Facebook Doubles Down On Video, Tests New Video Experiences

It’s no secret that Facebook’s video content has been doing incredibly well over the past few months, scoring higher ROI than YouTube and expanding with a greater mobile audience. Today, the social networking company explained how it will continue to increase its video services, particularly across mobile platforms.

VP of Product Management Will Cathcart wrote a detailed blog post that highlights the many new video features that will be coming to the service. The most prominent features include authentic and candid live videos, which have been supported by celebrities, in addition to picture-in-picture, which enables users to view smaller videos on their News Feed as they continue browsing posts.

Suggested Videos is currently being tested as an upcoming feature, which allows users to find multiple videos based on a subject found in the News Feed. Although it’s still in testing, results have been positive thus far, and could indicate that advertisers may be able to use it more extensively, as Star Wars and Discovery have done in the past.

As for the picture-in-picture feature, it ties in with the “floating video” option that Facebook introduced last July. “We all know that sometimes people want to watch a video, but they don’t have time or aren’t in a place where they can turn on sound,” states the Facebook blog post. “To make it easy to return to the videos you’re interested in, we’ve been testing a button that allows you to save a video to watch later, which can be accessed in your ‘Saved’ bookmark.”

There will also be a devoted section for videos on the mobile app, so that users can follow their friends and other video publishers with ease. This feature will also be rolled out to desktop users, since Facebook video is finding great exposure there.

Erik Schmitt, Social Strategist at Ayzenberg, states that  As Facebook becomes more and more video focused we re likely to see more and more brands shift to short-form video content to keep users engaged. Having a solid video strategy is becoming increasingly important. As a result, the impact on users will be evident.  This will change how people use Facebook and will likely keep them on the platform much longer.

The video above demonstrates some of these features in action, so be sure to check it out. It should definitely add a factor to Facebook’s continuing video success.

Programmatic Video Continues To Grow

Programmatic video advertising has become increasingly accepted across both mobile and desktop formats, and based on numbers provided by eMarketer, it’s not likely to slow down anytime soon.

The site’s latest report indicates that the format will continue to see growth, even if automation is playing a part in U.S. digital video ad spending. Both buyers and sellers see the advantages behind it, in an effort to reach out to general audiences.

The report, titled “Programmatic Video Advertising: Poised For Rapid Growth Despite ‘Premium’ Holdouts,” indicates that, based on a previous poll conducted by Digiday, over two-third of advertisers have already purchased some form of programmatic video.


The above chart ties in with those numbers, with Display channels getting the most attention by 85.6%. Following closely behind is Mobile (69.1%), Video (67.1%) and Social (49%). TV and Out-of-home also made the chart, albeit with considerably lower numbers.

Enthusiasm for the format remains at a critical level, but investment has a smaller interest compared to the general digital display market. The report indicates that 59% of the $26 billion being spent on U.S. digital display ads will be done through programmatic means for this year alone, while 39% of digital video ad dollars will go towards its spending.

This trend will grow. eMarketer estimates that by 2017, programmatic activity will reach about 65%, or $7.43 billion of the overall advertising market. The chart below shows a bigger breakdown of just where the growth will lie.

Chart 2

“When it comes to video, programmatic from an inventory perspective is very different,” said Rany Ng, product management director for display advertising at Google. “Just the sheer fact that there’s scarcity in the market creates different dynamics, so we’ve seen many of our broadcasters and programmers becoming much more comfortable with participating in private marketplaces and striking private deals than they are with the open option.”

Buyers still have issues with programmatic means, mainly due to the lack of premium inventory and ad quality issues, according to the report. They wish to see expansion of video ads across various formats, but wonder about issues like audience identification, measurement and targeting; all of which could get in the way.

Still, eMarketer believes that most of these will be alleviated over the next couple of years, with a triple-digit jump in programmatic video ad spending for this year alone, and an even bigger increase by 84.5% over 2016.

