Why social games improve engagement
05 July 2012
With more distractions than ever before, it has become increasingly difficult for brands to directly connect with consumers. However, value-exchange advertising to highly-engaged gamers is now proving to be an effective method of communication.
With a projected reach of more than one billion by next summer, social and mobile games have grown to become a mass medium. SponsorPay believes games should be an essential consideration for marketers. Within this domain, the value-exchange advertising format is the most powerful.
It’s simple. Today’s gamers represent one of the largest and most attractive consumer groups available.
• 67% of social gamers play daily; 65% of those play for 30 minutes or longer
• 64% of smartphone users play mobile games daily
• 57% of social gamers are female
• 54% of this audience are aged 22-39
• 66% have above-average income
• 8/10 of the highest grossing apps in the US on iOS and 6/10 on Android are games (as of May 2012)
More compelling is the attitude these consumers bring to brand engagement.
• According to a study by Saatchi & Saatchi and Ipsos last year, two in five choose an online game as a preferred route to new product knowledge – a percentage well above that for traditional media advertising.
• WPP’s Lightspeed Research found 28% of 18-34 year-old respondents were more likely to buy products from a brand that has sponsored or advertised in social games.
Social and mobile games are among the cleanest entertainment destinations available. Games publishers offer pure brand-safe environments and advertisers can target brand-aligned environments – relevant audiences in contextual environments that resonate with a brand’s values and positioning.
Mall World, a shopping and style game on Facebook with more than half a million – mostly female – daily players, has delivered excellent results with cosmetics and fashion retailers as well as home appliance manufacturers. Football manager game, Top Eleven, has an overwhelmingly male audience of more than one and a half million daily users and works well for sports merchandise, cars, electronics and alcohol brands.
Video is huge; it has more than doubled its share of total online adspend in the past four years to a projected 13% in 2012 and advertisers plan to increase spending more than 40% year-on-year. Yet most budgets continue to be allocated to pre-roll, a format widely labelled as intrusive and annoying. In-banner video, meanwhile, is a format that falls prey to ‘banner blindness’.
The beauty of the value-exchange format – whereby players interact with advertising in return for in-game virtual currency or premium content – is its opt-in nature. This ensures consumers are in a positive frame of mind during interaction – viewing completion rates consistently score above 90%. Research by SponsorPay’s BrandEngage analytics team reveals that the perception of a brand as a ‘sponsor’ accomplishes a further ‘halo effect’, enhancing consumer feelings of goodwill and boosting brand recall – more than 50% of users recommend a sponsor brand.
The flexibility of games’ technical platforms allow for more than just video. Engagement campaigns can be interactive ad units that integrate video viewing with social sharing and strategic post-view actions. Voluntary user interaction and the benefits of the value-exchange model drive industry-leading results. SponsorPay’s campaign for a pizza retailer directed consumers to an online store after a branded video and achieved a CTR of 39.8%. Clearly, value-exchange advertising offers brands an effective channel to interact with highly-engaged consumers in a controlled, safe environment.
Projjol Banerjea is vice-president, marketing and talent, SponsorPay