Facebook Ads Considered By Coke, Ford

Facebook’s stock continues to under perform expectations and one of the major elements that will right that is paid advertising. In mixed response, Ford and Coca-Cola are looking to expand on the social network, while Dannon USA is doing the opposite.

Coca-Cola CMO Joe Tripodi commented at the Cannes Lions ad conference that, “If we can get 40-million-plus fans, or even some subset of them, talking positively about the things we’re doing, ultimately that’s a good thing for us.”

Meanwhile, Ford group VP of global sales and marketing Jim Farley, said that the company plans to expand its use of advertising on Facebook a few weeks after rival General Motors said that it planned to stop advertising on Facebook altogether. “Someone who ‘likes’ you on Facebook is substantially more willing to advocate the brand,” Farley stated.

Dannon’s senior director of public relations, Michael Neuwirth, said that the free company page on Facebook, “has been a very effective way to build community, to find people who enjoy your product, and build loyalty,” he said. “And it can be an effective way to promote coupons.”

“But beyond that,” Neuwirth added, “we haven’t advertised extensively on Facebook from a volume-driving perspective. We don’t think we’ve seen a way to do it efficiently. We don’t think we’ve found volume-driving ways that are sustainable to be a Facebook advertiser.”

Source: Brand Channel

Dead State Reaches Kickstarter Goal, Looks Beyond

The Kickstarter for Dead State has reached its stated goal of $150,000. However, with nearly a week to go, the project still has some bonus goals it might reach. Already reached has been the Weapon Pack goal of $180,000, which which will have 10 weapons and another three picked by users.

At $210,000 there will be areas like a military base, airport, fair and mall, $240,000 will have more animations and allies, $260,000 will add more character customization. Once $300,000 is reached, they’ll add a new area in the City, $330,000 will add pets, and $360,000 will include a mini-expansion.

“Why are stretch goals important Besides adding new features and polish to the game, stretch goals help us recruit new team members and bring part-time folks on full-time, which means more people working on Dead State,” writes DoubleBear Productions. “Additionally, about 8-10 percent of whatever we make goes to fees for Kickstarter or Amazon, so the more we make, the more that we have to offset those fees and spend on the game. We’re going to keep knocking on doors and talking to the press to get as many eyes on us as possible.”

Source: Kickstarter.com

PlatinumGames Writer Talks Issues With Japanese Development

Jean Kellams, PlatinumGames’ international co-ordinator and writer, recently talked online about his theory as to why games fail or succeed on either side of the Pacific. While it is often maintained that games from Japan have a different “flavor” than Western games, he has a simpler way of looking at things.

“The problems with Japanese games aren’t that they are JPN games or that they are Westernized games,” said Kellams. “The problems with JPN games are simple: Most of them aren’t very good games. People don’t buy those. Most games from anywhere aren’t good. That’s why exceptional means exceptional.”

He also noted that the investment issue is a vicious cycle for Japanese developers – without large finances you can’t compete with companies like Ubisoft and Activision, but if you don’t invest that money you probably won’t have huge hits. “Most Japanese publishers/developers can’t invest money/manpower enough to compete with exceptional Western productions,” he noted. “Risk is too high. It costs money and sweat to make things stand out, but it also raises the risk. Then marketing is crazy expensive after that.”

Source: Twitter.com/PG_jp

Step Up To The Magic: 2013 Challenge

Are you ready for a sneak preview of select cards from the upcoming Magic 2013 Core Set and jump into playing a demo of Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 Produced by the Ayzenberg Group, the “Magic: 2013 Challenge” allows you to share with your friends on Facebook to unlock the next preview card and exclusive in-game content!

Click “Share to Unlock rewards” and Facebook will post on your wall, allowing you to add a personal message to get your friends to “Like” and comment as much as possible. You can re-post each unlocked card once a day. The more “Likes,” comments and shares each card receives, the faster you will help unlock the next card!

Once the community has achieved the percentage of shares, likes and comments required to reach the next preview, the whole community will gain access to that new card. Every time a card is unlocked, another new card will be available to unlock, so you can immediately start sharing again! Check in every day to see how the community is advancing, as well as a tally of your efforts!