It’s still too early to tell where programmatic advertising will end up, but there’s definitely interest in it. More details on the report can be found here.

GamesBeat: Authenticity And User Engagement Go A Long Way

The GamesBeat 2015 conference, where executives and investors from today’s hottest companies discuss video gaming trends, wraps up today in San Francisco. Here are some of our biggest takeaways from this year’s event:

User Engagement Goes a Long Way

John Koetsier, vice president of research for VentureBeat, spoke about how user acquisition has changed so much over the past few years, based on this report.

With it, he explains the importance of user engagement, as a customer is much more vital than trying to get a casual user involved with a game. “There’s no point in acquiring users if you’re not going to engage them,” he explained. With the increasing cost of acquiring users, it’s important to have the right players on board, especially with mobile advertising reaching $70 million for this year alone.

Social channels, like Facebook and Twitter, can also play a part in reaching out to such an audience, as promotions can be made outside of more than just the routine channels. User-acquisition partners can go a long way as well, and timing also plays a part. Koetsier believes that the beginning and end of the year, January and December, can be incredibly competitive for mobile offerings.

Authenticity Plays a Big Part

It helps to be original and unique in this industry if you want to stand out. Authenticity goes a long way.

Twitch’s Greg Vederman and Coca-Cola Company’s Matt Wolf spoke on the subject, both with video game marketing expertise and the knowledge required in regards to finding the right outreach to audiences. Wolf spoke about the previous “game-a-thon” event that Coke hosted last year, which can help improve gaming experiences as a whole.

Creating games today is akin to social media, Wolf said. The two are inextricably linked. Because of that, people are communicating nonstop. Because people are constantly communicating, they are a lot more aware and savvy of what they re being presented. If you build things that are meaningful and have value [consumers can be] incredibly rewarding and loyal.

For Twitch, brands come to us looking for help with authenticity we will tell them the best way to do that for [our] community, Vederman said. There is a challenge that comes with this, though, as some firms don’t know how to approach Twitch and game streaming, despite its imminent success. As a result, certain compromises need to be made to bring a program to life.

Authenticity plays a part when it comes to a product’s image, especially considering the specific demand that comes from a gaming audience. You have to keep it real, according to Vederman. They re going to see through BS real fast, he said. They ve also been marketed to for a long time badly, so they re sensitive nobody wins if the brand brings something to the platform that the audience sort of cringes at.

But to see an idea connect with the audience is really something. To see a brand deliver really cool content in a way that s resonating with [consumers] when you see it and it s working, it excites the hell out of me,” he added.

A passion from creative types is necessary to see these products succeed, both agreed. It s got to come from a real place, says Wolf. Things need to be meaningful, or why are you doing what you re doing

India Can Do Better With Monetizing

With over a billion citizens, the gaming market for India is ripe with potential. Dhruva Interactive and GameTantra CEO Rajesh Rao explains that, especially with the country’s young population, it’s also ripe for massive success.

Part of that success lies in the mobile phone market, with over 100 million phones activated. “These are the building blocks of a market,” said Rao. “The first thing people want to do is try Facebook and WhatsApp but eventually they want to try out (more) games and apps.” The audience is expected to download a whopping nine billion apps this year, making it the second largest mobile ad market in the world.

This makes gaming more accessible as a whole. “When we were growing up, there was a perception that games were a waste of time today, with moms playing Candy Crush and FarmVille, they’re realizing that games are quite alright.”

But monetization is one area that could use a huge amount of focus. The lack of credit card usage for small transactions in part of this obstacle. “There isn’t very much credit card penetration (just 20 million credit cards). But we have about 400 million debit cards, but the majority are just used to withdrawing money from ATMs,” explained Rao. He expects more methods to be introduced in terms of generating e-Commerce.

We re seeing that people are playing. If the pricing was right, and there was less friction, there would be more conversions, Rao said. That s the thing to crack. If we see that change, I think the market size would improve very dramatically over the next eighteen months or so.

