Mobile technology has been growing steadily since 2010, with more and more people turning to their smartphone or tablet to find information, keep in contact, and check on their personal and business emails. With this technology presumably out in the front of the race, how can companies leverage smartphones to get the word out about their products and services?
Friends, I present you with “advergaming”. Sadly, no it’s not the name of a new advertising game. It is, however, a new way to advertise. While mobile gaming isn’t going to be replacing the desktop or even laptop versions of games, there is still a potential there to reach customers who want to be able to take their gaming with them no matter where they go.
Let’s back up though – what the heck is advergaming, if not the cool new title for a game? In essence, advergaming is the baby of advertising and gaming, where the two work in conjuncture to not only give out a good game for free, but also advertise along with it. If you’ve ever played a game on your smartphone or tablet, you’ve seen one element of advergaming – those ad inserts around the bottom edges or even a popup or an ad during a game’s transition. That’s a part of advergaming.
Another way to use it is to have games hosted on a company website. Ever head over to Facebook and end up spending hours farming on Farmville? Congratulations, you’ve been advergamed or adverpwned or…something profound. Facebook and Zynga probably have one of the best models of advergaming, but they aren’t the only ones. Take a look at browser game site Pop Cap, you know the people that brought you Plants vs Zombies? You can play all of their games in your browser, however, the best bet for a better game experience is to purchase one or more of their games for your desktop or mobile pleasures.
Advergaming doesn’t just have to reside online – plenty of software and products companies may include free games with the purchase of their products. In fact, oftentimes gamers won’t even notice the subtle advertisements that are placed throughout a game. For instance, a racing game will have players race around a track that just happens to have billboards with product placements. All three major gaming consoles do the same thing – characters and even the name of Nintendo appear in various games from the Japanese company, while many games for Xbox and Sony will include characters from rival games in the one that was purchased.
Advergaming can be extremely helpful in the marketing of your brand or product, if you can do it effectively. The best way? Let the game developers do what they do well and you do what you do well and then finds ways to bridge that in an effective way that brings people to your business yard. Many businesses fall in the misunderstanding that video games aren’t television. We gamers take our games the way we take our coffee – personal. Well, maybe not like that, but the gaming realm is a personal one for many a gamer and to try and target them (or their kid) the way you’d target someone to go buy groceries just doesn’t work.
Advergaming isn’t a 30 second spot; often – and the reason it works – gamers are with you, your company, and your product for hours, exploring, hiding from danger, etc. If the ad has that personal appeal that the game does, it’s going to be much more effective than just flashing a quick spot in between transitions.