Is Social Gaming the Next Big Thing In Advertising?

We know that ad spending on social gaming has increased by 60% since 2009, that 56 million Americans play social games, and mobile phone applications and games are continuing to grow in popularity so it just makes sense that advertisers would want to pay more attention to social gaming.

Robert Tomkinson, Playfish’s senior director of global marketing, explained that “What [media buyers and advertisers] want is massive reach, they want targeting, they want performance.” And they can have all of this, especially through the use of ads in social gaming. Tomkinson was a speaker at the Social Gaming Summit and had the opportunity to explain why social gaming advertising is growing and why it will be a success.

One reason he gave for social game advertising’s success is the idea that advertising in games is about engagement, not eyeballs. He gave the example of the Facebook game Farmville and how users were given the option to plant a branded crop, Cascadian Farm blueberries. This may seem like a simple concept but in 500 million cases, Farmville users decided to purchase the branded blueberries opposed to an unbranded crop. The use of branded items in social games allows the gamer to actually engage with the brand instead of just viewing it on a TV screen or magazine page.

Photo Credit: Pichaus

Another reason social gaming advertising is so successful is the fact that social games reach the Facebook (and other social media sites) audience. Facebook has 500 million users and the average American spends more time on Facebook than on Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Microsoft, Wikipedia, and Amazon combined. This high usage gives advertisers the opportunity to reach a large audience in a very simple way.

Tomkinson also mentions that some games have bigger audiences than prime time TV. Close to 30 million people play Farmville, the most popular social game. Last week Dancing With the Stars, the most popular prime time TV show, had close to 24 million viewers. The fact that social games are mostly free for users to play, simple to play, and are easy to access plays a big role in the audience the games are reaching.

Social games are also expanding their advertising efforts to the physical world. For example, 7-11 sold products that allowed Farmville game users to access a code from the bought product, perform a task in the game, and unlock a 7-11 virtual good. Over 3 million codes were redeemed and played in the game.

Brands and advertising in social games can do more than just showcase their name on a billboard. Brands are actually now becoming part of the game. In the social game It Girl, Old Navy had a virtual store that allowed users to purchase clothing with real-world offers. This gave Old Navy the chance to put their brand right into the game and make the company stand out above the rest.

One last advantage to advertising in social games is the idea that brands and companies will often reward players for using their games. By choosing to use a branded item in a game users may have the opportunity to win virtual currency, unlock new levels, or play the games for free.

Photo Credit: Mashable

It seems that social gaming advertising has many advantages for companies to increase their brand awareness in more ways than just having their logo flash across the screen. With the popularity and success of social gaming it seems that they will be here to stay for awhile and it will be interesting to see which companies jump on the bandwagon next.

Check out “6 Reasons Why Social Games Are the Next Advertising Frontier” to read more

Facebook Adds Another Feature That Allows Users to Follow Their Friends Every Move… Again

After Facebook created the Friendship Pages option that allows users to see every interaction two people have had together on the site it was hard to imagine that the site would be able to create another way to track what your friends are doing but Facebook has done it again. This time the site has created a feature that allows users to see what topics their friends are talking about and then combines them onto your News Feed.

Facebook says that ‘the feature looks for certain phrases in the text of feed stories and combines them into one story if it finds matches. It’s currently being tested with a very small percentage of people.”

The feature works by creating a post on a users News Feed that shows which friends mentioned the same topic, links to that topics Facebook page, and then shows the continued conversation.

Photo Credit: Mashable

So what does this mean for Facebook? Is it something people are going to be interested in or does it just add more to the creepiness factor of knowing everything your friends are doing, saying, thinking, etc.?

Check out “Facebook ‘Mentions’ Feature Shows What Friends Are Talking About”

Social Media Sobriety Test

This week a new Firefox plug-in that allows drunken social media users to monitor their actions on sites such as Facebook, Myspace, Tumblr, and G-mail was released. All a user has to do is download the plug-in and create settings that will allow their drunken posts to never make it on the Internet. Users will have to set their hours of intoxication and if they try to log onto their social media sites they will be asked to pass a sobriety test before they are allowed access. The test asks the users to complete what should be a simple task of typing the alphabet backwards, but that’s sometimes even hard to do sober.