Many of the large companies are looking at India and saying, We are having fantastic numbers from here! But they re not monetizing. We just have monetization challenges right now.

More information on Rao’s panel can be found here.

MLG’s CEO Calls For More Structure In ESports

Major League Gaming (MLG) CEO and co-founder Sundance DiGiovanni has been a leader in eSports since launching MLG in 2002 with Mike Sepso. In the early days of MLG, DiGiovanni explored traditional television outlets like USA Networks and he even served as a gaming and eSports correspondent for ESPN2 s Cold Pizza. These days, DiGiovanni is overseeing MLG s rapid expansion for 2016 and beyond. But first there s the 2015 World Finals in New Orleans Oct. 16-18 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

MLG has partnered with the city of New Orleans for the eSports league s 100th event, which features over $500,000 in cash prizes for the best Dota 2 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare teams. Over its existence, MLG has had 50,000 live competitors play at its live events. The league has had 45 million online matches and has 10 million players registered on MLG.tv. And MLG has given out $13.5 million in prize money to date without any fan or publisher support.

DiGiovanni talks about the World Finals and the changes that need to be made within the eSports ecosystem for continued success in this exclusive interview.

Why did you choose New Orleans for the World Finals this year?

It s an iconic city that I personally am very fond of. When we did some research on branching out, the mayor s office and the city wooed us pretty heavily. They made some strong arguments and provided a lot of support for eSports. I have some personal attachment to the city with friends from the area. We ve never been there before. And after years of trying to get it on the schedule, the timing was finally right.

What impact do you feel broadcast TV like TBS will have on eSports?

The Turner effort is going to be a really interesting entrance into the space. We re working with WME/IMG to help support that. We think they re being very respectful of the space with CS:GO in this first initiative. My hope is that they ll do it right. They have great people attached to it both on the Turner side and IMG is very passionate about it. It s not just shoehorning an event into a shorter TV format. It s coming at it with a bigger plan for digital and TV. Every indicator to me is that this is going to be done very well.

How has MLG s involvement With ESPN on the X-Games evolved?

TV can be complimentary to eSports, but what we do is so global. Our audience started with a digital experience that s accessible anywhere you are. We have 200 countries tuning in to events on MLG.tv. What we try to do with ESPN and other future TV partners is create a complimentary TV experience that s something special that has a higher quality and more polished broadcast that s more traditional to what Fox Sports or ESPN does. But you can t cut off your international fans. It needs to feed into that global audience. So you need to create a slick TV broadcast and push that out to digital outlets as well. Those two things together give a tremendous experience to the viewer at home.

TV is extremely complicated and it s not an end-all, be-all. As more people move away from subscriptions and cable providers, maybe we can help some of those broadcasters create an experience for viewers. Our goal is always to put on a show that is tailored to our audience and offer great competition. What we do translates to TV very well, but it doesn t rely on TV.

What role do you see sports arenas playing for MLG moving forward?

Stadium shows are a lot of fun. The challenge is that our experience is a little different and stadiums create challenges in hosting an event. There will be a couple of MLG stadium events next year. But we will also have open events where it s more in line with what we ve seen historically with big stages for the games as well as experiences for the fans and brands. Those experiences take up more square footage than what s available in a lot of stadiums. When we look at basketball arenas, it creates a whole other set of problems, but also opportunities. We ll balance it out with the style of events we ve done and grow our audience to give fans an opportunity to have an event in a stadium with 15,000 fans. We ve never done it to that scale before. We re going to have to find a balance there. You ll see us with a calendar of events next year far larger than we ve ever attempted. We ve done 11 events before, but we re doing far more next year.

What are your thoughts on drug testing in eSports?

