5 Ways to Increase Reach and Interaction Using Social Media
Neal Sinno, Arkadium's vice president of business development, says marketers designing an advergame should follow a few guidelines. They should target the game to the appropriate audience, such as an action-oriented game to teenage boys; define their goals, like if they're selling one product, a single game should suffice, while a continued strategy may include several games; and they should consider the timing and budget, with fast turnarounds possibly requiring a rebranded game.
Engauge, for instance, created an advergame for coffee-shot company STOK of Broomfield, Colo. The maker of the caffeinated drink additive will host the game on its site, which then can be embedded on other sites. STOK hopes its target audience of Generation Y and millennials embed the widget on Facebook, MySpace and professional networking site LinkedIn. After all, it's aimed at them, says Israel: "There's challenges on each level—STOK power boosts, bad guys to stay away from—and the goal is to stay awake as long as possible."
3. Sponsor Applications or Pages Within Social Networking Sites. On Facebook, DreamWorks is promoting a comedy that opens on Friday. As of Monday, though, "I Love You, Man" already had more than 5,000 fans, perhaps lured by the embedded videos, sweepstakes and opportunities to comment.
LinkedIn provides ad-supported applications that can enhance members' profiles, such as the Google Presentations tool that lets professionals upload PowerPoint work or use Google's online application to embed presentations on profiles, Israel notes.
4. Consider Advertiser-Supported Transactions. "How we drive these conversions is by tying the ads to action, tying it to the communication, tying it to the game play," Swanson says. "And if you're able to interweave the ads within the social action, then we're noticing that the clicks are much higher." He points to the conversion rates he sees for transaction-based brands, like Blockbuster and Netflix. If a gamer clicks on Netflix to get more virtual money or points, he converts 10 percent of the time.
5. Create a Brand-Hosted Social Networking Site. Brands are doing their own take on this one, with Skittles.com, for example, dropping Web surfers straight into what appears to be Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. Others are creating social networking sites within their brand sites, such as footwear company Merrell, which reports seeing traffic spikes. Still other brands are exploring something in between.
Israel notes how client NGK, a Wixom, Mich-based spark plug manufacturer, hosts an auto enthusiast social network, ArtofFast.com. The site allows its more than 300 members to talk about vehicles and speed in between reading NGK blogs, participating in surveys and noting "NGK Events," such as upcoming races.