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Interactive Flash Games on Youtube and Gamification

Interactive Flash Games on Youtube and Gamification

With technology constantly evolving, there are so many new and inventive ideas being created. Youtube has started a new trend of interactive flash games that are played directly on the website. Although flash games aren’t anything new, it is new to the Youtube format and it’s a new way for companies to further advertise their brands. The characteristic of an interactive flash game is giving users the ability to completely control their environment. They are able to move and click on objects in order to reach the game’s overall goal. Aside from just utilizing flash, these interactive Youtube games are using gamification. Brands use gamification to engage and interact with their consumers by providing them with some sort of reward or give out points. You can share your scores with your friends and challenge them to beat your score. For example, a company can make an interactive Youtube racing game to see whose product is better both advertising the brand and their products’ functionality, along with keeping their consumers engaged in the product. As they participate, they may be able to enter a contest or just have bragging rights as the “leader” of the game.

zyrtec parks unleashed

There are several case studies that exemplify the use of interactive Flash games on Youtube along with gamification. The first case is Zyrtec, the allergy medicine. They created a simple interactive game on Youtube called “Parks Unleashed”. It’s much more than just clicking buttons in order to see something happen; instead it’s much more immersive and acts like a platform game, except it’s all done on Youtube. The game starts out at a park and the user has to interact with different dogs in order to reach the ultimate goal of finding the loot they stole. In order to find the loot, users have to gather clues and build their inventory as they journey through the park. When users are given clues by dogs in the park, they can move on by dragging the screen around with their mouse to access different areas of the park to find more clues. After they follow the first clue, they meet human characters to interact with where they give the user more clues and the user can “ask” predetermined questions based on the clues that were collected previously. When users meet the human characters, it’s filmed in first person, so it feels as though the user is truly there asking questions and the characters answer back. If users pick the correct path, they move onto the next level where they had to register if they wanted to be eligible to win the prize. Users who are successful in finding the lost goods have the chance of winning a Samsung Galaxy Tablet. According to JWT, the advertising agency behind the game, said they saw a 40% increase in registrations. As users play the game, they continue to collect clues, gather inventory items, play games along the way to gain points and unlock bragging rights, all the while finding where the loot was stashed. The game has also be integrated into Facebook so users can post the badges they’ve collected on their profiles. This interactive Youtube game is a good example of gamification because it goes beyond just mundane button pushing. They’re actually trying to engage users and challenge their interests in advancing further into the game. It becomes an addicting and entertaining game for consumers, as well as a great branding tool.

Here’s the link to play: Zyrtec’s Parks Unleashed

nexus contraption

Another example of interactive Youtube games and gamificiation is Google’s Nexus Contraption game. Again, this game is played on a Youtube channel. When Samsung launched their Galaxy Nexus S smartphone, they wanted to promote it in a different way. So, they created the Nexus Contraption, a puzzle game that allows users to see how quickly they can build their own Nexus smartphone by guiding some Google apps through the various puzzles. The game itself is very simple – get the Google apps from one side of the screen to the red funnel on the other side by using the provided tools such as rubber bands, fans, and magnets. As users progress through the levels, the puzzles get harder. The time it takes for users to solve a puzzle are also counted and tallied at the end of the puzzle, where you can compare your time with your friends and others. The game is designed to be fun and entertaining as well as interactive, thus making the consumer more inclined to know more about the Galaxy Nexus. On the game interface, there’s a “Learn More” button where players can read about the features and specs on the Nexus. They even allow users to purchase the phone from stores such as Amazon and Best Buy by simply clicking the “Buy Now” button.

Here’s the link to play: Google’s Nexus Contraption

Many consumers don’t want to be bombarded with advertising, which is why this Google Nexus S game is a great use of advertising because it’s subtle. Consumers can enjoy the game while still understanding that Google is trying to sell them the Nexus phone through the name being shown on the header and when players complete a course, the phone appears and users see the app go into the phone, displaying its contents. The same can go for the Zyrtec game. They have the Zyretc logo placed around the game and in game. It’s all about being immersive and giving the consumer an experience. They’re giving consumers the ability to play a game that directly relates to their brand, and if consumers are enjoying themselves, they’ll more than likely want to learn more about what the brand is. Interactive Flash Youtube games are a unique platform that is only going to grow bigger, in my opinion. It embraces the idea of interactivity and giving the control to the consumer. Consumers are immersing themselves into a branded game, whether they realize it or not, and they’re allowing themselves to engage with the product being advertised. And since millions of people go onto Youtube a day, there’s opportunity for many more of these interactive games and for more engagement and awareness about these brands.

