Tuesday, June 8, 2010

WMS Survey Shows Shifts in Gambler Preferences, Part 4: Online Casual Gaming and Social Media

June 1, 2010: summarized from Casino Enterprise Management: -- The 2010 WMS Active Gambler Profile provides an in-depth view of the trends and preferences of today’s active gamblers. Through this report, we learn more about the five forces that are reshaping consumer behavior and the gaming industry in North America. These mega-forces are the economy, changing demography, technology, social media, and values and lifestyles.

As we’ve seen, the evolution of technology continues to be a major force reshaping contemporary life and leisure time. The impact of technology is being accelerated by two factors: access to the Internet and mobility.

Consider these stats: In 1996, just slightly more than one in 10 (11 percent) households in America had Internet access at home. Fully seven in 10 (70 percent) of U.S. and Canadian households do today. The other major driver in the evolution of Internet usage is mobility. One statistic takes even seasoned telecom analysts by surprise: There are three times more wireless subscribers worldwide than landline customers! This suggests, the next horizon line for the impact of the Internet on life and leisure time will be through mobile access and usage.

WMS remains driven to lead the industry into the future by leveraging technological innovations to create new and exciting gaming experiences. For this reason, this month’s column examines a force that is closely tied to evolving technology: the remarkable transformation of media consumption—including the dramatic growth of online casual gaming and social media—and its impact on casino operators and the gaming industry.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/b0w5Sy

The State of Online Video

June 3, 2010: summarized from Pew Internet & American Life Project -- Seven in ten adult internet users (69%) have used the internet to watch or download video. That represents 52% of all adults in the United States.

Driven by the popularity of online video among 18-29 year-olds, there have been dramatic increases since 2007 in the number of American adults watching:

- Comedy or humorous videos, rising in viewership from 31% of adult internet users in 2007 to 50% of adult internet users in the current survey

- Educational videos, rising in viewership from 22% to 38% of adult internet users

- Movies or TV show videos, rising in viewership from 16% to 32% of adult internet users

- Political videos, rising in viewership from 15% to 30% of adult internet users

On the other side of the camera, video creation has now become a notable feature of online life. One in seven adult internet users (14%) have uploaded a video to the internet, almost double the 8% who were uploading video in 2007. Home video is far and away the most popular content posted online, shared by 62% of video uploaders. And uploaders are just as likely to share video on social networking sites like Facebook (52% do this) as they are on more specialized video-sharing sites like YouTube (49% do this).

Yet, while video-sharing is growing in popularity, adult internet users have mixed feelings about how broadly they want to share their own creations. While 31% of uploaders say they “always” place restrictions on who can access their videos, 50% say they “never” restrict access. The remaining 19% fall somewhere in the middle. And while there is almost universal appreciation for the ease with which video-sharing sites allow uploaders to share video with family and friends, a considerable number (35%) also feel they should be more careful about what they post.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/9ntnlL

Online Media Tracking Methodology for Social Media

May 25, 2010: summarized from ClickZ -- Many marketers still think they can't track social media marketing ROI (define). They say it's so new and hard to define that the old metrics and tracking technologies just can't be applied. This widespread perception is reflected by comments in major publications (I have taken out their real names, but I assure you the quotes are real and recent):

"The problem with trying to determine ROI for social media is you are trying to put numeric quantities around human interactions and conversations, which are not quantifiable...What you're trying to do is assign multiple choice scoring to an essay question. It's not possible." -Principal, social media marketing agency

[Figuring out the ROI of social media] "is the million dollar question." -Director of corporate branding, major retailer

However, as a person coming from the online media world, I never accepted that. When it comes to online, everything can and should be tracked.

You can track social media ROI just like online media and search, and even layer on a few extras!

The difference is that, unlike paid search, online media, and other online marketing tactics, the social channel can take more time to mature and the results can take longer to be realized.

For many of the metrics, there is no need to reinvent the wheel - one can look at the same performance indicators in use for online today such as clicks, cost per click, leads, cost per lead, and even revenue.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/9EfDYq

Are You Engaging or Interrupting?

Remember back when a marketer's primary goal was to catch the attention of consumers in any possible way? The content of the ad, brochure or sign seemed to take a backseat to the need for catching a consumer's attention for just a split second. The methods used to grab attention became more and more extreme as shock advertising, sexual innuendos and outrageous imagery took center stage in marketing.

However, with the growth of social media, marketers have learned that simply interrupting the online conversation doesn't always lead to sales, nor does it lead to positive word-of-mouth marketing. Now the goal of marketing is engagement. Consumers want to know, what are you going to tell them after you interrupt them?

Marketers have discovered that there is tremendous value in building brands and relationships through long-term social media strategy vs. short-term direct-marketing tactics on social websites.

Does that mean there is no place for interruption marketing on the social web? No. Carefully executed direct-marketing tactics that truly add value to the user experience online can be very successful.

For example, Dell's @delloutlet Twitter stream is very popular and features a great deal of tweets announcing discounts and special offers. However, the people who follow the @delloutlet stream know what kind of content they're going to get before they choose to follow it. Because of their expectations from the brand, they don't turn away from the direct-marketing messages they find there. They actively choose to follow that Twitter stream because they want to be interrupted with the valuable offers communicated there.

Interruption and engagement marketing can coexist online, but it takes research and planning to achieve success.

You need to understand who your customers and target audiences are, and what they want from your brand and your business. Then you can create the kind of content and conversations your target audiences want and need on the social web destinations where they already spend time.

Lastly, create niche content on your own branded online destinations that directly meets the wants and needs of the target audiences, and invite them to spend time on those destinations to access more valuable content.

The key is to surround consumers with branded online experiences and let them select how they want to interact with your brand. By cross-promoting your efforts and executing a fully integrated marketing plan, consumers are able to connect with you and experience your brand in the ways they choose. In other words, they feel empowered and in control of their relationships and interactions with businesses and brands. Don't aspire to just interrupt them unless they have already demonstrated their willingness to listen beyond the interruption. Instead, engage and add value to boost your long-term social media marketing success.

Make your marketing messages last beyond an interruption by starting every online marketing brainstorming session with this question: Once we interrupt the audience and get their attention, what are we going to tell them to keep them engaged?

Read more at: http://bit.ly/9VsJ2X

Executives Outline Future of Server-Based Gaming

May 26, 2010: summarized from Las Vegas Sun -- Server-based gaming has been the most talked about technology among gaming manufacturers in recent years, but the technology will be a gradual change for both customers and operators, slot tech executives said Tuesday at the Gaming Tech Summit at Green Valley Ranch.

Server-based gaming allows casinos to have slots connected through a network. It lets operators change themes, promotions, the amount that can be wagered and the hold at a touch of a few keystrokes.

CityCenter’s Aria paved the way for deploying server-based gaming in newly built casinos. Almost half of the Aria casino floor is server-based, totaling about 900 games from manufacturers International Game Technology and WMS Gaming. The floor will have 100 percent server-based gaming by the summer as more manufacturers receive regulatory approval on their games.

While executives say Aria represents the future of server-based gaming, it isn’t realistic for all operators. Wiring an existing casino floor to accommodate the technology is an expensive proposition for casinos hard-pressed for cash in today’s economy.

“It comes down to us being flexible manufacturers. Let’s build it on your terms,” said Mark Pace, WMS vice president of network gaming.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/93rJM2