The art of using social media networks and social games to engage with your target audience demographic

Facebook has become one of the most effective promotional marketing tools, enabling brands to reach out to millions of consumers worldwide instantly. Social networks offer a great platform for businesses, as users are likely to be engaged, relaxed and using the networks daily. We have also seen the meteoric rise of social gaming giants both on and off of Facebook. Spending time on social networks is the number 1 online activity and social gaming is number 2 in terms of time spent, surpassing email and watching video content.

In 2011, Facebook user numbers hit the 800 million mark, and one of the fastest growing revenue streams for the network has been social gaming. Total revenues reached $470m, up $330m in just twelve months. In a recent IAB study, it was shown that people playing games were totally focused, being unable to multi-task or be distracted when compared to watching TV, reading a magazine or just general web surfing. This has a huge implication for brands and businesses in terms of getting your product or service noticed.

Social games use native currency as a way of monetising and rewarding the user experience – based on simple task/reward metrics. Ads which reward the user in the same way are welcomed, the advertiser being seen as an ‘enabler’ – helping the person achieve their goals within the game. Users are rewarded with currency or in-game items, for various activities, e.g. purchasing items or energy in Farmville and Bubble Witch Saga, thereby associating positive sentiment with the brand, and of course reaching Facebook’s most valuable asset – its huge audience numbers.

There are 500 million social game players online, and 10% (56 million) are playing games on Facebook every day. Taking advantage of this huge and very focused audience makes sense as Facebook will allow brands to reach and reward targeted audiences with a currency that they are already comfortable with. This increases the likelihood that they will be responsive to brand messaging.

And it’s growing; 50% of Facebook logins are now to play on social games. However, it is vitally important not to push messaging at the consumer. Here at SupersonicAds, we enable users to choose to interact with a brand or business.  Advertisers can age and gender target and we can track different types of performance, for example, generating a ‘Like’ or a percentage of players visiting a brands website after playing the game. In terms of conversion, at SupersonicAds we often see up to 20x the average that is seen through other means of online advertising and this includes tough KPI’s such as driving to retail or generating ticket sales.

An example of this would be the work we have done pushing ticket sales for cinema giant Odeon. Recognising Prometheus as a fantastic launch campaign, we targeted players of sci-fi games with a video that rewarded users for watching the film trailer. A competition was integrated into the BrandConnectTM unit offering users the chance to win an iPad when two or more tickets were purchased. There was a strong Click Through Rate of 12.73%. Odeon have seen a huge uptake in usage of their App – at least 10 times more.  There was a large uptake in ticket sales as a result, all attributable to the campaign.

SupersonicAds was responsible for increasing brand awareness for Honda, by driving users to install Honda’s ‘Urban Explorer’ Facebook game and enter a competition. This was achieved using the BrandConnectTM product, SupersonicAds bespoke creative service which empowers marketers to run player-initiated video and brand engagement advertising in social games. Results in the UK saw 28% of people who watched the video also installed the Urban Explorer application. BrandConnectTM is also used by FMCG clients such as Unilever and Coke and achieved in excess of 50% click through in some instances.

So, it is clear that Facebook and Facebook games in particular can be an effective tool for businesses and brands to attract, retain, encourage and engage their customers.

By Fay McDonald, Head of UK Sales, SupersonicAds

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