image Great Wizardry, Average Sushi – Global Game Jam 2016 It’s Time to Leave Passive Advertising Behind

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Changing the Marketing Game

In today’s world, gamers come in all shapes and sizes. From the 4-year-old girls playing Minecraft to the millions of professional, working adults who wind down with Skyrim, Call of Duty, Overwatch, Madden or even just Candy Crush, the gamers of 2017 are a diverse group.

In fact, according to Statista, gamers are pretty evenly spread across all age groups, with 29% falling into the 18-35 range, 27% under 18, 26% 50-plus, and 18% 36-49. Throw in the fact that 63% of households have a regular gamer, and you’ve got a huge marketing opportunity on your hands.

63% of households have a regular gamer

The Added-on Ad

No matter what product or service you’re looking to promote, you can bet there’s a game that can connect you with your target demo. And we’re not just talking about plain old in-game advertising, either.

Gamers are an observant bunch, and they’ve grown accustomed to traditional advertising in mobile, online and videos games – advertising that often feels added on and out of place.

They’ve actually gotten so used to these patched-on ads, that many don’t even notice them anymore. And how effective can that be?

Because of this, marketers are having to be a little smarter with their approach. Instead of forcing an ad, making promotional efforts obvious and an annoyance, they’re now working their marketing in more seamlessly — making it a part of the core game experience in a transparent and organic way.

Connecting through Content Marketing

With wisely crafted in-game content, marketers can reach their target demos, build brand recognition (and loyalty) and, often, even clinch sales in one fell swoop.

The key to making gaming content marketing successful is to reverse the age-old strategy of advertising as an afterthought. Instead, marketers need to build the game or interactive experience around the content, with the promotion of their product or service an inherent part of the user experience.

marketers need to build the game or interactive experience around the content, with the promotion of their product or service an inherent part of the user experience.

Just take KFC’s recent Snack! in the Face app launch, for example. Targeted at the young adult/millennial market, the Snack App melds marketing and gaming into one comprehensive experience.

Users can log on, complete fun challenges and win rewards – free snacks and food items from brick-and-mortar KFC restaurants in their area.

But with the app itself free and the giveaway of freebie food, how exactly does KFC make money off this nature? That answer to that is three-fold:

  1. They gain awareness. Consumers are learning about KFC’s snacking menu and the products it offers in a fun and organic way.
  2. They get to upsell. When a user comes in to redeem their free snack, they — or the friends and family they brought along — are likely to make additional purchases, too.
  3. They get repeat business. Games are addictive — especially ones that offer you real, tangible rewards just for playing. Through the game, KFC is building up a following of grateful, loyal customers who will keep coming back for more.

Ultimately, the Snack! App resulted in a 21% jump in sales and saw 330,000+ downloads in just two months.

the Snack! app resulted in a 21% jump in sales and saw 330,000+ downloads in just two months.

Another good example of seamless game content marketing that we helped to deliver is eBay’s new virtual reality store. By making the online shopping experience more fun and lifelike for users, eBay increases the chances a consumer will both 1) shop and 2) purchase an item. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Get in the Game

With the development of more and more seamless content marketing strategies, video and mobile games are going to become an even more integral part of the overall marketing playbook. What do you think the future of content marketing looks like? How else will gaming and marketing come together to improve outcomes and better serve customers down the road?

About Nico
I am a strong believer in the educational and psychological benefits of games. If I'm not writing about games, I'm probably making them.
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