It s a tricky question. I don t want to see people get an unfair advantage, but we live in a world where Adderall prescriptions are easy to get. The challenge is if you have a league and a structure where there s an attached paycheck and a guarantee, you re going to have to go on a case by case testing of players and validating whether they have prescriptions. One thing I m concerned about is that I m afraid some players who don t have Adderall are going to go out and get a prescription. We have to be concerned about the health and safety of our players, but there is a lot of grey area around the topic. I m not sure if any one policy is going to fix everything. I hope it s more than just posturing to players coming out to saying they were on something. The number one thing we can do is educating and teaching players — and aspiring players — about the risks associated with abusing prescriptions for a competitive advantage.

What are your thoughts on betting and Fantasy eSports, especially with FanDuel and DraftKings now in the mix?

There are a lot of challenges there. Anything that gets to scale, you e going to see wagering. We ve had discussions with all of those companies, and with proper involvement and proper awareness it can be a great interaction with community. I don t want to see companies try to make a quick buck and not try to respect the space. Everyone s trying to grow the business. My hope that this doesn t become a distraction or a negative, and that the players in the wagering and fantasy sports space add to the opportunities for the players and fans. So far, in my conversations, I feel pretty god about their initial approach. I don t think it s going anywhere. You can t put your head in the sand. You have to be proactive and have these companies not be predatory and instead open up more opportunities for people to enjoy eSports.

What changes do you think need to be made to the current eSports ecosystem to prevent match throwing like we ve seen in Korea with StarCraft II?

The history of eSports is one-off events and players having to travel 40 to 50 weeks a year chasing paychecks. We need more league structure like Turner or our Call of Duty league. We need things in place where players know it s not about making a quick buck, but there s long-term livelihood and throwing a match would be a death blow to be a pro in the league. We need things like a structured league with guaranteed player salaries and a cohesive schedule with international travel for us to get to a place where a player isn t drawn to make $5,000 to $10,000 by influencing a match unfairly. And we need rules in place that prevent players from sharing information or participating in that. It s something that s going to take time. Traditional sports have had to struggle through this and we ll have to struggle through. We need more structure and more predictable schedules, and vigilance all around.

The issue of some players in Korea cheating comes out of not having structure and security. It s important for players to know that if they play well, they have job security. And even if they don t, they have a contract with some terms they can rely on.

What role will MLG have in the new Call of Duty World League?

We have some plans for COD moving forward. We ll be able to talk about it in the coming weeks. We re excited about the global structure Activision is taking. It s another indicator of what we ve done for last two years has worked well. We re going to go bigger.

GamesBeat 2015 For Marketers

GamesBeat 2015 is bringing together many of the top executives in the game industry for two days of an expert look inside the hottest topics of the game industry. The theme this year is Game of Thrones, where the conference explores the shifting powers within the game industry. While there are plenty of sessions to attend, some will be of special interest to marketers. For those of you unable to attend in person, GamesBeat will have a Twitch livestream going throughout (see GamesBeat’s Twitch channel for the livestream). More than that, there will be a special GamesBeat Online, hosted by Gordon Bellamy, during the break times of the physical conference, featuring special guests.

There’s no one better than Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter to open up the conference with a short overview of The State of the Game Business at 9:30. He’s not always right, but he’s never dull and he’ll have some interesting insights on where the game industry stands right now, which is something every game marketer should be tracking.

It’s obvious that eSports is a hot segment of the game industry, with rapid growth, multi-billion dollar prospects, and the involvement of major brands like Coca-Cola and American Express. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to see that GamesBeat has multiple sessions eSports, eSports: The Rise of the Giant (9:40 to 10:10 a.m.), a panel of VC experts explores the challenges and opportunities in this fast-growing industry. Later that morning (11:30 to 12:20) another panel of experts looks at what successful eSports companies have learned about hot to do it right, and how the business will grow in the future. Tuesday continues the eSports insights with a panel from 11:20 to 12:10 on The Emerging eSports Community, talking about Twitch streamers, pro gamers and YouTubers and how eSports is expanding around the world.

