Insert Coin To Continue: Using Games On Social Networks to Enhance Your Marketing
Wade Johnson | On 12, May 2014
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How much time do you spend each day checking in with your social networks? Odds are good you not only use social media extensively, but you spend more time on it than all other online activities. We spend more than three and a half hours per day on social media, reports Ipsos, which accounts for about one-fourth of the time we spend awake. Companies have long since realized the marketing value of social media but still struggle to make their brands stand out to consumers. Gamification—applying the typical elements of game playing (think scoring points, competition and rules of play) to nongame applications to encourage engagement with a product or service—helps bridge the gap between quality content and user interaction. What can gamification do for your social sites?
Demographics And Spending Power
Perhaps the strongest argument in favor of gamification lies within the purchasing power of those who use social games most frequently. Though millennials spend more time on social sites than any other age bracket, it’s their parents—who have much larger wallets and more discretionary income—who spend more time on social games. Go-Gulf reports that one in four adults over the age of 46 plays social games, a higher percentage than any other demographic. A company or brand offering gamification will be more likely to attract these coveted social users.
When it comes to marketing your brand, what medium should you expect your customers to utilize? It’s a mobile world out there for social gamers, with nearly 70 percent of casual social gamers reporting they prefer to game on an iPhone rather than an iPad. There’s no need to program an iOS app to specifically run on one or the other, but it’s important to keep in mind that the majority of your users are accessing the Internet via their mobile devices. You will, however, have to create a platform that runs on both iOS and Android devices in order to reach a greater market. Develop a game that can be played on a lunch break or on a bus by a smartphone owner and you’ll be more likely to have smartphone and tablet users share the game among their friends than if you develop games better suited for a desktop computer.
Pay To Play?
It goes without saying that your company’s game should be free to play. This does not mean, however, that you cannot recoup some funds. Microtransactions have become the engine for successful game development, allowing users to directly purchase anything from extra lives, to character clothing, to cheats by dropping a dollar or two into the game. Users like it because it lets them game without paying $60 for a game station disc; developers love it because they pull some two billion dollars annually, according to insidesocialgames.com. With a microtransaction system within your company’s game, consumers become financially, as well as emotionally, invested in the product before they ever go to your site’s actual sales page.