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商家可利用社交游戏虚拟商品推广品牌

发布时间:2011-08-02 18:03:11 Tags:,,

作者:Dan Jansen

Virtual Greats之类的公司代理处理知识产权持有者和游戏开发商之间的问题,通过出售BVG(品牌虚拟商品)的方式来为品牌产生盈利。我们相信这是个新兴的价值数十亿美元的产品类别,而且多数品牌还未曾进入。尽管General Mills和麦当劳通过近期开展的Zynga推广活动对此有所关注,但多数品牌考虑到的只是在此领域内的广告效应,将销售弃之不顾。虽然全新的盈利流很棒,但是这个类别内潜藏的毛利率对多数品牌而言都优于实体商品销售。该领域有着最小的成本和几乎无穷无尽的货架空间(游戏邦注:即服务器容量),毛利率已经超过了90%。我们最畅销的道具之一的开发成本大约为200美元,而出售的道具总产值已超过8万美元。

虽然游戏内置虚拟道具看起来都很相似,但其中包含两种不同的经济模式:用户付费购买品牌虚拟商品以及免费向用户提供且由品牌资助的虚拟商品。这与电视的经济模式类似,有些电视台是免费的或由广告赞助,有些电视台节目则由用户自己掏钱购买(游戏邦注:比如用户付费购买额外的有线或卫星电视内容)。使用目标合作,BVG支持品牌解锁价值并获得之前未曾想到的盈利。虽然并非所有的品牌都适合BVG模式,但仍然有数千个品牌可从社交游戏中挖掘新用户。

架起品牌和开发商间的桥梁

Brands(from insidesocialgames)

Brands(from insidesocialgames)

这个概念将品牌广告成本转化为新盈利流,这样就使品牌从传统的广告模式转变为用户资助模式。品牌不再为他们的产品做广告,而是将其作为BVG在社交媒体市场上销售,同时免费实现些许推广目标。尽管这个模式现在的整合度还很低,但却有助于创造新的营收渠道和资金来源(游戏邦注:广告成本来自于用户)。

由于社交媒体市场分裂性较大,因而授权的IP聚合商能够为品牌和游戏开发商提供不同级别的服务。像我们这样的IP聚合商努力帮助品牌向众多游戏开发商推广,同时能够帮助开发商从品牌中寻找授权IP以整合到游戏中。这对那些试图接触娱乐和消费品牌的开发商而言特别有用。

品牌虚拟商品的运营

运营模式多种多样,但品牌虚拟商品合作的运营可以看做统一费用或盈利共享。在这种用户提供资金的模式中,最终由用户为BVG买单,IP持有者按比例抽取资金。而在品牌持有者资助模式中,品牌广告商付费,最终用户免费获得产品。通常来说,品牌使用这种模式的目标是为了让产品提升用户关注度,而不是为了产生盈利。这就是新旧模式间的重大差别,要采用何种运营模式取决于品牌特点及其主要最终目标:直接产生盈利(游戏邦注:使用用户资助模式)或提高品牌关注度以实现其他的推广目标(游戏邦注:使用品牌资助模式)。

所有的BVG活动需要品牌和平台的配合,双方关注的目标都是吸引用户并产生额外盈利或品牌关注度。这种协作能够帮助决定何种品牌物品对平台用户最有吸引力,如何使用户响应最大化。通常来说,物品由平台设计,基于当前的外观和图片来最佳整合品牌的真正样式。从品牌的角度来看,他们想要的是最大化的营销和曝光度,以产生盈利。对品牌和平台而言,在设计成功的BVG时,真实性和高度整合性至关重要。

如果用户能够将品牌整合至社交媒体或游戏体验中,活跃性在虚拟商品市场中最具盈利性。比如,如果获Skechers挂牌的鞋子更有助于玩家的虚拟形象塑造形体,那么相对比普通的鞋子而言,用户购买的可能性会更高。品牌的目标在于使用虚拟商品的功能性来为现实世界中的品牌提供支持。通常来说,有些物品比较畅销。比如,我们发现帽子比头巾畅销。我们的数据还显示出与直观想法相反的态势,比如价格越高的物品卖得越好。我们发现捆绑销售的道具也是个强大的销售驱动力。