The plug-in is not available for mobile phone applications though, so when a person is out drinking at the bar they can update their Facebook status and send out as many e-mails as they want, whether they’d like to or not.

Visit Mashable’s “Don’t Drink and Facebook: New Plugin Mitigates the Fallout”

Photo Credit: Zazzle

Voting Gives Users a Foursquare Badge

If you use Foursquare and plan to vote this year get ready to receive an “I Voted” Foursquare badge. Foursquare is trying to encourage civic participation this year with the introduction of a Foursquare badge that will be given to users that check in to one of the 107,000 recorded polling places. Any user that checks in and includes the hashtag “#ivoted” will receive the badge.  Not only will users receive a badge but people will be able to visualize voting trends throughout the country. Foursquare has set up a website that includes interactive real-time maps that show check-in numbers and locations, data on the total number of check-ins, and even breakdowns of the gender of those who voted.

Foursquare has teamed up with MTV’s Rock the Vote, Pew Center, Google, and the Voting Information Project to continue the growing trend in the number of voters seen in 2008. Similar to Twitter’s #VoteReport, seen in the 2008 election, Foursquare wants to keep real-time data for all to see. The company is also hoping this years results will help them to develop a similar project for 2012. For more information, visit Foursquare’s election site.

Photo Credit – Mashable

The Ingenex Team Will Be Attending TEDxDetroit

Photo Source – TEDxDetroit

This Wednesday, September 29, 2010, the team at Ingenex Digital Marketing and I will head to downtown Detroit to attend TEDxDetroit. TEDxDetroit is held at the Detroit Institute of Art on Wayne State University’s campus. It runs from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm and is free to people who register (although a $21 donation is encouraged).

TEDxDetroit is an annual event that brings together CEOs, scientists, creatives, and other extraordinary speakers. The list of speakers was released last week and it looks to me that there is going to be a variety of interesting speakers this year. The list of speakers is as follows:

  • Jeff DeGraff, Dean of Innovation, Competing Values
  • Dianne Marsh, CEO & Technologist, SRT Solutions
  • Geoff Horst, Chief Science Officer, Algal Scientific Corporation
  • Paul Savage, CEO, Nextek Power Systems
  • Stephen Clark, Interactive anchor & Reporter, WXYZ Detroit
  • Erik Proulx, Filmmaker, Lemonade the Movie & Lemonade Detroit
  • Karl Gude, Visual Journalist & Professor, Newsweek/MSU
  • Ben Bator & Lauren Leto, Founders, TFLN
  • Paul Nielsen, Geek, Entrepreneur, Magician, Wunderground Magic
  • Jerry Paffendorf & Mary Lorene Carter, Founders, Loveland
  • Steve Kahn, Professor & Founder, WSU Math Corps
  • Victor Green, Director, Community Relations, WSU
  • Kami Pothukuchi, Associate Professor of Urban Planning, SEED & WSU
  • Henry Balanon, Founder, Bickbot
  • Will Smidlein, Boy Wonder, Null Fear
  • Bil Moore, Solutions Consultant, Strategic Products & Services
  • Anuja Rajendra, Creator and CEO, BollyFit
  • Dave Blair, Performance Artist
  • Jocelyn Rainey, J Rainey Gallery
  • Jim Scapa, CEO, Altair Engineering
  • Rick Devos, Founder, ArtPrize
  • Jessica Care Moore, Moore Black Press
  • Herman Moore, Entrepreneur & Detroit Lions Hall of Famer

With so many diverse speakers idea spreading, one of the main reasons for TEDx, is sure to occur. By putting so many cool, creative, and talented people in the room there are going to be a lot of ideas flying around. I’m very excited to head down to Detroit for my first, and hopefully not my last, TEDxDetroit experience.

