Social Games need seperate marketing
Aug 30 2012, 15:28 | By Entrepreneur
By Jignesh Jain
Social gaming is one of the fastest growing sectors right now, and there doesn't appear to be any slowdown in sight. According to a new report from Parks Associates, revenues in the social gaming market will increase fivefold to $5 billion by 2015.
The Parks report attributes this growth to advertising revenues and sales of virtual items or micro-transactions. These two elements were mostly responsible for the over $1 billion in revenues seen last year. There have been big improvements in the way companies are monetizing these social games. While early entrants often missed revenue opportunities, new game play innovations incentivize players to buy virtual items such as virtual tractors, seeds, or rare swords to build status, improve the gaming experience, or gain a competitive edge.
Furthermore, advertising innovations such as branded games, sponsored items, communities, and 'advertainment' that enhance, rather than interrupt, a gamers' experience will also generate new sources of revenues for game publishers.
Gaming on social networks has quickly become the most visible category of online games and is slowly catching up on smartphones as well. Right now, more than 2.5 lakh monthly active users can be found playing top-rated games from Zynga online or Draw Something on their smartphones.
The most powerful asset of social game developers is the quantity of behavioral data that they can obtain from their games.
The ability to measure the efficacy of different gameplay mechanisms, to tweak game design in near-real time, and to test new models are advantages that traditional gaming companies will never have.
Zynga's huge market share is the best proof of the competitive advantage made possible by properly leveraging consumer data.
So what are the essential factors that would measure the success of a social game?
Choose the right game
Identify the target audience
Social gaming does open up new challenges for marketers who are keen to target specific demographics. In terms of the people that are playing these games, it is a vast array.
Design the campaign in an innovative pattern
Ensure the reward for the user has value
McDonald's got a bit of stick for its Farmville strategy, for not giving users enough incentive to take part—a virtual coffee made farmers work at twice the speed, which wasn't seen as a great benefit. If the users had been rewarded with a coupon for a real coffee, on the other hand, the project might have led to real sales, with McDonald's able to track the impact of its social gaming through consumer visits.
Encourage viral promotion through the audience
Utilize synonymous or seasonal releases to compliment the game or product
Keep it simple
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