从品牌和平台两个方面来说,对结果的衡量方法有很大差别,但多数情况下衡量的因素都是盈利、新用户获取、付费用户转化率、平均价值的增长以及其他有关参与度的度量值。依我们在Virtual Greats的经验,推广参与方频繁更新能够产生价值。比如,我们正在做的主要时尚品牌今年在同一款游戏上已更新7次。

示例:加菲猫进军巴西

品牌也应该意识到,在线游戏是个没有实体商品,限制更小的全球化市场。Virtual Greats将传统卡通角色加菲猫整合进拉丁美洲社交游戏巨头Mentez在巴西Orkut上发布的流行社交游戏《Vila Magica》中,这是个成功的品牌与社交媒体平台整合实例。

我们与该公司合作,研发了系列有着最佳游戏体验的物品,这些物品的样式和风格很接近加菲猫。随之而来的是,年轻人对加菲猫的帽子、衬衫甚至家具都非常喜欢。虽然这只是Virtual Greats与Mentez的合作想法,但加菲猫的出现帮助品牌获得巴西粉丝的钟爱。

加菲猫虚拟商品(from insidesocialgames)

加菲猫虚拟商品(from insidesocialgames)

在Mentez提出要求之后,Virtual Greats在数周的时间内就根据品牌制作出了加菲猫物品。这些独家品牌物品的售价在0.15美元到1.5美元之间,在此活动期间供售出将近100万套。加菲猫物品目前仍然在Mentez上出售。

Facebook的整合状况

在美国及全球大量的社交媒体平台中,Facebook仍处于行业的巅峰。品牌可以在Facebook上取得极大的成功,也正不断利用该平台来实现营销目标。但是,Facebook并不允许个体品牌出售BVG,因为Facebook不在其游戏和应用之外出售任何虚拟商品,除了直接出售的广告之外。

为应对这个问题,许多品牌不得不将营销活动整合至Facebook以外的其他游戏平台之上。这不同于传统的媒体广告,因为各个平台上的活动会有不同的样式、感觉或游戏机制。

轻度整合

轻度整合指的并非只将BVG添加到游戏中。品牌与社交媒体的整合是个推动盈利的机会,品牌关注度也会影响游戏中特别物品的设置。我们可以看到,由用户资助的BVG和品牌资助的IVG都在不断成长。这两种模式都很繁荣,而且可以互补。将品牌整合至社交游戏中的技术含量在于平台与品牌的匹配,以及如何创造出有用、与游戏相关和流行的BVG。

游戏邦注:本文发稿于2011年6月29日,所涉时间、事件和数据均以此为准。(本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,如需转载请联系:游戏邦

IP Aggregators Aim to Connect Brands and Developers

Dan Jansen

Companies like Virtual Greats broker deals between intellectual property holders and game developers to drive revenue for the brand by selling BVGs. We believe this is an emerging multi-billion dollar product category that most brands have not entered. While General Mills and McDonalds have gotten attention through their recent Zynga promotional campaigns, most brands have only begun to consider advertising in the space, let alone selling; and though an entirely new revenue stream is great, the gross margins available in this category are even better than what most brands realize in their physical products. With minimal marginal cost and almost infinite shelf space (i.e. server capacity), gross margins can exceed 90%. One of our best selling items cost approximately $200 to develop, and we have sold more than $80,000 worth of the item.

While in-game virtual items may appear similar, there are two different economic models behind them: branded virtual goods are purchased by the user, while integrated virtual goods are funded by the brand and offered for free to the user. This is analogous to the television model where some of the stations are “free,” or ad supported, and some of the stations are consumer funded (i.e. pay TV for premium content on cable or satellite). Using targeted partnerships, BVGs allow brands to unlock value and capture dollars previously uncollected or unrealized. While all brands may not be appropriate for BVGs, there are still thousands of brands that have yet to realize a new audience and consumer base in social games.

Bridging the Gap between Brands and Developers

This concept moves brands from a traditional advertising model to a consumer-funded model by turning brand’s advertising costs into a new revenue stream. Instead of brands advertising their goods, they are sold as BVGs in the social media marketplace while still achieving many of the promotional goals for free. While this model is still “light” integration, it approaches the partnership from a revenue creation point-of-view and a different source of funding (i.e. consumer paid).

Because of the massive fragmentation of the social media market, licensed IP aggregators are able to bring scale to both the brand and game developer. IP aggregators like ourselves are trying to help a brand sell itself to multiple game developers at once, and help a developer to find licensed IP from brands to include in a game. This is especially useful for developers who are trying to get access to entertainment and consumer brands.

