for stick figures in the marketplace.

In the next article in this series I plan to cover some design considerations when developing content that will help you sell more and give your customers a reason to keep coming back.

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