Not sure what type of Planeswalker you might be? Take this test to find out.


Payment Study Shows Shift To Free-To-Play

According to a report by DigitalRiver supported by SuperData says that $15.9 billion in revenue for games will come from boxed game product in 2012, while $7.1 billion will come from online and mobile. For the latter category, it is expected that free-to-play games and virtual goods sales will make up over 50 percent of online gaming revenues by 2017.

Free to play is expected to be the dominant monetization model for MMORPGs. SuperData estimates that the free-to-play business model is expected to account for nearly 60 percent of all revenue generated by 2015, after reaching parity with subscription business this year.

Projections put the number of mobile game payments at 15.3 billion by 2013, up from 4.6 billion in 2010. In the U.S., social games accounted for 27 percent of mobile payments, followed by casual with 22 percent, and MMO games at 18 percent.


Social Networks And Tweens: Do They Go Together?

Facebook is looking to include tweens in its social network, but such an issue raises unique problems. Along with having to ensure that things are safe for young users, there’s the criticism from outside groups for including them and their limited revenue potential.

“There are a multitude of concerns if not done right,” said Jim Steyer, CEO/founder of the nonprofit Common Sense Media.

Steyer says that social networks could negatively affect cognitive development of younger users. He is also openly skeptical that children can be kept safe; he pointed out that Skout suspended its teen community, noting that it was explicitly set up with a safeguard to prevent interactions with the 18-and-over community (which didn’t work; three men were accused of using the site to further their predator lifestyle).

Facebook already has safeguards in place for its 13-17-year-old users, minimizing who can contact these young users through the platform, and Facebook also prevents their profiles from appearing in public search listings. They could be trying to include an environment for under-13 users to prevent bleed over from users skirting the age restriction.

“Many recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to enforce age restrictions on the Internet, especially when parents want their children to access online content and services,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “We are in continuous dialogue with stakeholders, regulators and other policymakers about how best to help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment.”

Facebook did not say whether they will target the under 13-crowd with ads if they’re allowed on the site. No less than 14 consumer, privacy and child advocacy groups wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calling for any under-13 services to exclude advertising.

Steyer argues that Facebook should develop an extensive education campaign for parents and educators insisting that Facebook is only for users ages 13 and up. “In general, experienced children’s companies like Disney and Nickelodeon are the best people [to develop online social communities for kids,” he said.

Right now, Disney’s online virtual world Club Penguin doesn’t feature ads and Nickelodeon’s The Club carries banners from brands such as Honey Nut Cheerios. TBG Digital recently analyzed 174 million Facebook ad impressions and found that cost-per-click rates for targeting users 16 and older were more than double those for 13-to-15-year-olds, while click-through rates were only 7.4 percent higher.

“The biggest question [for brands] always is: Are we going too far?” said Keith Pape, VP of social, mobile and emerging media at the Ayzenberg Group. “Is this working? Is this safe?”

Habbo Hotel, as Pape notes, was designed to be friendly to teen users with 225 moderators who track roughly 70 million lines of conversation daily around the globe. Still British investigative journalists found plenty of sexually explicit content, which forced the site to review its policies of including users aged 13 to 17.

“Any online community that allows young users to assume virtual identities may be open to abuses, which is why we work hard to keep users safe, filtering content and blocking inappropriate users,” said Sulake’s director of PR and communications Merja Turpeinen. “We also provide education and rapid-response support to users who experience uncomfortable conversations.”

Still, tween social network usage remains in a precarious spot and may be completely excluded if no better options come up.

Source: AdWeek

Google Nexus 7 Details

Google released details for the Nexus 7 tablet at the Google I/O 2012 main presentation. As rumored, the Asus-designed tablet features a 7-inch, 1280×800 IPS display powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 quad-core processor.

The Nexus 7 tablet comes with the 4.1 version of Google’s Android operating system, also known as Jelly Bean. The Nexus 7 is priced at $199 for an 8GB version and $249 for the 16GB model.

To pre-order the device, check out its listing on Google Play {link no longer active}.