Hypothetically, my client is Tide, and I’m creating an interactive Flash Youtube game that also utilizes gamification. My idea for Tide is to create a game called Hamper Toss. The premise of the game is that articles of clothing will be dropping from the top of the screen. Each article has a different sort of stain. For example, gym shorts could be dropping down with dirt stains, and the user would have to pick up the hamper with the correct Tide product label, such as Tide Febreze Sport. If the user puts the clothing in the wrong hamper or misses an article of clothing, they lose some of their point score. If users continue to pick the correct hamper without mistakes, they are awarded bonus points such as multipliers. In order to finish a level, the hamper needs to be full. In the earlier stages, there may only be three hampers, but as the game moves on, there will be more and the clothing drops at a faster rate in order to give the game a challenge. Once a level has been completed, the clothing will be put into a washer machine, and there will be a quick description on the Tide product being used. There will also be a button that allows users to learn more about the product and how it helps clean those specific stains out of clothes. The game will tally the player’s score where they can submit it to be put on the “leader’s board” if it’s high enough. This makes the game competitive and hopefully consumers would continue to come back to play because they had fun and they want to improve their score, all while learning more about the product. Tide can also offer special offer coupons for their products for winners who beat the game under certain conditions, like getting 50,000 points in 1 minute, that way there’s also an incentive aside from just bragging rights. I believe that this is a good example of utilizing interactive Youtube games and gamification because it encompasses all the necessary characteristics – an engaging and challenging game that goes beyond just simple embedding of links as well as offering some sort of reward or points to its players.

Advertising on Facebook: Now and the Future

Advertising on Facebook: Now and the Future

Facebook is a perfect place for businesses to advertise. With many consumers spending time online nowadays, especially on social media networks, what better way to get noticed than to engage with your consumers where they spend most of their time?

Advertising on Facebook allows your businesses to reach the right people at the right time. It allows for your business to connect with your consumers directly because they are showing interest in the product you produce by “liking”, commenting, sharing, answering polls, and participating in any sweepstakes or contests available on your business’s fan page. Creating ads on Facebook can be set up quickly and is easy to do and is cost-effective. There are many ways to manage your budget – by cost per click (CPC), by clicks per impression (CPM), by a daily budget, or by bidding on a price.

Facebook is incredible in the sense that it creates positive return-on-investment (ROI) for your business. By creating fan pages or events, your ad message can be referred to users who share it with their friends. It’s also a good opportunity to advertise on Facebook because your brand or business can reach over 800 million potential customers. You are even able to target your consumers based on their location, age, and interests that they share to the public.

When your business creates their ads, you can use it to build awareness, drive sales, and grow your fan base. By creating pages, it allows you to connect with potential customers and hopefully it’ll direct traffic to your page. As a business with a fan page, you should constantly talk to your customers whenever they post comments or share exclusive information to them. By doing so, consumers would be more likely to return to your page for additional material or even better, share it with their friends and their friend’s friends. This chain reaction would get your page more attention and it could potentially lead to a sale. Consumers respond positively when their favorite brand shows interest and are willing to answer their questions. It builds more brand loyalty and they can tell their friends that your business/brand has good customer service. It is also easier to track the number of impressions you make than on traditional media. Also, being transparent allows you to share your business with your consumers, by showing them the inner workings of your work with behind the scenes videos, blogs, etc. It also lets you own up to any mistakes or success that you’ve made.

Tide Facebook Fanpage

As stated earlier, having ads on Facebook allow you to target the right people. You can select criteria based on the consumers you’re trying to reach by what they’re interested in. You can target them by:

  • Location
  • Language
  • Education
  • Work
  • Age & gender
  • Birthday
  • Relationship status
  • Likes & interests
  • Friends of Connections
  • Connections

The last two, Friends of Connections and Connections, are fairly new to Facebook. Friends of Connections allows you to target friends of users who are already fans of your page or app. Connections allows for your business to target your ad to current fans with promotional offers in order to gain customer loyalty.

