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Social Strategy: Five reasons to add social gaming to your marketing mix

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The time may well be right for your brand to consider pairing with a social game. There’s a huge and largely untapped market of consumers who want to have fun but are unwilling (or can’t be bothered) to plug something in to their TV or learn the system requirements for more sophisticated games.

  Zynga, the creator of uber-popular Farmville, was recently valued at over 4 billion dollars, and so now we’re seeing even the more mainstream and established gaming companies like EA evolving in to legitimate interactive social gaming channels.

  If you’re thinking of adding gaming to your marketing mix, here are five reasons that might help you to make the decision.

  TARGETED AUDIENCES: What’s intriguing about social gaming is that players are not your stereotypical, male teens in their parents’ basement. For example, 60% of Farmville players are women (that’s 48 million female players), and many of them are in the 30-40+ age range. Whatever your audience, there’s a good chance you can find a game that fits.

  HIGH ENGAGEMENT: Through games, consumers can interact with brands in ways that are informative, rewarding, and fun. Direct brand engagement can last 20 to 30 minutes - throughout the entire play period - multiple times a week. It’s difficult, if not impossible, for a display ad or social network fan page to offer this level of connection with the consumer, never mind a :30 second commercial.

  UNFORCED ADVERTISING: This depends on the game and campaign, but in-game brand interactions do not have to be invasive. Games provide the opportunity for brands to explain themselves in a way that’s casual or even helpful to players.

  THE VIRAL COMPONENT: Whether it’s when they first sign up or at various check points, games often ask players to share information with their social network. Brands can latch on to these viral interactions to increase awareness and drive action.

  MICRO-PAYMENT SUCCESS: Social games are usually free to play, but leveling up or progression can take time. In order for a player to catch up to their friends, players can essentially purchase progress in a variety of forms, spending $1 or $50 dollars at a time. As consumers open their wallets more often for these micro-payments, they become more comfortable opening up their wallets for games in general - which can only benefit the partnering brands.

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