Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Search Marketing and Casual Games Connect

If you asked me a week ago what the connection was between the search marketing and casual games industries my answer would have been simply that SEO and paid search are highly effective traffic-driving tools for online game portals and that Slingo, a leading developer and publisher of casual games, is a client of ours. Of course, that was before travelling to Hamburg, Germany to present at the Casual Games Association’s (CGA) aptly named Casual Connect Conference. Now I see that the connections run far deeper:
  • Search marketing and casual games are young industries. Both have seen rapid growth over the past ten years and are continuing to evolve and mature at the same time.
  • Acquisitions, mergers and consolidation are happening as both industries struggle with revenue models, metrics and market expectations. Rumors are commonplace.
  • In spite of this intra-industry volatility, each is well situated to not only survive but thrive in these lean economic times as each offers marketers effective and efficient means of reaching target audiences.
  • Both search and casual games need to deal with emerging platforms like mobile and social media networks like Facebook. And how far off is the prospect of your TV becoming your portal to searching the Internet and game downloads instead of your computer?
  • There is no dearth of people looking to get a piece of the action in these “hot” industries. Unfortunately, the really good practitioners are few and far between and the rising level of mediocrity hurts each industry as a whole.
  • Organizations like the CGA and SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization) are important as outward-facing evangelists for their industries as well as inward-facing catalysts for improvement and sharing of best practices.
  • Finally, both industries are filled with fun, friendly and smart people. And that’s why it was my pleasure to make connections with some of the casual gamers at the conference and I hope to keep in touch with them.

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