For those of you who think virtual gifts are just something for the kids and hard core gamers you’d be wrong. In this video is interviewed by the IAB’s senior PR and marketing manager who asked questions such as What is branded content? What are virtual gifts and What is the size of growth within this market?
He talks about the prospect of virtual gifts being a new marketing platform for those brands that want to make contact with their hard to reach consumer. He also mentions how virtual gifts are a great way of expressing yourself online to your friends and family on your social networks.
Phil squashed the claim that branded commodities and virtual gaming is just for those hard core gaming types as more and more middle aged house wives jump on the gaming wagon. Games such as Farmville which are easy to play have powerful social elements to them allowing the user to include their friends and at the same time gaining online status.
One of my most endearing traits is consistently wanting to annoy the hell out of people, so hopefully the entire time you’re reading this you’ll have the ABBA song floating around your head and with any luck it will stay there of the rest of the day.
Now that’s the pleasantries out of the way… At the IAB we’re always eager to get our heads around the roles of ‘paid for’ and ‘earned’ media, and the relationship (sometimes conflict) between the two. Last year we hosted a debate on whether social media should be paid for, and I’m often asked why as the ‘Internet Advertising Bureau’ we discuss WOM at all. Well the IAB will be keeping its name for now but we’re always at pains to stress that as a trade body for digital marketing, we’re totally format agnostic – if it’s relevant for brands, then it’s relevant for us. In fact, we’ve been banging on about SEO for years and no one’s batted an eyelid, but with social media getting the lion’s share of attention at the moment, it’s a question that’s regularly posed.
With my background in PR, in fact my heart and head lie much more with the earned side of online communications – relationship building, researching, putting the time in to get to know your audience and impressing them with tailored messaging and content relevant to their interests. Getting a namecheck or coverage as a result of all your hard work is the result that PR practitioners yearn for, and I believe that not everyone has the ability to achieve it. But despite my PR snobbery, in this post I’ve decided to talk about the industry’s bread and butter: the advertising dollars that get ploughed into online making it the largest UK marketing medium, and where this dirty cash fits within the social media landscape (do you have THAT song going round your head now as well?)