Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tip For Web-Savvy Marketers: Get In The Game

August 23, 2009: summarized from tennessean.com -- Singer/songwriter Joe South wasn't thinking about "Super Mario" or "Madden NFL" when he wrote "Games People Play," but he was certainly on target with the line that said people play games "every night and every day now

There's no doubt that computer and video games are entrenched in the American lifestyle.
Don't assume that game playing is limited to boys and young men wearing out their thumbs on PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo. The gaming universe actually is almost two-thirds of all online Americans ages 12 to 64.

A study done by Parks Associates, a market research and consulting firm, found that 34 percent of U.S. Internet users play online games weekly. That makes online gaming more popular than social networking and online video.

"Gaming isn't just for kids, and it's not limited to boys and men. For instance, half of women 45 to 54 say they play some sort of electronic game at least once a week," Mike Vorhaus reported in a recent edition of Advertising Age.

Advertisers have taken note of this large number of eyeballs, and many have added "advergaming" to their marketing arsenal. The tactic is working.

A recent Nielsen Games survey found that 36 percent of video game players have acted on advertising they have seen in a game, and 83 percent of Web gamers reported a positive association with companies that sponsor free online games.

"Games remain one of the biggest untapped opportunities for marketers, for the simple fact that they are, indeed, engaging, immersive, interactive and entertaining," said Tim Zuckert, president and CEO of Shift Control Media, a creator of branded games such as those for Coca-Cola's "Happiness Factory."

Advergaming takes many forms. Orbitz puts games in its banner ads, and those games have become a leading source of site traffic for the online travel agency. Magazines such as Good Housekeeping and Redbook have added female-friendly game titles to their Web sites. In addition to customizing games such as mah-jongg, Sudoku or solitaire to promote traffic, they offer game popularity rankings, reviews and leader boards to promote return visits.

Progressive Insurance uses games to drive brand awareness. Progressive's logo is part of the environment in the racing game "Electronic Arts Need for Speed: Undercover" and "2K Sports Major League Baseball."

Tactics for all successful advertising in the game environment include:

Start early: Online video that appears before the game starts gets 85 percent viewership.

Keep it quick: Fifteen-second creative units outperform longer versions.

Product placement: Get your product integrated into the game.

Above all, know your audience and the types of games they play. Then you can build an advergaming strategy and become part of your customers' game life.

More at: http://bit.ly/z2BXG

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