If you’re looking to find out some of the key strategies being used by the industry’s most successful companies, there are several talks with CEOs that will give you a rare glimpse inside the minds leading the way into the industry’s future. One such session is The Celebrity Strategy at 10:10 a.m. Monday, featuring CEO Niccolo De Masi of Glu Mobile. He’ll talk about the company’s partnerships with Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, and Jason Statham a total of 650 million followers between them. What’s the future hold for this type of game, and where do celebrities fit into games and game marketing

For a different perspective, check out what Nexon CEO Owen Mahoney has to say at 2:00 p.m. on Monday about how Nexon has pioneered free-to-play games and how it continues to succeed, and how its strategy will tackle the future.

The consumer market for virtual reality (VR) is almost upon us, as major platforms begin shipping early next year. What lies ahead” GamesBeat has that covered. An expert panel led by Digi-Capital’s Tim Merel looks at this potential multi-billion dollar segment to see how soon it will get that big, beginning at 11:30 am Monday morning. Later on Monday (1:40 to 2:00 pm), Jason Rubin from Oculus will talk about how to create the best VR experiences. Bringing a very different perspective will be Magic Leap’s chief creative officer Graeme Devine, talking about creating games for mixed reality and perhaps shedding som light on just how Magic Leap is planning to revolutionize augmented reality (AR) and several different industries in the process. Peter Levin of Lionsgate Interactive will also address VR at 4:20 pm on Tuesday, disucssing how VR may well deepen the ties between Hollywood and gaming.

The session at 3:10 pm on Monday should be of special interest to marketers that’s where ex-Zynga SVP Mark Skaggs (who was instrumental in hit games like Command and Conquer and FarmVille) will discuss with this author just how to reach the widest possible audience, and the importance of how game design, marketing, and data science work together to make that happen.

For marketers looking to gain better understanding of international markets, there’s a session about Unlocking the Potential of the Next Billion Players at 10:20 on Tuesday, where Amit Khanduja of Reliance Entertainment discusses the fast-growing market for games in India. Then at 11:20 Tuesday on you’ll find International Expansion Cracking the Asian Markets, where expert panelists discuss China, Japan and South Korea.

Finally, there’s a look at The Supergeek Gaming Future at 1:50 pm on Tuesday, moderated by Chris Kohler of Wired. This will be a glimpse of what the future might hold with new technologies for gaming, and it promises to have some wild visions of what might be.

Skype Discusses Their Approach To The Twitch Audience

Skype has been working to create turnkey ways for those who use Twitch to engage their fans more easily and professionally. We caught up with Skype at TwitchCon to discuss how they have been approaching the platform in this community-centric sense.

“The quality of Twitch streams these days is so high that people are doing anything they can to try and get their edge,” says Skype’s Adnan Jamil Mir. “We feel that allowing people to come into your show in a professional manner where a producer can actually control what happens to those callers is so important.”

Key Stats Behind Social Media’s Explosive Growth

Social networking has come a long way over the last ten years. In 2005, barely anyone managed to use the Internet for communication. Now, most adults can’t seem to get through the day without it.

This report from the Pew Research Center breaks down just how much social media has grown over the last ten years. Sixty-five percent of adults use social networking site to some extent, which is a long way from the seven percent that were using it ten years ago. This is through many uses, such as work, politics, or general social use, along with getting information in vital areas such as health, civic life and dating.


The chart above shows the slow but steady growth for social media, not just with adults but all Internet users. As you can see, both categories increased with each coming year, eventually reaching the high point they’re at now. And that’s not likely to slow down anytime soon, with the continued growth of sites like Twitter, Facebook and others.

As for breakdowns across demographic groups, PRC broke down the statistics below, taken straight from the report:

Age differences: Seniors make strides — Young adults (ages 18 to 29) are the most likely to use social media — fully 90 percent do. Still, usage among those 65 and older has more than tripled since 2010 when 11 percent used social media {link no longer active}. Today, 35% of all those 65 and older report using social media, compared with just 2% in 2005.

