21 Aug Press Play
When it comes to obtaining high reach and engagement on social media, we don’t play around. We’ve already discovered how video content is the gateway to engagement on social pages we manage, but once the audio/visual content has landed, there has to be a way that people must then interact with the content. An effective way to increase digital reach and engagement is to introduce online games to boost advertising efforts.
“You must be joking”
No, seriously. Games can be a marketing tool.
The question already stands: would you buy data to view a vid? Probably. But would you buy data for a game? That now depends.
The popularity of Solitaire, Minesweeper, Hearts and Freecell (act like you never played of these) was vast, but was anchored with the focus of passing time. And admit it, even the little Google jumping dinosaur can get you if you’re really bored. But wethinks: beyond providing entertainment, if done well, a game can be a learning or familiarisation tool for a brand or product. By inputting the characteristics and USPs, and using these as testing tools, one can raise awareness and raise loyalty towards a brand. In principle a fun game can be an effective marketing tool, that can provide viable analytics and create a usable database for future marketing efforts.
We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw
‘Ready or not’
The availability of smartphones and digital technologies has opened up the opportunity for newer, more unique marketing techniques. An online game is a visual (video) game that is either partially or primarily played through the internet or another computer network. It can include gifs and 3D models as base artwork and is built on very specific codes. Before Shift Engage made use of gaming functionality, no one in this specific market was taking the chance by introducing games for advertising on Facebook. So we did. Being careful not to crossover to being silly, games needed to be set up in ways that served the brands. Check out summaries of online games we did; for Colcom here and for Lobels Biscuits & Sweets here.
We understood that the principles of marketing, 4ps and whatnot, can be applied to online games. For example, the game must be adequately promoted on various channels, thereafter people should be able to play in different places (on different devices), the product must always be in view with an attractive price to play (free entry is always best). How then could online gaming work for you in the marketing space, where it can satisfy the needs of the market?
AIDA still works folks, now as it did back then. For a game to be a success, there must be an
desire and incentive to play, and the subsequent
action of entering and playing and eventual sharing in social communities.
The ultimate success of an online marketing game depends on simplicity, from the ease of fixing the code, the game mechanic (i.e. how to play) and the capturing of metrics. This makes it easier for you, your developer, and the player, who hopefully becomes your customer through continuous play. Not like we’re trying to turn society into a bunch of gamblers who play games at work…ehem…we just think that brands come alive when they play with their consumers.
While we are fully aware of the dangers of online gaming as a platform for escapism (click here for an article that really breaks down gaming addiction), we think if done right, marketers can avoid the pitfalls. A few rules of thumb (controls, if you’re feeling draconian):
- these marketing games are (and should be) set up for a limited time
- explicit rules and terms and conditions are a must
- while it may be simple, people do have to work for it, so as not to lose interest (revelation: the thrill of the chase extends beyond relationships)
All jokes aside, gaming is a million-dollar industry, and that is specifically because of how it appeals to the human competitive nature, and the innate desire to succeed. As crooked as it sounds, these base emotions are what make it a good fit for marketing. It’s all a game of wants and needs. If content creators and communicators know how to effectively get the essence out of this insight, they can engage with their consumers in newer, fresher ways e.g. additional opportunities for in-game advertising exist, such that while a player is immersed in a game, a specially tailored persuasive message can pop-up. Now that’s a win!