Right Brain, Left Brain Blog

48 posts categorized "Gaming"

23 August 2016

3 different things brands can learn from Pokemon Go

Pokemon go

When Satochi Tajiri first created the Pokemon concept in 1995, and released the first two Gameboy video games (red and green) a year later, he would never have envisioned middle-aged bureaucrats running round London (and every other city in the world) trying to catch them all just 20 years later.

Pokemon Go is rapidly becoming the most successful mobile app of all time. It took just 13 hours to hit the top of the US sales charts, and after a global frenzy of anticipation cut that to just 3 hours for the German charts. It’s lucrative too, topping $2 million of revenue per day in the US market, according to Yahoo.

There are lots brands can learn from Pokemon Go, but here are some you may not have considered…

Lesson 1: Reality trumps quality every time

Remember when reality TV came on the scene? “Proper” TV people bashed it, claiming a lack of production values, wit, etc. But people lapped it up anyway.

Why? Because it broke free of the studio and embraced the rough and ready unpredictability of the real world. It was closer to us and, therefore, more relevant. Pokemon Go has done the same.

In spite of its success, it’s considered a poor game by any objective measure. A Guardian review summarised it as “not a good game, but a great experience”.

The fact that it exists in the world around us, not just on our screens, means, like reality TV, that quality doesn’t matter. Take your campaigns out of their media spaces and into the world around them, and the same will apply for you.

Continue reading "3 different things brands can learn from Pokemon Go" »

04 April 2014

Are marketers missing a trick with online gaming?

TV has always been the mass-market media of choice for brands, providing huge, emotionally engaged audiences across a wide range of content designed to appeal to specific groups. But the way we consume entertainment media has changed dramatically over the passed few years and the TV is no longer the “living room” focal point it once was.

Look at the modern family room and you’ll see a range of different screens in use; from the TV itself to touch devices and laptops. Smart TV may be trying to re-address this, but the reality is that it is still some way from reaching its full potential due to a disparate selection of operating systems and a cumbersome interface.

The problem this poses for brands is that as the first chinks in TV’s armour start to appear they are left looking to find an alternative. Could online gaming be the answer?

Continue reading "Are marketers missing a trick with online gaming?" »

17 July 2013

Can’t afford not to play

The statistics don’t lie: gaming sites really do produce better return on investment for online advertisers. A recent report by MediaBrix, an ad network for mobile and social gaming, shows that video ads associated with gaming sites generate an average Click Through Rate (CTR) of 3%, which is roughly 30 times higher than the CTR of standard online advertising campaigns (0.10%), Facebook ads (0.03% to 0.11%) and rich media banner ads (0.12%).

Continue reading "Can’t afford not to play" »

12 June 2013

APAC has largest audience of daily online gamers

APAC has largest audience of daily online gamers

Nearly 671 million people worldwide played a game online via a desktop PC or laptop in April 2013, 145 million of which were playing on a daily basis, according to the latest Comscore figures.

Asia-Pacific had the largest daily online gaming audience with an average of 47.9 million internet users accessing an online gaming site on a daily basis, followed by Europe (45.6 million), North America (30.3 million), Latin America (14.9 million) and the Middle East and Africa (6.2 million).

North America had the most avid online gamers, with each visitor spending an average of 107 minutes, followed by European gamers (97 minutes) and Latin America (67 minutes).

Online gamers is Asia-Pacific spent less time on sites per visitor at an average 47 minutes, while gamers in the Middle East and Africa spent an average 45 minutes.

09 April 2013

Game On: The rules of online ad engagement

Say gaming Gamification

If you're wondering what engages people consider this: Globally, there are now 1 billion people on the planet who play games for at least an hour a day. And that number is climbing fast with the growing adoption of smartphones and tablets. In fact, Jane McGonigal, director of game research at the Institute for the Future argues in her wildly popular TED talk, we should spend more time playing games too. Games like World of Warcraft give players the opportunity to save worlds, and the incentive to learn the habits of heroes – as well as solve big real-world problems.

Gamification, the process of applying the best elements of gaming to real-world, non-game situations, is also incredibly effective at creating behavioural change. A classic example is Volkswagen's Fun Theory experiment from 2009. By turning a set of subway stairs into piano keys, researchers were able to encourage 66 percent more people to use the stairs over the escalator. More recently and relevantly to digital media, a new Gigya study of billions of user actions with partners like Pepsi, Nike, and Dell, showed that adding gamification to a site boosts engagement by almost a third.

It’s no wonder then that brands have been quick to consider game mechanics to solve an advertising challenge: increasing ad engagement. And it hasn't been just the usual suspects like Pepsi and McDonald's who are trying it either. In 2011, Clarins launched a Facebook game aimed at women which involved managing a successful beauty salon and Aldo created the brilliant Aldo Shoe Paradise. But brands can play games in more places than just Facebook. 2013 was the year that gamification went big in social media and Superbowl ads, proof positive that this is no passing fad.

This appetite for gaming creates greater scope for brands in all their online advertising. Videos in banner ads used to be novel, now they're standard practice. Where brands can really drive user engagement is by getting consumers to play. When consumers become players, they are by definition more engaged. And that's where the money is.

But as with any type of content marketing, there are rules of engagement:

Rule #1: Find the right game fit. Games make great content, but only if they make sense in context. A game that lets you shoot aliens doesn’t quite work for a beauty brand, but a guessing game does. Clinique’s online campaign to promote its new Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm required players to rotate a candy jar and count the number of Chubby Sticks buried inside. The art direction fit completely with the Clinique brand, and the candy theme was linked to a ‘sweet treats’ promotion taking place in Clinique’s online store.

