Travel and leisure marketing to the nearly 57 million Americans who have tried social gaming.

September 8, 2010
Screenshot of Farmville social media game

Zynga's social game FarmVille has 63 million active users on Facebook.

If you think social network-based games are just for video game geeks, you haven’t talked to the tens of millions of Americans who have tried it.

I’ll admit it.  I’ve been slow to embrace social gaming.

As the CMO of a travel or leisure brand, you need to know about one of the latest social media trends to have exploded into the consciousness of America.

I’m talking about social gaming.  NPD Group recently released a study on who’s visiting online social gaming sites. When you see the stats, you’ll understand why all leisure marketing pros should be paying attention.

The success of these sites is hard to ignore.

  • 1 in 5 Americans over the age of 6 have tried online social gaming.
  • In all, that’s nearly 60 million Americans.
  • Of that total, nearly 6 million have spent money playing online social games, and another 11% say they plan to in the future.
  • In 2009, social gamers spent about $2 billion on virtual goods, and experts say that number will increase to $6 billion by 2013.
  • The best performing social games can inspire repeat purchases in 41% of users.

If you think the social gaming crowd is made up of young men, you’d be wrong about that, too.

  • The typical social gamer tends to skew older and female; in fact, the average gamer is a 43-year old woman.
  • This bucks a decades-old trend of younger men being the dominant users of video games.
  • 35% of social gaming players have no previous gaming experience.

Never played online social games?

If you’re the CMO of a travel or leisure brand that needs to get up to speed on social gaming, you can find out what all the fuss is about by visiting these popular sites:

  • Zynga, creators of Farmville, currently the most popular social game on Facebook.
  • Rockyou, creators of Anti-Pacman and other popular online social games.
  • Playfish, home of Pirate’s Ahoy and other popular social games.

You can find these and other surprising statistics on the rise of social gaming at NPD’s website.

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Leisure marketing: Advanced social media tools for listening to your customers.

June 29, 2010

The science of listening to your customers isn't as complicated as it sounds.

Here are some free tools and tutorials leisure marketing executives can use to listen in on your customers’ conversations about your industry and your brand.

If you’re in leisure marketing,  you’re told all the time to start listening to your customers before you jump into social media. But nobody ever tells you how to listen, or what to listen for.

Sally Falkow, an independent social media PR strategist, and author of the Proactive Report PR trends report, offered some practical tools and tips in a recent blog post, summarized below.

What to listen for about your brand:

  • Your company name
  • Your brand names
  • Competitors
  • Generic names that describe your business and product.
  • Example:  A skin care company should listen for skin care, aging, anti-aging, wrinkle cream, etc…
  • To discover what phrases people are searching for, do keyword research (Learn how below).

Free tools to help you listen to what your customers are saying:

  • The most basic tool is to create RSS feeds. Watch this tutorial for instructions on setting up your RSS feeds through Google reader.
  • You can also set up a social media listening station using NetVibes.  Here’s a tutorial on how to do that.
  • You can search for information to subscribe to using Google BlogSearch, Twitter, Yahoo News.
  • Also use social websites like Technorati, digg.com,  StumbleUpon and Delicious.
  • If you need help learning how to do searches for information on your brand and industry, watch this video Sally created.
  • There are also free tools for listening to conversations, like Backtype, Ice Rocket and Social Mention.

Paid tools that help you listen to your customers:

How to get the most value from listening tools:

Smart social media gal Liz Strauss posted this article about how to get the most from listening tools.

Follow Sally on Twitter

Thank to Sally for these practical tips.  Check out Sally’s complete post here.

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