Maybe you’ve heard about all the social gaming craze at Facebook – from Zynga and Crowdstar threatening to leave because of a few minor changes to Playdom’s $750 million worth of deal with Disney. What’s in a game? Perhaps, you’re just wondering like everybody else who still thinks that Farmville is a town in the suburbs. Did you know that half of Facebook users are into social games? That’s a whopping major 40% of time spent there!
The Real Deal Behind Social Gaming Advertising
If revenues aren’t going up on social gaming apps, we can only wonder why Google is hot on its heels as it races to develop a social-networking site called “Google Me” – which is supposed to be more social game developer-friendly. Much hasn’t been said though as rumors abound on the World Wide Web. What businesses may not see is a gold mine of opportunity, a new way to market into their customer’s psyche – through placing ads inside social games. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 50 million social gaming aficionado and with Facebook Credits offering a way to buy virtual goods, we can see a future where real goods can be bought from online merchants too.
How Do You Advertise in Facebook’s Social Games
Right now, you can earn virtual currency in selected online retailers to buy stuff, sign up for a monthly service, make local ads, get a survey, or watch branded videos. Here are ways you can spread the word about your business in games:
1. Offer Something
You can use the Offer Wall in a game where you can ask people to get a free trial of your brand, fill up a survey or watch your viral video – in exchange of a virtual currency reward. You need to get gamers’ attention by giving clear and concise instructions.
2. Partner With a Game Developer
What can be hotter than seeing your own brand name in one of those virtual goods up for grabs? Tie up with a game developer to boost your reputation. Make sure that the virtual goods are the digital version of your products in real-time.
3. Post Your Ad
Some games have banners and billboards where you can put a limited-time offer to users at the start of a game. Conversion rate is higher with this type of ad too, where you can get more exposure to potential customers than running your ad among others in the Offer Wall. You may offer discounts on your ad whenever a player clicks on it.
4. Hire a Game Developer
Or, design a game if you’re one. This may cost you more, but having total control on what players see is a win-win deal, so long as you have players more than your fingers can count. You can give rewards or discounts to your users whenever they successfully reach a new level.
5. Hire Players
You can also hire gamers who will be instructed to interact with other gamers on Facebook so they can promote your product or service to their network of gaming friends. This is like word-of-mouth advertising, the digital way.
eMarketer estimates that businesses will spend $220 million on advertising in social games this year and the number will rise next year, excluding ads in mobile apps. So, put on your gamer’s hat on and get ready to play!