Having a Facebook fan page opens a lot of opportunities like expanding your reach by telling in-store customers to “like” your page, putting a “like” button on your website, run Sponsored Stories and Facebook Ads, and set up check-in deals to offer incentive. You can also utilize social context which is influences consumers’ interests and buying decisions. Social context highlights a user’s friends’ connection with a brand/business, which can be placed alongside their ads. Sponsored Stories is basically word of mouth. Whenever one of your users “likes” your page, interacts with your app, or checks-in to one of your locations, it will show up on their friends’ News Feeds. Using Sponsored Stories is a good advertising format because your consumers’ friends are most likely to enjoy the same things they do and so it increases your business’s awareness and can increase consumer engagement on your page. There are also Sponsored Ads that are also placed on the right side of the users’ News Feed. The ads are synched with any information the users place on their info section of their profile.

sponsored storysponsored ads

When you create an ad, for example, Calphalon pots and pans, you can target based on precise interests or by broad category targeting. A precise interest is as previously stated – targeting your audience by the information they share on their profiles. If you use a “#” in front of any word, it allows you to target any user whose interests are closely related to the word we use, for example, “cooking” will also target “cooking tips”, “cooking and eating”, etc. If you don’t use the “#”, it will only target the word “cooking”. Broad category targeting, on the other hand, targets groups of people who share similar interests related to “cooking”.

Brand awareness and stimulating a purchase is also a plus to Facebook advertising. By being on Facebook, your brand/business is more transparent and open to consumers because there are so many users online and on Facebook that you can build brand awareness. Also, users feel engaged when they can communicate with their favorite brand and that too stimulates brand awareness and loyalty. Advertising on Facebook can also help push consumers to make a purchase. When you post deals, discounts, sales, and other promotions, it gives consumers the incentive to buy a product before the promotions end.

Facebook also had their own analytics platform which allows you to track and optimize the performance of your campaigns in real time. This is a great strength for Facebook because brands and businesses can gain valuable insight on which ads were displayed and which were clicked on. By having this, you can adjust your campaign in order to receive maximum results.

A new advertising format that Facebook could implement is monitoring the number of times a specific user “likes” and comments on your fan page or mentions your brand/business in a post. The more times they participate, they move up a “social ladder” and gain new titles such as “fan”, “obsessed”, “super fan”, etc. The higher their title, you can offer them incentives based on their title status. These titles would also be placed onto their user profile, under a section called “certifications” which would include the brand logo, so that their friends can see that they’re, for example, a “super fan” of Target. Social check-in sites like Yelp and Foursquare have already proven that the social aspect of showing appreciation for a product can be very successful, and by incentivizing the process it can lead to greater returns.

By utilizing this new advertising format, you can garner more traffic to your page because your consumers see a reason to return, the incentives of “leveling up” and gaining new titles. Some of the rewards could be discounts, coupons, prizes, gift cards, or invitations to exclusive events. In order to make sure that the incentives reach the right consumer, your brand/business would have to “gift” them to the consumer.

new facebook format

In a hypothetical campaign for Target, they would be able to implement this new format by posting relevant material on their page. For example, they could put in their status update, “Target is celebrating Easter Sunday!” and include a behind the scenes video of their employees enjoying Easter together. As a consumer, you “liked” the post and commented with a video of your family celebrating Easter. Each “like” and comment is worth one point and in this situation, those were your 100th “like” and comment, which makes you an “official obsessed fan of Target”. As Target uses the Facebook analytics platform, they understand that you are now an obsessed fan and so they make another post on their profile stating “Congratulations Tiffany! We appreciate your love for Target and would love to reward you with a $10 gift card!” Once this is posted, Target would have to “gift” the $10 gift card, which can be a promotional code or printable voucher, to Tiffany and she would also have Target’s photo on her profile page that says she’s an obsessed fan of Target with a number below telling her how many more comments and “likes” she has to give to receive another reward.

By posting that publically on their profile, it makes consumers feel as though they have a relationship with the brand, in this case, Target, because Target acknowledged their consumers. This creates transparency as well as builds brand loyalty because consumers feel special.

References:

http://www.facebook.com/advertising

http://www.facebook.com/business

United States. Securities and Exchange Commission. Facebook, Inc. . Washington D.C. , 2012. Web.