Rule #2: Use a carrot when you want something in exchange. Sometimes games can be used to persuade your audience to enter into a data transaction, like this recent example from Sony Xperia which required players to register personal data to gain access to the game. Just make sure it's worth their while on the other side.

Rule #3: Familiarity breeds content. Matching a brand to a game doesn't always mean creating something from scratch. For this Virgin Media campaign, a simple button-bashing game reminiscent of the famous Track & Field arcade staple, engages the audience and communicates the brand message of speed perfectly.

Rule #4: Create an experience - and make it social. Gamification is a natural meeting point for experiential and digital marketing, like this impressive driving competition from BMW. But as far as branded games, one of the finest of recent times has to be the Red Bull Formula Face which was well-made, scalable, shareable and rewarded repeated plays. Was it gimmicky? Of course it was, but it was also a fun and memorable experience for the millions who played (and shared) it.

Slapping a game into an ad isn't automatically going to deliver results, nor should marketers include games in ads just for the hell of it to boost engagement. But it is a useful tool in the arsenal. And if you want consumers to take the time to play your brand game, you have a responsibility to deliver a meaningful experience – just like you do with any other piece of content, whether it's sponsored or not.

Carla Faria is Solutions Director for Say Media UK.

27 February 2013

Gamification: A mobile tool to help big brands feel small

By Liz Wilson, CMW

For brands the path to the consumer has never been so vast and complex with 15 billion web impressions and £1bn spent online during one day in the run-up to last Christmas. Even for the festive season that’s a lot of clutter for brands to navigate through their communications strategy. On top of this, shoppers now expect more from brands and what they have to offer.

Continue reading "Gamification: A mobile tool to help big brands feel small" »

23 January 2013

Have you ‘scratched’ on social media yet?

By Cream Editorial

After ‘Like’, ‘Tweet’ and ‘Share’, the new buzzword on social media might just be ‘Scratch’. Ad agency Saatchi Tel Aviv has rolled out an exciting social media game for mobile phones. The app is called ‘ScratchMatch’, which was developed after an internal contest in the agency, about ideas for mobile applications.

Continue reading "Have you ‘scratched’ on social media yet?" »

31 July 2012

What does the National Gaming Survey mean for the media?

By Rumbi Pfende

It’s time for the much anticipated results of Gamehouse’s annual gaming survey - which commenced in 2009 - to be shared with Cream’s audiences across the globe.  Ever since we commissioned this world first exploration into the gaming market (in collaboration with sector expert research company Newzoo in the Netherlands), the take-up response of the findings by the adverting and media industries have been quite overwhelming.  Quite simply, the research firmly stamps a solid confidence that gaming is one of the most effective and fastest-growing advertising channels ever, to deliver targeted ROI not just here in the UK, but interestingly replicated across other continental countries, echoing its compelling power.  The inclusion of gaming as a standard channel in media plans across European borders - driven by both brands and media planners - demonstrates its power to capture relevant audience segments through non-intrusive and highly entertaining environments.  And this is now a given. 

CityVille on Zynga - Google Chrome 31072012 081804
American gaming giant Zynga is capitalising on the growing UK market 

The most evocative aspect of the 2012 research has been the huge surge in the time and money that UK consumers spend playing on mobile devices, via smartphones, which increased by a mammoth 43% in time spend from last year.  Of these, a significant 45% of all mobile gamers play 3 or more titles each month.  Unsurprisingly, smartphones are the driving phenomenon behind mobile gaming with 75% of gamer usage.  As expected, Apple retains its position as the market leader with over 24% of gamers on the iPhone handset, closely followed by Samsung with 20% share.

However, for me, the most fascinating and significant aspect of the 2012 research focuses on the UK’s appetite for spending money on mobile games with over a third (39%) doing so on their mobile phones.  This equates to a massive 9.2 million Brits – a growth of over 24% from last year – certainly a statistic not to be sniffed at.  The willingness to pay doesn't just stop there, with a massive 67% of mobile gamers buying more than one game per month. 

We have all heard the adage that if the US sneezes, the UK catches a cold and this phrase is consistent with all of the comparable data fields between the two markets, with one notable exception however.  The UK impressively leads the way when it comes to paying for mobile games with 39% versus 36% compared to our American cousins.  This trend is also echoed when it comes to casual gaming, with the UK outperforming the US yet again (UK 29% vs. US 21% ). 

With the UK’s fertile ground yielding such ripe pickings it is no wonder then, that many US-based gaming corporate heavyweights such as Zynga, are now migrating across the pond and opening outlets in the UK to capitalise on this burgeoning market.  Whilst the demand for digital innovation has traditionally been associated with the US, it is refreshing to see that the trend has been reversed with the UK taking pole position now.

So, what does this mean to brands, marketers, advertisers and the media as a whole?  It clearly defines a tangible opportunity for advertisers to hone in and specifically target their key audiences via finely-tuned gaming channels.  Very few other mass media are able to even come close to this level of efficacy and the mere fact that independent research verifies the power of gaming means that brands should utilise this platform as a key part of their communications armoury to raise their ROI to the max.  The choice of gaming as a direct route to market should be prevalent at all times, particularly so, during times of economic hardship where every marketing penny and cent is held accountable.  A straight forward concept of engaging, enthusing and enchanting your customers.  But then some of the world’s best ones are those which are the simplest.

Rumbi Pfende, UK Country Manager, Gamehouse



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  • Right Brain, Left Brain sums up the dichotomy of a media business that’s constantly battling with the challenge of delivering a profit and discovering new ways to communicate to consumers. The Cream editorial team combined with a dream team of industry pioneers from around the world share their expert opinions.

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