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EMAIL-VILLE: Social Gaming Companies Set to Take Plunge into Email CRM

Email-VilleTired of getting notifications about lost black sheep from distant cousins and ex-girlfriends from high school on Facebook? Don’t even trip. All notifications will be going away (both app-to-user and user-to-user) within the next month as Facebook revamps its platform.

But what does this mean for juggernaut social gaming developers like Zynga (Mafia Wars, Farmville) and Playfish (Restaurant City, Pet Society) who’ve been relying on notifications to communicate with users? According to Jon Wirt, Marketing Product Manager at The Casual Collective, social games generated $835 million last year and will rely heavily on email marketing going forward.

Jon states, “Facebook has already begun prompting users to opt-in on application pages [see image below] and will continue to do so as the notifications are phased out. The big question from a CRM standpoint, however, is how good of a job will the current big name companies do at keeping their users engaged?”

Like any good email marketer Jon understands that, more and more, email deliverability relies on subscriber engagement. And if social gaming companies start including non-relevant messaging, try to promote offer games to heavily, or worst of all, start sending  *GASP* third-party offers, vital communication with their users may be toast.

– John Getze | @johngetze

Scott Hardigree
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  • by Scott Hardigree
    Posted February 16, 2010 1:57 pm 0Likes

    Really great advise John! In regard to 3rd-party offers however, I do see scenarios where list rental could provide value to subscriber, particularly with introduction of other Facebook games. For the Game/List owner – value would come in another form$.

  • by John Getze
    Posted February 16, 2010 3:20 pm 0Likes

    Agreed – but they’d have to be done VERY tastefully (i.e. highly-targeted and relevant) :)

  • by JW
    Posted February 16, 2010 3:33 pm 0Likes

    D-Day is only 2 short weeks away. That is when notifications will be turned off completely and the only way games will be able to communicate with users is: 1) email 2) Facebook Fan Updates.

    We have yet to see a real email come from the big name players, although they are for sure in the works. As for now, every app is concerned with email, fanning and bookmarking.

    While tactics are aggressive right now, in the next two weeks, be in the lookout for games to get very in your face about sharing these things as well as sending out a bunch of notifications to try to get the last bang for their buck before they go away.

    • by Scott Hardigree | Indiemark
      Posted February 16, 2010 3:39 pm 0Likes

      It’s crunch time for sure! We’ve been working with a mid-sized Facebook game developer and in only two short weeks they’ve aggregated more than 140K subscribers and the number continues to grow sharply. Amazing.

  • by GeorgiaB
    Posted February 16, 2010 6:29 pm 0Likes

    I’m not sure about anyone else, but I don’t receive ANY email notifications from email. I wonder how many other Facebook users are in this same boat.

  • by Shua
    Posted February 16, 2010 8:48 pm 0Likes

    Great insight John – I hate those annoying Notifications!! I have found, and Im sure most will agree, the most creative solutions come out of the most constrained problems. Lets cross our fingers for some more valuable forms of brand to consumer communications coming from fb and fb apps.

  • by Jason French
    Posted February 17, 2010 10:01 am 0Likes

    Great post, John. I would agree with all of the above and only add that SMS and Social sharing will also become valuable tools as developers drive gamers back into their applications. Both offer immediacy and ShareThis offers the added benefit of bypassing Facebook’s T&C’s to allow individuals to post to their walls to drive virality and additional subscriber acquisition.

  • by Karrrrrrr
    Posted February 22, 2010 4:43 pm 0Likes

    John certainly knows what he’s talking about here. Great post.

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