Gender differences: Women and men use social media at similar rates — Women were more likely than men to use social networking sites for a number of years, although since 2014 these differences have been modest. Today, 68 percent of all women use social media, compared with 62 percent of all men {link no longer active}.

Socio-economic differences: Those with higher education levels and household income lead the way – Over the past decade, it has consistently been the case that those in higher-income households were more likely to use social media. More than half (56 percent) of those living in the lowest-income households now use social media, though growth has leveled off in the past few years. Turning to educational attainment, a similar pattern is observed. Those with at least some college experience have been consistently more likely than those with a high school degree or less to use social media over the past decade. 2013 was the first year that more than half of those with a high school diploma or less used social media.

Racial and ethnic similarities: There are not notable differences by racial or ethnic group: 65 percent of whites, 65 percent of Hispanics and 56 percent of African-Americans use social media today {link no longer active}.

Community differences: More than half of rural residents now use social media — Those who live in rural areas are less likely than those in suburban and urban communities to use social media, a pattern consistent over the past decade. Today, 58 percent of rural residents, 68 percent of suburban residents, and 64 percent of urban residents use social media {link no longer active}.

Despite this information, however, young adults seem to be the most likely to use social media. Ages 18-29 seem to be the biggest demographic, with 90 percent of young adults using it, compared to 12 percent ten years ago. The chart below breaks down just where these groups differ from 2005 to today, and, as you can see, each one shows a significant increase.

chart 2

Then there are genders. Back in 2005, only eight percent of men and six percent of women used social media. Oh, how far it’s come since then.

chart 3

By today’s numbers, 68 percent of women and 62 percent of men say they use social media to an extent, although the differences are minor in the long run.

But what about education That’s broken down as well, with 70 percent of those with some form of college education and 54 percent of those with a high school diploma use social media to some extent. The chart below shows the differences with the groups, and they aren’t that far apart.

Chart 4

Finally, economics were measured, but, as provided by the chart below, the numbers aren’t all that different between those that make less than $30,000 a year and those that make over $75,000. Seventy-eight percent of those in the highest-income households use social media, while 56 percent in lower brackets use it. That is a 22-point difference, but, again, the increase is about the same.

chart 5

The full report, with even more statistics on use by community and race, can be found here.  {link no longer active}.

Twitter Continues To Expand Video Options

With Facebook and YouTube video services taking off with millions of daily views and a number of brands on board as partners, it’s no surprise that Twitter wants to get in on the action.

The company has announced that it will expand its Amplify services in an attempt to help creators monetize their work through videos posted to the site, according to this report from VentureBeat. Kicking off today, the program will allow video ads to run inside preferred content categories. It’s currently in beta, but could expand over the next few weeks to more advertisers and publishers.

Twitter Demo

As highlighted by the image above, publishers will now have the option of uploading their premium quality videos directly to the site, selecting a few content categories where they wish their pre-roll ads to run. From there, Twitter’s Amplify service will then put together the ads with the right programmers, so that no additional deals need to be arranged with the company.

With this ad system, publishers will be able to make money a bit easier through the streamlined advertising process, even with or without sponsored deals. A few estimates indicate that the revenue split would be along the lines of 70/30, with more money going to the publishers — that’s a higher average than most video sites offer these days.

This “direct upload” process could be a lot simpler for companies to advertise their wares, as they don’t have to go through big-name partners (like WWE, Fox and Dick Clark Productions) to get their video message out.

This ties in with Twitter’s launch of Auto Amplify, a program that allows brands and publishers to create campaigns together. With it, it’s drawn in a number of high-profile brands already, including the National Football League, the BBC and Neutrogena, amongst many others.

