About the Author: Jason Small is a digital marketer with 10+ years of digital experience working with 20+ brands via various agency roles. Small's expertise includes broad digital strategy, social media strategy, SEO, website design and development and he has led teams to produce results for brands online such as Peoples Choice Awards, ChapStick, Centrum, Dial, Honeywell, Renuzit, Castrol, Sears, Hertz, CoverGirl, John Deere, Advil, ThermaCare and more. As Director of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development for a fifty-person startup, Small led initiatives uniting value propositions and technology across 10+ companies while generating press in trades like TechCrunch and the Wall Street Journal.
As of today and according to a tracking system developed by Inside Facebook (which permits developers to submit their applications for the list) the top application on Facebook, with a commanding 63 million users, is FarmVille. This interactive game takes advantage of every possible user-generated sharing activity in the execution of game play, and it’s paying off time and time again.
As any Facebook marketing pro should know, posting updates that mention your application on the wall feeds of Facebook users creates activity that generates awareness of your application. That’s as basic as it gets. But FarmVille goes well beyond ‘square one’ and encourages you to ‘help your friends’ farm their land by becoming a neighbor. As you start to engage the game a pop-up message appears that shows friends in your network using the application, and you can connect your game play to cooperate and farm your friends’ land, or just watch it grow next to yours. You can even create a customized sign to post next to your farm crops for your neighbors (friends using the application whom you have chosen as a neighbor in the game) to read.
Their is also a ‘bookmark’ FarmVille feature that locks the URL right into the users browser for ease of repeat visits. To encourage these repeat visits, FarmVille offers daily incentives such as free coins that help advance game play and earn rewards. The expert execution of the game includes strategic partnerships (or other agreements) with major brands to offer the user purchasing options that include Blockbuster items, and Disney items – all through a mixture of game-play rewards (in the form of coins) and actual currency purchased via online payment services. Users can even chose to send gifts to friends, in this component of the game.
Game play is fun, simple, and merits rewards quickly through various interactive notices (pop-ups on your game screen) and toolbar options at the bottom of your game screen. Another great strategically powerful feature is the ‘take pictures of your farm and share with friends’ option. This creates photos, that can then go into galleries (of your own, or in your friends’ galleries). Thanks to photo tagging, this can also generate some more ‘notices’ and consequently produce more wall content on the user accounts.
It’s important to see how this game is executed, with the feature set that marries some just plain fun game play with options that can quickly encourage users to spread the word about the application in a spirit of cooperation and even generosity (gifting).
Congratulations to Zynga on another great execution and creating another chapter in their success story.
Social Media and the Big W
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