Inforum Women’s Alliance Will Help After Graduation

As a senior at Michigan State University I am mostly focused on graduating and what I want to do once I graduate. I have been busy for the last three years of my college career and this year is no different. I am getting closer to attaining my degrees in Advertising Management and Retailing Management, and my specialization in Food Industry Management. Every day is a step closer to graduation, and a step closer to the “real world” and sometimes I get nervous thinking about it. I am hoping my experiences will help me be successful in my future career. I am currently an intern at Ingenex Digital Marketing and I have recently been promoted to the position of human resource manager at MSU Concessions. I feel that these positions will enable me to learn the skills and traits that are needed to be a successful business woman.

Photo Source – Office Depot

Through my internship at Ingenex I have become familiar with Inforum, a professional women’s alliance throughout Michigan. Inforum focuses on empowering Michigan women and creates opportunities that allow women to lead and succeed.  Inforum connects women through training and programming to help them enhance their personal and professional potential which will help them achieve the success they are looking for.

Inforum is one of the largest women groups in Michigan, with over 1,800 members across the state. The forum also holds several events that allow business women to network with other professional women.

As a future business woman I hope to become involved with Inforum so that I can become a great woman leader and meet professionals that I can learn from in regards to the business world. There are many events I hope I can attend this fall including Women on the Move, a seminar focusing on blending personality in the workplace, and several luncheons throughout the season.

I think Inforum will be very beneficial to me and my future career because it will allow me to gain insight into the business field from women executives in Michigan. It will also allow me to gain a larger network of professionals and will prepare me for an ever-changing, fast-paced career in business.

Twitter Bug Creators Revealed

If you’re like me you probably check your Twitter almost every time you log onto the Internet. So it is no surprise that yesterday morning as I was waiting for class to begin I visited Twitter. What was a surprise was the fact that I could not view anyone’s tweets without a confusing popup showing up on my screen and my Twitter began auto-retweeting a user I had never heard of. I was at first confused but then news came out that someone had hacked Twitter and was causing all of these problems.

Two people are attempting to take credit of the social media sites security flaw. Pierce Delphin, a 17 year old from Australia, and Masato Kinugawa, a Japanese developer, are the two to blame. Delphin says he released the flaw by tweeting a code that caused the pop-ups to appear on users screens. Delphin states that he did it just “to see if it could be done [and that he] had no idea it was going to take off how it did.” Delphin hopes he can avoid getting punishment but exposing a security flaw could get him into trouble.

It seems that Delphin was not alone in creating the security flaw. Japanese developer Madato Kinugawa is also being blamed for the Twitter flaw. It is believed that Delphin created the code and Kinugawa modified it. Kinugawa used the modification to not only expose Twitter’s security flaw but to also make his tweets colored.

Within hours of the security flaws discovery Twitter had patched the problem. But this brings questions to all Twitter users. How safe is Twitter and how can they ensure that their page has enough security so this does not happen again?

Although the code affected thousands of Twitter users, it did not affect Twitter use on mobile applications, so users with smart phones were free to tweet away.

Photo Source – TechXter

Sprout Social Allows Small Businesses To Expand and Manage Their Social Media Presence

Sprout Social, an app that allows companies to watch over all of their social media networks from one dashboard, is an essential to any small business. With the growth and expansion of social media it is important for businesses to manage their social media outputs and to also be able to track what others are saying about them. WIth Sprout Social, a small business will be able to track their social media pages, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Four Square. This will be very beneficial to small businesses because they will be able to look at all of their networks on one convenient screen and they will have the option to link all of these networks so that their message will be sent to viewers of all of their sites from one central page, with is both convenient and time saving.

This app is perfect for a small business because it is reasonably priced. For one month a business can choose to pay $9.99 to monitor and link up to five networks or they can choose to pay $49.99 a month to monitor up to ten networks. The $49.99 option also allows a business to receive more advanced tracking of their sites.

Over the past year social media monitoring and management sites have grown, giving companies and businesses many options, but Sprout Social seems to be the best option for a small business because of the affordable prices and the online marketing solutions it offers.