TGC '10: Why Twitter and Facebook Are Key for Games Marketing

TGC '10: Why Twitter and Facebook Are Key for Games Marketing


At a panel at Triangle Game Conference 2010, some experts on social media's influence on PR and videogames essentially concluded that if you're doing PR and aren't using Twitter or Facebook, you're probably doing it wrong.

Moderated by IGN's Steve Butts, the panel consisted of four people in the middle of social media and gaming: Dave Murray, the president of ClearImage, a company in charge of "strategic business development and marketing" for interactive entertainment companies (aka game makers); Lloyd Melnick, the Chief Customer Officer of casual/downloadable game developer Merscom; TriplePoint PR account manager Wendy Beasley; and Newton Grant - the VP of business development at Themis Media (aka the publisher of The Escapist, a site I hope you're all familiar with).

Though Ms. Beasley said that the goal of social media marketing and PR was the same as traditional methods - to get your product out in front of as many people as possible - and only the tactics had changed, Mr. Melnick wasn't so sure. While he agreed that it was also a vehicle for the goals of traditional marketing, its immediacy and inherent two-way nature also offered his company a way to gauge where consumers were at in order to focus the development of its games - in a way, it was almost preparatory marketing: "You get to have a conversation instead of just being one-way."

However, that very immediacy could be a double-edged sword, argued Mr. Murray, pointing to the example of Activision, which had jumped on social media very early - but which had since left its Twitter and Facebook accounts to languish. Nowadays, the only regular Activision-branded presence on Twitter is a fan-run Twitter account called Activision Sucks - hardly the image Bobby Kotick & Co. want to be promoting.

Either way, social media marketing shouldn't be the only avenue you pursue, said Newton Grant, but rather an additional tool. "It doesn't replace traditional marketing," he said. "It supplements and magnifies." The conversation then turned to the relationship between social media marketing - direct from publishers and developers to fans - and the hype built through more traditional gaming venues and enthusiast press like magazines and game sites.

"Companies that use social media are in an ongoing dialogue, and as people ask questions you don't want to answer, it looks like you're obviously avoiding them," and that just doesn't look good, said Mr. Murray - it was important for developers to own up to their mistakes and "take their lumps." Mr. Grant agreed, saying that while consumers often appreciate being engaged in a direct relationship by their favorite developer or publisher, they know that it is a source pushing an agenda, and they want it balanced out with other sources and opinions from established media websites that they trust.

At times, though, the immediate nature of Twitter and Facebook could also sometimes work in the favor of a PR team, said Ms. Beasley, pointing to a recent example where Sega had refused to engage temporary outrage in its direction (probably from angry Sonic fans) - and the uproar had died down within hours.

Despite the dangers involved, though, all four agreed that social media was well worth it, since it humanized the brand and the company in a way that normal advertising simply couldn't. Furthermore, even without the possibility of any given social media ad "going viral," it could offer significantly more return on investment than traditional advertising. Newton drew the example of The Escapist's very own March Mayhem tournament, which saw over 60,000 hits from Twitter clickthroughs, at the rate of 30-40 clicks per Tweet.

"You'd have to have over 120 million banner ads on a website to get a similar effect there."


It probably helps when gaming magazines like this one promote their feeds - it helps gamers link to said feeds. I for one linked to both Valve and Bioware.

Maybe the March Mayhem will have far reached marketing benefits for developers other than the winner, eh?

Eh, Im not big on Facebook and Myspace and Twitter, I think a lot of people pushing advertising on there are being a little misguided. Yes, you want people talking about your games, but not just on [insert social networking fad site of the moment].

Do you know how sick I am of seeing "Become a Fan on Facebook"?

It's even here now!

I think that Twitter is gonna die in a few years, but Facebook is here to stay.

Onyx Oblivion:
Do you know how sick I am of seeing "Become a Fan on Facebook"?

It's even here now!

I think that Twitter is gonna die in a few years, but Facebook is here to stay.

I felt the same way about Twitter, until I started using it. Unlike Facebook, where you're basically giving someone open access to your life, Twitter allows you to retain some anonymity (if you want).

It also means that you can communicate with someone without giving them direct access to you. You can completely ignore someone's messages, not follow them, and they don't pop up in your feed. By the same token, they can still talk to you (and you to them) pretty much anywhere you have a web browser or cellphone.

The biggest problem I have with Facebook is that the place is *loaded for bear* with scams. They've supposedly tried to "clean up" the place, but they don't even do the most CURSORY monitoring of their service. Unless someone they 'trust' reports a scam, they don't bother looking at it. With Twitter, enough people click "Report" and the spammer's account is gone.


And you know who *totally should have been on that panel*? <--- This Guy. He should be on every marketer's reading list.

As much as I dislike social websites like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter, they are the future to give the word to the people.

As much as I dislike social websites like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter, they are the future to give the word to the people.

As long as the 'word' is within a 140 character and bastardized down to SMS language. Its great to witness the de-evolution of a language all in the name of marketing.

Except the overlap between people who use facebook/twitter and people who want to play something other than farmville is utterly microscopic.

Seriously, the only thing you can advertise to the extreme casuals is more farmville shit (as they all already have wii sports). All that distributing promotional material (for anything other than farmville) over facebook/twitter will accomplish is giving facebook and twitter more money.

This was only to expect. After all, reaching out on Twitter and Facebook is both easy and free.

Not to mention how many you reach out to.

Although dont like it, I know its true.

So many people use it, and its a global connectio nnow, all o them. They are great tools for a PR department to get a name out there and really generate intrest, which can then move to work of mouth.

Its going to be alot more heavy on it, with all things in years to come

I'm not important enough that anyone would care about what is going on in my life on a minute by minute basis and I have too much shit to do to worry about what anyone else is doing.

So yeah I don't use that crap, then again I'm old, get off my lawn.

Twitter and Facebook are nothing but a breeding ground for self obsessed twats who are under impression people actually care about the mind numbingly stale goings on in their day to day lives. The truth of the matter is most people on Facebook/Twitter would be lucky if their lives were interesting enough to fill a haiku never mind an entire web page or regular updates.

as much as I wish it wasn't true, in 2012 a US president wont' even be able to be elected wtihout the help of social networking.

Social networking seems like such a waste for large development companies in my opinion. They'd have to pay someone to update their accounts, and then they can only feed out material in measured doses so they didn't give away too much info, just enough to keep your interest without telling the whole story. And really, does ANY company have enough new info coming out to require a Twitter or Facebook account? If you have that much to talk about, that's why you have your own URL in the first place.
In the end, I think it comes down to laziness. People would prefer to go to one place for all their info, even if they can't get the whole story. People speculate on headlines as much as they do full stories, and I'm sure the companies are happy with anyone talking about their products/services. There is no such thing as bad press: as long as someone is talking about it is a success. Ask anyone who's ever been on a reality show.
By the way Plurralbles, if you recall from the '08 election, the interwebs were used quite heavily through the campaign season to get out to the voters. Granted, this will be seriously amped up in the next American election, but by then it is hard to predict what will be the new "hot" media source to exploit to get attention to the candidates.


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