Mobile gaming as a truly global marketing tool: Are you a gamer, or ‘brandventurer’?

Mobile gaming is the world's first truly global marketing tool.

With over 1.9 billion players worldwide according to Tapjoy, it is time for brands to start to adopt the video (mobile) game platform across their marketing platforms and use video games to provide solutions to their marketing needs.

Video or mobile gaming?

Perhaps part of the delay in using mobile gaming is the misunderstanding of the profile of current gamers, who are mistakenly thought to be people with limited income, who sit home playing games all day. In some instances, gamers are labeled again incorrectly as anti-person-to-person, or as social miscreants who are the worst nightmare for a brand, with the exception of mobile devices, video gaming brands, and their suppliers.

According to Kristien Wendt, brand gaming and experiences partner/head of client services at Proelios: Mobile gaming should, in the very near future, begin to impact the use of big-buck advertising dollars, money now targeted to traditional channels and advertising.

Think of the broad range of customers a brand can pursue, providing the 'brandventurer' with the ability to select their brand-linked online identity, which of course could be tracked and measured in all aspects of use

In an article published in 2015, Kristien makes a strong case for a brand at least to start the review—to test the fingers so to speak.

Here is some additional data to consider. Smartphone adoption had grown by 2014 to nearly two billion phones in use worldwide, and in 2015 the growth increased by 12.6 percent. This adoption rate can be linked with the massive rate at which mobile gamers are playing games on their phones (32 percent of the time). Yes, nearly a third of the time a mobile phone is being used by a gamer, it is used for gaming.

If the ownership and usage stats will not get brands to look to using mobile gaming, then perhaps the follow-the-money-trail process will. In 2017, the mobile gaming market is anticipated to be worth $40.9 billion—a nearly 22% increase from 2015.

Legacy technology and digital technology have become partners, and the time has come for mobile gaming to join the mix and integrate the latest in technology into the foundation of the marketing mix.

Let’s go back to the future

This is not a new idea. Many of you who read my articles may not realize that gaming has been around since the beginning of time. Well almost. The cavemen were using clubs, and not for golf. A well-known game was introduced by Purina Dog Food in 1982 called “Chase the Chuck Wagon” using Atari as the platform. This was two years before the introduction of Apple’s first computer and 35 plus years before the iPhone. The Purina game has become an Atari cult classic.

Some additional data provided by the Tapjoy research indicates the marketplace may be waiting for the next brand-led charge to make mobile gaming a more accepted and used household word. Think “brandventurer” as an option to the harsh term “gamer.” Why change the term? According to the study, two-thirds of consumers who use games do not consider themselves to be “gamers.”

Clues, games strategies, new trivia, contest, puzzles, gaming updates, new brand-based adventures can be offered via the brands’ social media platforms, completing the P2P circle

Puzzle-based games lead the way in popularity with 59% of respondents playing, strategy games hold a 38% share, trivia games hold 33%, and Casino/Card games) hold 27% of use.

According to the Tapjoy study, games are most often used when consumers are watching television. Often is defined as 70% of time. What a way to link big budget media with an almost perfect attribution, tracking, and tools based on metrics!

Compared to P2P, social media respondents to the study indicate that consumers are twice as likely to say they feel relaxed playing mobile games as they are when using social apps. Considering the current rash of political posting, this number must have recently increase exponentially (LOL)!

How to develop a mobile game

The path seems obvious to me. Just use the breakdown provided above and set your course to fill the marketing need you have outlined. The tough part is to determine what percentage will your game be based on Puzzle, Strategy, Trivia, and Casino/Cards. For me, I would initially drop the Casino/Cards category — too much negative connotation — and plan a game that links the brand to a puzzle, a brand/consumer strategy supported by fun. Add in vital trivia, mix in some strategy, and finally include some adventure gaming format. Voila! You are nearly there.

Again, the most difficult part is to get the right balance of game types. Or perhaps, since we are targeting a broad segment of demographics that the gamer can select from, to choose a priority-based listing and let the marketing game fill in the blanks. Similar to selecting which type of car you wish to drive when playing a driving game at Dave & Busters.

Accept the next stage of marketing evolution

In a previous article, I honed in on the four key pillars of mobile gaming: Brand Engagement, Connection, Retention, and Measurement. These four topics dovetail nearly perfectly with the four bases of modern marketing—Price, Product, Promotion, Placement. Incorporating these four “P’s” into the game structure seems simple and effective.

In the past, most brands accepted social and other digital media on a wing and a prayer, making promises that were often not realised. Mobile gaming seems on the surface to offer more proven possibilities and promises that are more likely to be fulfilled

Do you see all the avenues of integration connecting gaming with the four “P’s” of marketing? I do. In fact, this integration is why I opened this article by stating that “Mobile gaming is the world’s first truly global marketing tool.” Nearly every region, every market, can be customized to support not only the needs of the consumer (the market) but the marketing goals and objectives of the brand as well.

How can the brand track the consumer-based demographic information, including analytical data on the behavioral, locational and purchasing patterns, worldwide, 365/24/7? It’s actually quite simple, via real-time data captures that are built into the game itself. The metrics include how long the consumer engages with the brand, the frequency of use, which links provided by the brand the consumer follows, the consumer’s enjoyment level, whether consumer engage with brand-defined social media platforms, their location globally, and, in some instances, where they travel while gaming. Links to offline media can be linked to the game via augmented reality, and games can allow the Brandventurers to expand their use as the technology develops.

What do you think?

Looking forward, do you think that mobile needs to stand on its own, or are you of the belief that we marketers must constantly look to new ways to establish the brand and enhance the brand based customer experience? Or perhaps mobile by itself is a delivery device—a delivery mechanism much like print. Print by itself is of limited use; it is the tools that printers use and the results of the print process that increase the scope of a brand’s uses and needs. Consider the same delivery based mobile tools, toys, and products to have something valuable and profitable to deliver.

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