To get an insider’s view of the exploding mobile gaming market and the role advertising is playing in it, Launchers Alex Slotkin and Kevin Byrd attended the Dallas Ad League’s September luncheon featuring Paul Bettner. As co-founder of McKinney-based mobile game studio New Toy, he’s responsible for the incredibly addictive iPhone app Words With Friends.
Paul and his brother started New Toy a couple years ago after building their design and development experience at big firms like Microsoft-owned Ensemble Studios where they worked on the $50 million launch of Halo Wars. Their “aha” moment came after watching a young girl play Nintendogs on a Nintendo DS. There was huge potential to tap this market of non-traditional players with casual games that didn’t require monster budgets or long development cycles. Games that relied on social aspects to hook players and get them evangelizing to friends and family. The iPhone provided a killer platform to make it happen.
By following this “blue ocean strategy” of game niches that aren’t crowded with competitors, New Toy has made a name for itself. Words With Friends has a user retention rate twenty times that of the App Store average. Player engagement is thirty times longer. Their free, ad-supported version of the game pulls in one billion ad impressions per month. As Bettner emphasized, consolidation in the mobile advertising market (such as Google AdMob and Apple iAds) is leading to higher quality, more engaging ads that bring better results. Moving forward, New Toy is looking for innovative ways to integrate advertising into games, such as partnering with Skittles to turn all the game’s tiles into colored candies for a month.
According to Bettner, we can look forward to a new Farmville-like game from New Toy later this year, and another “____ with Friends” game he wouldn’t reveal, but it will no doubt be on everyone’s mind before too long. We at Launch can’t wait.
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Like most successful agencies, Launch has focused an increasing amount of energy and resources on interactive communications. We do a lot of email marketing as part of integrated campaigns for our clients, including Park Place Dealerships, and offer this Top 10 List of pointers:
1. Focus on one message with one call-to-action
Keep the message simple and be clear about what the reader’s next step should be. In general, the click-through button should be large enough to see from a few feet back.
2. Remove alternate paths that would distract from the call-to-action
Don’t feel the need to duplicate the website’s navigation. Direct traffic to your end goal.
3. Keep it easy on the eyes
Large blocks of copy are difficult to read onscreen. Make use of bullets. Remember that people tend to read in an F-shape (left to right, up to down).
4. Keep the most important information at the top
Many email users view their emails in a preview pane, so keep the most important information at the top of the email. That may be all some people see.
5. Remember your medium
When designing, remember that there are only a handful of web-safe fonts. If you stray from this list, your copy will need to be saved as a graphic. But use too many graphics, and your email could be flagged as spam.
6. Craft your subject lines carefully
If a subject line doesn’t pique their interest, they may delete the email without opening. To improve your open rate, keep your subject lines as relevant as possible and avoid common spam keywords like “Free.” Shorter subject lines test better than long ones.
7. Timing is everything
Deploy emails at various times to see what works best for your database. Generally speaking, mid-morning and mid-afternoon are preferred. Emails sent mid-week (Tuesday-Thursday) tend to perform better than those sent on Monday or Friday.
8. Clean your database
Any email effort is only as good as its list. Keeping your database clean will help you deliver the right message to the right people.
9. Know the CAN-SPAM regulations
Make sure you’re familiar with CAN-SPAM before you start emailing your database. A tarnished email reputation can be difficult to combat. Click here for a CAN-SPAM compliance guide to learn more.
10. Test and optimize
Last but certainly not least, be sure to test your email before you deploy. Yahoo and Hotmail recently made subtle changes to their back-end email coding. The revisions were not announced because they were so minor – unless you’re an email marketer. The only way to be certain your email will appear correctly is to test before deploying. Open a few free accounts and take a moment to review them all. It could save you from embarrassment later.
Once that email has finally deployed, track your results. Over time, you’ll spot performance trends in day, time, subject line, offer, etc. and be able to optimize for greater success.