This blog post is so interesting to me that I posted it on my other blog (yup, breaking some SEO rules)!
I’ve been working on some projects lately with heavy social media and game mechanics involved. Thing is, the majority of online marketers, brands, and businessses still do not see the massive opportunity here. I think these numbers speak for themselves:
(I realize this image is HUGE and doesn’t jive with my theme so click it for the full-sized image, if you like statistics, market research, and/or gaming.. but hate long load times… You’re welcome.)
What’s interesting to me here is that the data hints that socializers are the biggest group of gamers. I look at everyone as a player, though not all players are necessarily gamers (being a gamer, in the more traditional sense, is more of a lifestyle choice, a conscious commitment).. Yet we all play games in our lives: reward programs, social influence scoring platforms, sweepstakes, blogging, etc.
Socializers are driven by the interaction and engagement between others. There is endless opportunity here for thought leaders, inbound marketers, brands, and, well, everyone. I think the major paradigm shift here is in value propositions. We’ve always thought of value and ROI in terms of dollars and cents (or traffic and visibility, the mass marketing, noise-making ways of old), yet Nexon, Zynga, FourSquare, and countless others have shown us that a virtual economy can ultimately be profitable, while keeping your overhead costs down.
These market leaders have also shown us that players may not be driven by achievement, high-level competition, or even curiousity. As human beings, we are driven to feel connected, if not validated and accepted, even if we may be tagged as socially-recluse. There is power in feeling like you’re a part of something bigger than you, a community, and networking with like-minded individuals.. even more so when we can meet our goals together! Social is beating the pants off traditional marketing, especially for small businesses and start-ups trying to stay lean.
Zynga was valued at over 7 BILLION, last I checked.. their games are free and very similar to the myriad of mobile and Facebook games out there. I’d say that should create urgency for us all.
Have you considered implementing game mechanics and design into your online projects? How about now?