According to Seth Priebatsch, the Chief Ninja from SCVNGR, the past decade of internet development has been all about establishing a global social network, otherwise known as Facebook, and the next decade will be defined by the ever-blurring line between real life and games. This is a very important conclusion because it will ultimately determine how brands and retailers can best allocate their advertising and marketing dollars to capture the largest possible segment of consumers. If social media is the springboard from which daily life is transformed into one giant game (or a collection of smaller games), then the ability to attract attention from the public will be a function of how well you can affect their behavior by rewarding and incentivizing them. In other words, if games do take over then the winners in advertising will be those who figure out exactly what people want, how often they want it, and how best to deliver the rewards; influencing behavior is only possible if we are able to figure out what it takes to get people to respond to messages or instructions, and then deliver those messages exactly when they’re most powerful. The next question will be what types of methods will work best for advertising within this “game layer”? Will it be effective to utilize product placement within games the same way that companies are currently doing with television? Does it make more sense to give people a choice as to what type of commercial they want to watch (as Hulu does), or to simply show them a short 30 second message periodically? The possibilities are virtually endless, both for the type of message and the delivery method, which is exactly why advertising in this expanding, constantly evolving social media space is so exciting!
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