... and virtual world marketing ROI: Gaia Online Six million monthly active - Scion campaign: Gaians acquired a million- plus virtual Scions last year - More views of the Nancy Drew movie trailer in Gaia than the Yahoo homepage - 200K+ Gaians responded to a Nordstrom clothing style survey
Problem: No universally accepted metrics on virtual world ROI
We better figure it out, because this is where a large part of the Net audience is going in the next 8 years
The biggest success stories in marketing seem to come from virtual worlds with heavy user-created content component... At its core, Habbo is about social interaction, having fun building a world for self-expression and creative experiences. Products... that exemplify these traits or can add to the existing sandbox of UGC game play are a great start. - Jeremy Monroe, director of Marketing and Business Development, Sulake North America
Gaia Online community driven not by passive entertainment, but active user-generated activity and group interaction Bulk of Gaia user activity happens outside virtual world: 30% participating in Forums 10% sharing artwork online 10-15% playing multiplayer games (10% in Gaia's virtual world)
Advertising/virtual item sales dominate medium Medium is dominated by children/young teens... and therein lies a concern.
Potentially addictive medium + Advertising to children/young teens = Regulatory backlash (No matter who wins in November)
Backlash and demographic limitations may drive advertisers in search of older users But where will they go?
WW... As yet no transition world for those who grew up in them. (But one.)
Which brings us back here: what happened, and how can it be avoided in the future?
Second Life homepage, December 2006 Inflated user numbers miscommunicated by Linden Lab and misunderstood by most media:
Misunderstanding of user- created culture-- SL as an Impression Society "If they like virtual commerce so much, they'll love our [banal real world] commerce too!"
Mistaking virtual simulated locations for geographic reality-- not a good idea in a place with instant teleportation and flying avatars. In Second Life, realistic simulations are metaphorical and community- based. "I'm in a New York state of mind" is a literal concept.
Behind the empty marketing sites... An vast Web 2.0 ecology of unnoticed activity (i.e., the long tail of virtual world culture)
Web 2.0: Bridge Between 1st & 2nd Life Identity (Or what Gartner's Adam Sarner dubbed "Generation V") Image: botgirl.blogspot.com
In a non-genre, non-narrative virtual world, blogs, video sharing, and other Web 2.0 systems become the world's folklore. I.E., e.g., famed cartoonist Scott Adams gets kicked in the nuts by Dilbert. (Total views: 62K+.)
So what kind of marketing works in Second Life, and by implication, other virtual worlds with strong user- generated component?
Leverage worlds' unique strengths and characteristics... L'Oreal Paris Campaign in Greenies, 34,000 branded items taken by users
Serve existing virtual community needs Harry Potter IMAX campaign via "buzz agents", IMAX credits SL marketing for boosting opening weekend sales
Co-branding with the virtual world Playboy Island, among SL's most popular real world company destinations
Relinquish user control over branding experience in exchange for genuine user passion and creativity: Campaign for Iron Man movie, Marvel Films
SL specific advice: Hold off on mass market campaigns until broader adoption CSI in Second Life, neglibly successful, especially in relation to expectation
Think bigger than consumer marketing-- think enterprise-level marketing http://www.working-worlds.com
Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org "Hamlet Au" in Second Life "Wagner James Au" on Facebook nwn.blogs.com gigaom.com/author/wjamesau /