What comes to mind when you think about games?
Games are immersive. They can be extremely competitive. They can be played together, in
teams or alone. Online games range from multiplayer blockbusters like World of Warcraft to the thousands of casual and free games of sites like AddictingGames.com, with its millions of monthly unique visitors.
Great online games have a lot in common with great online marketing. Both are about creating moments of focused engagement, which, for marketers, can lead to clicks, referrals, downloads, registrations and the holy grail — sales. This is why many brand marketers turn to online games as vehicles for their online marketing messages.
The key to understanding online game engagement opportunities is understanding the community that occurs when people post comments to forums, tag and review games, or share advice or “cheats” on blogs. That community explains how these sites string together and sustain moments of user engagement for a growing and loyal community of users.
With online display advertising drying up, e-marketers are seeking new ways to insert their messages, brands and value into online conversations. Games — from massive multiplayer to Sudoko to stick figures skateboarding endlessly into the aether- — offer a chance to insert brands into relevant digital environments and consumer conversations with increasing contextual and behavioral accuracy.
Your job as a digital marketer is to explore these opportunities. When you find them, provide a little added value for an engaging consumer session whenever those targeted gamers need brighter smiles, a better credit card, a trucker’s license or, if one still exists, an honest divorce attorney.
Thom Kennon is vice president and account director at Wunderman, a New York City-based marketing services firm. Wunderman, part of Young & Rubicam Brands, is a member of WPP. Reach Thom at email@example.com.