The Business of Branded Virtual Goods

Business models vary, but the business of branded virtual goods partnerships can be structured as flat rate fees or revenue shares. In the consumer-funded model, the end user is paying for the BVG and from these funds the IP holder takes a percentage. In the brand holder funded model, the brand advertiser pays, and the end user receives a free asset. Typically, the goal for this particular model is for the brand to create awareness for its product and not to generate revenue. This is an important distinction and the business model used will depend on the brand and the brand’s primary end goal: directly drive revenue (use consumer funded model/paid for BVGs) or drive awareness to achieve other promotional goals (use brand funded model/free BVGs).

All BVG campaigns are highly customized and collaborative between the brand and platform, with both parties focused on the goal of generating user engagement to lead to additional revenue and brand recognition/awareness. This collaboration helps determine which brand assets would be most attractive to platform users and how to maximize user response. Typically, assets are designed by host platforms, based on current looks and imagery to best incorporate the true style of the brand. From a brand’s perspective, they want mass distribution and exposure to create additional revenue. Authenticity and a high level of integration are paramount when designing a successful BVG for both the brand and the platform.

Activations in the virtual goods marketplace are most profitable, if the consumer is able to integrate the brand into their social media or game playing experience. For example, if a pair of branded Skechers shoes can help an avatar get fit/change body shape, there is a compelling reason to purchase that asset versus a regular pair of shoes. The brand goal is to use the virtual good’s functionality to support the brand promise from the real world. In general, some asset types typically sell better than others; for example, we find that hats are more popular than hoodies. Our data also shows counter-intuitive findings like more expensive items selling better than less expensive ones. We find that bundling items is also a powerful sales driver.

Measuring campaign results from both the brand and platform perspective can vary greatly, however most are judged on revenue, new user acquisition, conversion of non-buyers to buyers, growth in average price points, and other levels of engagement. In our experience at Virtual Greats, there is value for all parties and our partners frequently renew, with our average platform conducting several campaigns each year. One of our leading fashion brands is launching its seventh release in one game alone.

Case Study: Garfield Goes to Brazil

Brands need to understand that this is also a global market with fewer restrictions given the lack of physical product. As an example of a successful brand integration with a social media platform, Virtual Greats brought the classic cartoon character Garfield into the popular social game Vila Magica published in Brazil on Orkut by Latin American social gaming giant Mentez.

Together, we devised an asset list and product line that reflects the best game use experience, but adheres very closely to the authentic Garfield look and style. What followed was a youth focused line of Garfield hats, shirts, and even furniture items. While Virtual Greats created product ideas with Mentez, Garfield helped refine the proposed BVGs to ensure authenticity and keep consistent with the brand so that Brazilian Garfield fans bought in.

Virtual Greats was able to launch Garfield assets with Mentez within a few weeks of Mentez’s request for the brand. With price points for this particular brand ranging from $0.15 – $1.50 in Brazil, close to one million units have already been sold during this campaign. The Garfield assets are still live on Mentez and available for purchase.

The Facebook Factor

In addition to the numerous social media platforms in the U.S. and abroad, Facebook continues to be a dominant force within the industry. Brands have been very successful on Facebook and are making tremendous use of the platform for marketing purposes. However, the Facebook canvas does not easily allow for an individual brand to sell its own BVGs because Facebook no longer sells virtual goods outside of its games and apps, as opposed to advertising, which Facebook does sell directly.

In response, many brands must scale their own campaigns outside of Facebook by creating customized integration across multiple platforms at the same time in order to achieve scale in this fragmented space. This is not like traditional media where the same thirty second spot or print ad can be rolled out across numerous outlets as each activation should be customized to a specific look and feel or game mechanics. At times a brand’s assets can be repurposed with logos being swapped out and replaced with existing assets, however, so more time and investment is not necessarily required to diversify platform options for users.

Beyond Light Integration

Light integration means more than just placement of a BVG within a game. It is a revenue driving opportunity; in addition to the brand awareness impact any particular asset creates. We see continued growth in this sector on both consumer-funded BVGs and brand-funded IVGs. Both models are thriving and can be mutually reinforcing. The science of integrating brands into social games on this level is making a match between the platform and the brand and then focusing on creating a compelling BVG that is functional, relevant and popular. (Source: Inside Social Games)


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