According to a recent report by Nielsen, social networking is the most popular activity on the Web, followed by online games, which are even more popular than personal e-mail. What this means for advertisers is that online games on social networks (social games) provide a unique way to reach out to a huge, targeted audience, especially since more than 56 million Americans play social games on a regular basis.
Because gameplay generally involves virtual goods—things players want, but often don’t want to pay for—game publishers have begun to leverage advertiser offers as a way to “pay” for virtual goods or currency (sign up for DVD rentals, get 20 Facebook Credits, for example).
So how do you know if social games are the right advertising platform for your product? Social game promotions work well if you’re:
- An online retailer: Players get virtual currency or goods for free in return for buying your product or making a purchase from your online store.
- A subscription service: Players sign up for your monthly service to get free virtual currency or goods.
- A local advertiser: Using a local pizza shop as an example, players order a pizza online to get virtual currency for free.
- Running a survey: Players complete a survey to receive free virtual currency or goods.
- A brand advertiser: Players watch a short video ad or movie trailer to earn virtual currency or goods.
Oftentimes advertiser offers such as those listed above will be presented to users in an offer wall, like in this example from CrowdStar:
But when it comes to social games promotions, the offer wall is considered the entry-level for advertising on online games. While it’s a great way to start advertising to a huge gaming audience, the downside is that players typically have several pages of offers from which to choose. One offer wall might have 20 or more offers from other advertisers right next to yours, which makes it hard to stand out. Plus, players typically only arrive at the offer wall when they are actively seeking out alternative ways to pay for currency.
In Part 2 of our Advertising Week series, we’ll outline how advertisers can stand out from the crowd and get in front of consumers before there is purchase intent.