5 Keys To Successful Game Marketing

Originally posted on IndustryGamers

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube. We all know our consumers spend a tremendous amount of time on these social networks but how do game marketers reach them? Why do some campaigns become a viral tidal wave that takes consumers along for a ride while others barely make a ripple? Click-thru rates continue to drop overall. How has that affected the value of online advertising?

We at the Ayzenberg Group recently wrapped up our 2009 annual invitational [a]list summit presenting emergent advertising and marketing trends to an audience of senior game industry executives. Among what was covered, and for some uncovered, by this year’s agenda are trends being driven by the changing web, the changing face of advertising, and most of all by our ever-changing game consumer.

For game makers and marketer, this is our five easy pieces to catch up on trends, revisit some fundamentals, and reinvigorate campaigns aimed at our savvy consumers.

Social Media

The emergence of Web 2.0 has empowered your consumer. He or she now dictates how your brand is communicated and has powerful tools to influence their social circles. We can ignore this emerging media and continue to try and force the conversation, or we can adapt and engage. The traditional approach to marketing online is done with display banners. At the onset of social media sites we just assumed that these were just new destinations to plunk down our banners. Boy were we wrong! Sure click through rates on the Internet are dropping overall, but on social media sites they are non-existent. Simply put, traditional banner ads on social media outlets don t work. So what does work? As we continue to learn how to tap into the communication power of these new portals, consider these the first lessons learned:

i. Be authentic- Nothing can derail and sabotage a campaign like deceiving your consumer. Consider that on a social site the same mechanisms helping you communicate to so many consumers can turn on you. Once turned it can be an unstoppable sinister force against your campaign.  The risks are too great.  Do not pretend to be something or someone you’re not.


ii. Engage in the conversation- Your consumers are going to talk about your products whether you like it or not. You can choose to let them have their way with your message or you can get involved, inform and influence it.


iii. Add value to the discussion- Adding value can mean many things. It could be as simple as offering a community an exclusive offer such as a discount or coupon.  Even more effective is to deliver something compelling such as entertainment, providing something that engages and in turn evokes a response and desire to share.

Read the rest of Steve s piece at IndustryGamers

It’s About Dialogue

From Media Post:

One client recently tracked the number of visitors who came to a promotional site via a shared link sent to them via email, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc. The company found that over 50 percent of all people who converted came to the site via a shared link. What’s more, the visitors that came to the site via shared links were1.5x more likely to convert than visitors that came from other sources including search.

So what does this mean for marketers First, it means you have to start thinking about how to create content that invites engagement and encourages sharing; shift your thinking from “broadcast” to “dialogue”, and from traditional ad spending or “paid media” to the free “earned media” of shared links. Campaigns that contain compelling offers, entertaining video, games, contests, the ability to create and share user-generated content, and other social interaction features will generate the most sharing.

Like we’ve said before, it s all about the dialogue you have with your users. It’s not enough to have an RSS feed or some random PR updates on your Twitter or Facebook feeds, but instead to genuinely take the time to have a conversation with your users.

It may not be as easy as before, but the engagement and brand loyalty gained from these efforts is extremely valuable in the longterm.

PS3 Reality Show In The Works

Just when you thought we ve seen it all in reality television comes The Tester, a new concept that is holding open casting calls through the official PlayStation blog.

The show will run eight episodes long and will follow the paths of several contestants as they try and land their dream job in the video game industry. Marketer, you say? No.

From the blog:

The lucky winner will earn a contract position at Sony Computer Entertainment’s Quality Assurance department in San Diego, CA, where he or she will get hands on time with the most highly anticipated games in the industry.

The Tester is scheduled to appear exclusively on the PlayStation Network, though no word on whether Sony plans to charge. Our guess is they re looking for or already have a sponsor lined up to usher the new program in.

Even Penny Arcade Is Hopping Into Xbox Avatar Fashion

Penny Arcade, the popular comic strip that stars lovable maniacs Gabe and Tycho, just released a suite of virtual goods for sale on the Xbox Avatar Marketplace.

The release of new shirts and hats for your Xbox 360 selves coincides with the start of PAX, the popular fan-driven convention that kicks off again this weekend.

The threads range in price from $1 to $2, but the exposure and nod to fans is what really counts. Promotion for the goods is prominent in the latest Xbox 360 Dashboard, and it helps lend credibility to both brands in a very easy way, so we recommend at least exploring this opportunity.

Media Is Changing In A Social World

From Creativity:

Mike Hoefflinger, Director of Monetization Product Marketing, Facebook, Daniel Graf, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, Kyte, Michael Lebowitz, Founder and CEO, Big Spaceship and Ben Palmer, Co-founder, CEO, The Barbarian Group join Ad Age editor Jonah Bloom to discuss how media is changing as we become more digital creatures.

Cheaters Never Win

Team Fortress 2 is one of Valve’s biggest games, and is consistently host to tens of thousands of multiplayer matches on Steam.

Of course, with that kind of population, there are bound to be cheaters, but Valve is taking a proactive approach in dealing with them

After some gamers were caught using exploits to further their gameplay against fellow competitors, Valve naturally patched the game to ensure fair play. But it went the next step to actually reward those players who did not cheat rather than just punish the cheaters.

From TF2 official blog:

Meanwhile, everyone who took the moral high road will soon be finding a new hat in their inventory. We’ve also significantly increased the chance of finding any of the existing hats.

Hear that sigh of relief? It’s Valve s customers, satisfied with a quick and personal response on an issue that could have gotten well out of hand. Kudos.

Capcom Tests DLC Pack

An interesting release appeared on the PlayStation Network today as Capcom has taken to bundling eight of their DLC titles into a Capcom Super Pack. The games, which at release cost anywhere from $10 to $20, are now together for $50.

The games include Super Street Fighter II HD Remix, Flock!, Age of Booty, 1942, Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando, Super Puzzle Fighter 2 HD Remix, and Rocketmen: Axis of Evil with the It Came from Uranus pack included.

As video game sales continue to slow due to the world economy, we like seeing the quick action taken in putting together and marketing this package to increasingly budget-conscious consumers.

Video Of The Day: Play Him Off, Keyboard Sam

Today’s video of the day takes the popular Internet meme and accomplished pianist Keyboard Cat and has him team up with Splinter Cell’s Sam Fisher for a creative viral piece promoting the upcoming Splinter Cell Conviction.

The video ends with a promotion for the fan-driven convention PAX 09, which begins today in Seattle.

Oh, that crafty Keyboard Cat, never saw it coming!

AFK: How It Really Sounds When You Play Rock Band

As great as it would be to have a Radiohead Rock Band edition, it s not happening, at least any time soon. Still, you can enjoy today’s AFK moment that looks at how the critically-acclaimed band s music would fare given the Rock Band treatment.

Depressing songs about math and fish get me hot.