RockYou introduces Deal of the Day ad program for social games

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If there's one thing social gamers like, it's getting free stuff. If there's one thing advertisers like, it's getting their target audience to engage with their message day after day. Combining these two obvious ideas seems to be the impetus behind RockYou's new Deal of the Day program.

Unlike traditional lead-generation offers -- which require players to sign up for subscription services or free trials to receive in-game benefits -- the Deal of the Day program gives players in-game items or cash for completing short, simple tasks offered daily by various advertisers. These tasks could be anything from watching a movie trailer or becoming a fan of a Facebook page to taking an online quiz, RockYou Chief Revenue Officer Lisa Marino said in a telephone interview.

On the demand side, these offers help fulfill the desire most players have to receive in-game items without spending money, Marino said. "Users of social games... want to level up or advance in the game and they don't want to pay for it," she said, pointing to a Q Interactive study showing that 97 percent of female social game player preferred receiving items through offers or rewards rather than paying.

For developers, the program offers an easy way to make money from more than just the three to five percent of players willing to buy in-game currency directly, Marino said. Initial tests on RockYou games like Zoo World and Hero World found that anywhere from 20 to 25 percent of players taking part in the Deal of the Day offers, Marino said. She added that, in Zoo World, the average participant had 80 to 100 Achievements in the game, suggesting that the deal attracts power users that return to the game regularly. She also noted 50 percent of people who click on the Deal of the Day offer go on to complete the task and receive their reward. "You train them to go to deal of the day and they go," Marino said.

And for advertisers, Marino stressed that the Deal of the Day provides an integrated experience that lets them "fish where the fish are," as she put it. Deal of the Day offers appear in unobtrusive pop-ups with a "customized, branded experience" that can include "lot of logos [or] a traditional takeover experience." Advertisers pay on a cost-per-engagement basis, Marino said, paying anything from 15 cents for a movie trailer view to a dollar for a Twitter follower sign up, for example.

While RockYou has yet to announce any third-party developers participating in the program, Marino said they hope to have 20 medium to large sized developers in their network by the end of the year, along with "as many smaller developers as want to sign up." On the advertiser side, Marino said RockYou has been running 12 campaigns simultaneously since December, and hopes to reach forty to fifty by the end of the year.
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