5 Ways to Target More Than Just Fun With Online Games
According to a recent comScore report, traffic to free online gaming sites grew by 27 percent in 2008, and time spent playing games increased by 42 percent. It's no secret that the role of online games is growing, and marketers understand that games are no longer a marketing afterthought, but rather an integrated part of an entire campaign.
Before you get started, here are a few important tips you should consider when building your gaming strategy:
1. Determine your audience. Audience analysis is one of the most important tasks when determining what type of game should be developed. If you sell toys to teenage boys, a Mahjongg- or Solitaire-inspired game is probably not the best option. A sports or arcade game may make more sense because teenage boys tend to prefer more action-oriented games.
Hearst Magazines Digital Media always takes audience into consideration when developing games. Over the last two years, it methodically has been creating game centers on its branded magazine Web sites, including Seventeen.com, Cosmopolitan.com, GoodHousekeeping.com and many others. The unique audience for each site and the needs of that audience are considered before launching. For example, while a customized zit-zapping game works well for teens on Cosmogirl.com, it is not really the right fit for women who log on to Redbookmag.com to play games like Mahjongg and Sudoku.
2. Define your goals. Evaluating your campaign goals helps you make the decision between creating one game or an entire gaming community. If you are launching a campaign to promote a single product, event, etc., then one game may be enough to deliver the message. However, if your objective is to drive continuous traffic and help monetize your site, a dedicated gaming community with multiple games may be more effective.
Fandango was looking to create a games center that would contain games and activities that were relevant to Fandango and movies/entertainment. It wanted this site to contain community elements such as creating your own bag puppet (Fandango's mascot), trophies and high score contests to keep people on the site longer and keep them coming back. This type of community-focused site was the best solution to accomplish its goals.