Will this be effective for Twitter in the long run While the audience may not be as large as Facebook Video and YouTube — at least, not yet — the simplification of setting up ads without needing to sign any major partnerships with either companies or publishers could be just the step some companies need to move forward. We’ll see just how effective it is as the program moves on in the next few months. Amplification, indeed.

Zynga’s SponsoredPLAY Ushers In Gamified Ads

Seeing ads in mobile games — particularly free-to-play ones— is pretty commonplace these days. But Zynga is about to take advertising one step further with the introduction of gamified ads. The popular mobile and social game company has introduced SponsoredPLAY, an advertising product for social games. With it, in-game brand integrations will be included in certain titles, without getting in the way of the game experiences themselves. The photo below shows some involvement of this, with a salad dressing being advertised in one of the company’s match-three titles.

Progressive Insurance SponsoredPLAY

With this program, Zynga hopes to offer players value in the game they are playing, in exchange for engaging with brand advertisers. But, again, it’s in a non-obtrusive way — and some of the advertising could be rather ingenious when it comes to in-game content.

“At Zynga we believe the next wave in mobile advertising will be SponsoredPLAY. Social games are one of the top entertainment activities consumers participate in on their mobile devices, and SponsoredPLAY offers a new way for brands to reward and engage users in game,” said Julie Shumaker, Vice President of Global Brand Sales, Zynga. “Our new SponsoredPLAY engagement ad products deliver advertisers significant brand lift by offering players content that is rewarding, additive to gameplay and improves the overall gaming experience.”

Some brands are already on board with the program, including Progressive Insurance. With it, gamified ad engagements will take place in a number of FarmVille games, including FarmVille: Harvest Swap, FarmVille 2: Country Escape and FarmVille 2, among others. Social aspects will play a big part with this project, with Twitter integration included so that the games can help “spread organic buzz and increase engagement,” according to the press release.

According to Zynga,SponsoredPLAY beta saw a double digit increase in player opt-in interactions compared to interstitial video ads, five to seven times the engagement of static ads and two to four times the average key brand health metrics like recall, purchase intent and more. In addition to this, Zynga has emphasized the social integration aspect and spoke with [a]listdaily about how brands are utilizing it.

“In some instances, like a recent Naked Juice campaign, players tweeted an image of fruits and vegetables from their FarmVille: Harvest Swap game board with the hashtag #100kcrops. This engagement was designed to raise awareness for Naked Juice and Wholesome Wave’s #100kcrops campaign. In other instances, we may leverage other social platforms such as Instagram or Facebook to drive meaningful social interactions between our players and brand partners,” said Shumaker.

When asked how Zynga approaches these SponsoredPLAY executions to retain the players’ experience of the game and authenticity, Shumaker went on to say that SponsoredPLAY engagements are developed in close partnership to Zynga’s game teams.

“The engagements are true extensions of our games, and leverage the game’s mechanics, design and overall look and feel to deliver an authentic player experience. For our players, SponsoredPLAY engagements feel like a new level in the game versus an interruptive ad — and in turn for engaging with these ads our players are rewarded with new content and sometimes in-game currency.”

“Zynga has had a long commitment to leveraging data and analytics to deliver the most personalized gaming experiences,” said Dr. Amy Gershkoff, Chief Data Officer, Zynga. “We’re seeing that use of data and analytics come to life with the launch of SponsoredPLAY, which enables us to deliver the most consumer-centric ad experience to players while helping brands meet the right consumers, in the right games at the right time.”

As gaming continues to shift toward a more mainstream market with mobile, non-gaming brands are beginning to see the value of of gamification.

“Mobile gaming is fast becoming the new TV. According to ComScore, in August the average consumer in the US spent more than 630 minutes a month playing mobile games. For brand partners, it’s clear that mobile gaming is now a favorite activity for consumers around the world,” said Shumaker. “For brands, it’s about having a meaningful presence in games where millions of people are playing, connecting and competing every day.”