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Keeping it real
A new generation of marketers and game developers is transforming advergaming into real-time corporate advocacy.
December 3, 2009 11:45 by Reza Ayati
What is advergaming?
An advergame is a game where the ad is the main subject of the game-play. The term “advergaming” was coined by Anthony Giallourakis in 2000. Advergames allow users to enjoy playing while learning more about products or services, rather than feeling that they are being force-fed an ad. Advergames use game attributes to create dynamic branding experiences.
Advergaming additionally supports B2B, C2B and even C2C communications. Its value has grown from $120 million in 2004 to $500 million in this year. It is further predicted to reach $1.8 billion by the end of 2010. Advergaming is rapidly expanding beyond brand promotion to the advocacy of services, viewpoints and social causes.
Registration for online raffles and prizes is often used to capture consumer data. Gamers can also invite friends to participate, thus expanding brand promotion through “viral marketing”. So the pleasurable gaming experience becomes strongly associated with the brand itself.
Advergaming allows sponsors to monitor the real behavior of players. Audience preferences can be determined by incorporating choices in the game-play.
Advergames do not come across as intrusive compared to strategies such as pop-up ads for example, yet allow users to play an active role in advertising.
By including user-to-user communication tools, for example, a player can become a direct brand agent.
There are also opportunities for other related marketing techniques to cross over to advergaming. Game-related newsletters, for example, can be sent to players, without being perceived as outright ads.