ARG’s Power to Spread Brand Awareness

ARG’s Power to Spread Brand Awareness

You may be wondering how exactly can an ARG bring forth so many people to collectively work together or to individually pursue such great lengths for what is essentially a game. Our previous two articles explain the fundamentals of ARGs’ potential and the impact it had on the past. But in this article, we’ll be seeing how exactly said impact is made. Right now, in the present and how said potential will continue to grow in the future, especially for marketing brand awareness.

How ARGs Gains Their Reach

Alternate Reality Games, in its essence, are puzzle solving games where the players would need to work as a collective to solve. Even ARGs targeted for individuals to solve alone like recruitment ARGs still encourages a sense of community within the players, collaboratively increasing their knowledge-base through networking. Therefore, it is through that collective process that ARGs spread like wildfire. Especially in this day and age, where sharing information through something like mainstream social media is only 1 click away.

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However, that is not the only reason an ARG can quickly become so popular. An ARG like the Twitter account The Sun Vanished makes use of surreal story-telling elements. An ARG is a narrative playground. If you can create a story for the ARG that would evoke a sense of interest alongside the challenge it provides, you can have yourself a viral hit ready to be sent out.

How Your Brand Can Tie to an ARG

With some ARGs, it seems almost impossible to put the face of your brand into it. But the key here isn’t to put your brand blatantly to the game. That takes away the intrigue of it all. Your potential consumers must know that your brand is an ever-looming presence in the game without being intrusive about it. Below are 2 examples of how a brand is implemented within a viral ARG.

I Love Bees, Halo 2 (Game) Marketing Campaign

In August 2004, hints of a website were dropped everywhere but were first advertised by a hidden message within the game’s trailer. When taken to the website, the players then uncovered that it was apparently being taken over by an A.I. and through this campaign, foreshadows and context of the story for the game is slowly uncovered. From the people that found it, spreading it, and reaching out for help, the campaign eventually reached out to over 3 million visits and players around the world. This campaign, titled I Love Bees was commissioned by Microsoft for their upcoming game, Halo 2. The campaign itself received many awards for being innovative and incredibly unique at its time. Although the ARG weren’t too blatantly obvious that it was a Halo 2 marketing campaign, the people that paid attention to its updates and the participating players never forget.

Why So Serious, Batman: The Dark Knight (Film) Marketing Campaign

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Some marketing ARGs are a bit more obvious as to what it promotes. The Batman: the Dark Knight’s marketing ARG titled Why So Serious. This campaign was a viral hit not only due to it being in the shadow of the big movie title, but also for its way of fan-service. The puzzles were simple enough, thus it doesn’t require super intelligence to solve but also hard enough to invoke many people asking questions, thus the sense of community. This campaign sparked over 10 million people to be immersed in a world-wide puzzle-solving agenda. And with a lot of the orders were to take pictures and share it online, it leads to a domino effect of intrigue and an ever-growing audience.

The Power that ARG Gives

Besides having the power to spread your brand and product, ARG has the capability to give a power as well. And said power is ownership. One of the key aspects of gamification is to make something done and worth the effort feel like it’s the player’s. Thus, they’d have a sense of bond to said experience. And with it, a bond with the product and/or brand.

“The experience must transfer ownership to the Audience, make it feel like it’s theirs”
Susan Bonds, 42 Entertainment President & CEO.

Conversions Using Game Partnerships

Conversions Using Game Partnerships

Conversions Using Game Partnerships

Video games are one of the most top grossing ways to place advertising or collaborations. With an ad revenue of up to 24 billion USD, spending on advertising within video games are rising above 4 billion USD—which, debatably, is an incredibly cheap investment for the potential returns. With the improvements of mobile games as a whole, the market for video game advertising is becoming even cheaper and to a wider audience. 

 

Why Games? 

Advertising on games are a slow moving yet efficient way of spreading brand awareness and dragging in conversions. Especially if you partner with games that are somewhat in-tune to your brand. As digital advertising brings in more data, it could prove to be an even more profitable investment than many other types of digital marketing. Especially if you are aiming for a lower budget advertising. 

Lower Investment Costs 

Game-based partnerships and advertising is still relatively cheap despite the potential abundance of data and possible conversion it drives. With the average price per engagement staying way under 45,000 IDR or somewhere under 3 USD per engagement. 

Something that game partners often claimed to be “much cheaper than less engaging alternatives” especially considering how much of a user’s digital footprint you gain access to should this type of partnership be done. With the game companies handling the maintenance and necessary changes to the game, the partner doesn’t need to worry about too many side costs (such as maintenance or upkeep costs) that may hinder revenue. 

Various Type of Engagement 

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The type of engagements that comes from this partnership also varies. Among them are some of the following: 

  • Social Media shares of ongoing about partnership/campaign, creating more brand awareness for you from the users and earning more potential users. 
  • Organic Conversion where users may not only use your services for the benefits but also everything else that you provide. 
  • Cyber Footprint of users that logs in through other means than the designed partnership 
  • Behavior Analytics be it from a user’s spending habits of in-game currency to how often they would use benefits your service provides. 

Study Case: Kota Kita 

As an example of how a partnership with a video game works, we take a look at Kota Kita by Agate. The game had first been drafted years before its first partnership. However, was finally finished and launched at April 2018. And in under a year that it had been up, the game had accumulated at least 500.000 users. And with the 500.000 users it had, over 50% of them contributed to the game partner’s conversion rate. As for the rate charged was much under 30.000 IDR or somewhere under 2.1 USD per engagement. Which were even less so than market average. 

How the Partner was Advertised by Kota Kita 

Due to the partner having their own game channel, the way Agate approached this partnership/collaboration was to put in a login option to the game through the partner’s channel. Logging in to play the mobile game would in turn help save their progress, this is the same benefit earned by players even should they log in with Facebook or Google. However, with the partner’s channel, a user would gain additional benefits and premium rewards for the game. 

This generated a lot of interest and in turn engaged them enough to not only register for the partner’s channel but use the partner’s channel for its other uses. With a special note being that the 50% conversion rate for the partner does not include the small percentage of people that had already had an account for their channel. And with the active daily user count reaching 45 to 60 thousand users per day, the partner has a share of said active user. 

Insights from Partnership 

The partnership had been an enormous success due to the sheer numbers of users playing the game, even if they do not log in with the partner’s channel. As, it was found out that logging in with a social media account also proved beneficial due to the user data it provided. And this, in turn, was shared with the partner, letting them earn valuable insight to potential customers. 

Data driven from a user’s Facebook or Google account is invaluable as it contains information such as preferences, digital behaviors and interests. All of which can become a treasure of an asset for market studies and predictions outside the game-based partnership. 

Other Means of Game Advertising 

A full partnership is of course not needed for spreading your name to a game’s user. Even simple ads that pops in on a game meant to be a simple time-waster can help. Though it may prove intrusive should it be done wrong, when a user is fond of the game and the advertisement appears enough, it might even just condition them enough to eventually click on the advertisement and thus, the potential of a customer is realized. 

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Free e-Book: Gamification to the Rescue

Free e-Book: Gamification to the Rescue

Free e-Book: Gamification to the Rescue

As a new year present as well as marking Agate Level Up’s launching, we are releasing an e-book on the introductory outlook of gamification. This e-book is comprised of the core arguments and points that explain why a gamification works with any sort of individual as a user.


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