Neglecting Brand Content Ecosystems

(Warning, it is a rant but the rant isn’t about in game issues … it’s a POV critical for business and brand health.)

Edit: visual aid added; invest into the right side to increase CLV; better ROI

I have noticed over the year that some burgeoning player content creators have dropped out of the making content on YouTube about E&P. (Some people on this forum will know what I mean… e.g. from killakilla and tccap to others).

They probably stopped due to the changes in the game or simply burnout.

On the other hand, it’s interesting to see a brand not only NOT support content creators but possibly just actively ignore an important segment of their audience ecosystem that other successful brands leverage to grow their consumer base.

As a brand and marketing specialist that has worked with a full spectrum of major global brands and successful startup brands… this is a major red flag on the health of the brand and the impending future for the consumer base. It’s just so “basic” to ignore and not support/amplify fan content creators.

And what’s worse is you can sense the fatigue and frustration from some of the current content creators, which reflect a lot of the player base (even the ones that drive your bottom line because we spend money.)

It’s bad enough that E+P youtubers have to take sponsorship from competing game brands, which are gladly sucking players away from this game (and this is NOT the content creators fault …. They need to have some compensation to offset the costs and time to run a YouTube channel)… but It’s not a good look for your brand.

Which makes me bummed out, because I like this game and I like the player base.

E+P’s facebook tactics lack seem to come from an outdated playbook from over ten years ago. SGG facebook posts are for grade schoolers … c’mon your best content is picture puzzles? How do you NOT know how important UGC (user generated content) by player content creators are for your audience to grow and expand? How do you not promote your most dedicated players through a simple content strategy?

I don’t want to look back and see this era as the beginning of the end…. but I only keep seeing red flags all year.

Sincerely,
A paying player (i,e your consumer base) trying to remain hopeful but struggling to keep loyal and a digital marketer who is just dumbfounded by the lack of vision in your brand business.

P.s.
I dunno…maybe it’s zynga not SGG… this article makes it clear they are out of touch Why Zynga's Stock Is Diving After Its Dramatic Comeback | Time

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On a positive note… I’m grateful for the current content creators like @NittanyLionRoar @Mr.Spock @JekylandHyde and hotatooo … their energy is what reinforces my optimism for the game.

Nowadays I need that reinforcement more than I did a year ago.

Note please “like” this post for better visibility

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Interesting excerpts from Why Zynga's Stock Is Diving After Its Dramatic Comeback | Time

  • Gibeau says. “We brought ruthless prioritization—this is what stays, this is what goes—and led the march forward to grow revenues and audience.”

Note: focused priorities is key to success… but not at the expense of neglecting “agile principles” and content/audience engagement strategy

  • During last week’s earning call, Gibeau acknowledged that the easing of pandemic restrictions meant people were also easing themselves away from mobile games, particularly players that joined earlier this year.

  • “[Players] seem to have been less committed to the games. They have been in the games for a less period of time.” he said on the call. “…And as the COVID restrictions started to lift, we saw people starting to play less or obviously had other things to do. The economy has opened up. And that was an area where we started to see the weakness.”

Note: we all know that the pandemic is far from over. Delta and now omicron. C’mon …. Maybe pay attention to the REAL reasons why you lost players? I have a sneaking feeling that’s not how competitors performed during this year

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SG could definitely partner with content creators better. We can barely get them to work with the calendar makers. But there are a few that are allowed to share Beta images ahead of the official release.

They like that players create this content, but don’t help or embrace it exactly as you said.

Less related disagreement

I also play a certain NBA video game. The content creators for those games talk about how interest is dying. Some have pointed to Google Trends as evidence. That peak is the first full week in April 2022. I started playing April 30, 2020.

To me, I think the pandemic ending is the reason for lower interest both among E&P and this other game (I don’t think I’m supposed to name “competitors” on the forum).

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Agree. Pandemic fatigue is going to create an explosion in offline activities.

But game brands can still engage O2O (offline to online)… whether it’s through limited edition merch drops w offline partners or other offline partnership opportunities.

Unfortunately, Omicron may force countries to tighten up on covid restrictions…. So there’s that.

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Conflicting opinion here…

SG made a game for people to enjoy. If they enjoy it, they’ll talk about it. If they want to, they’ll make videos. That’s on the players.

I don’t believe SG/Zynga needs to partner with anyone and be strong armed into sponsoring people. Let the game speak for itself.

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I don’t think there is a need for SG to do any form of sponsorship/ engagement with content creators. Is there anybody who started playing this game because they saw a YouTube video of someone playing it? I don’t see them creating new players of E&P, and I also don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone say solely because xyz has stopped putting videos up about the game, I’ll stop playing.

This game is a hobby and if the time/ interest of creating and running a channel isn’t there then content creators shouldn’t feel a need to do it. Life’s too short to do things that don’t bring joy.

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I may be wrong, but I don’t hear anyone talking about strong arming SG to support creators. OP seems to be referring to the mutually beneficial arrangement of supporting content creators in some way—since we drive a huge amount of business to them and keep players interested.

In a digital age, it seems like a basic tactic for supporting a healthy community. Also, keep in mind that SG/Zynga are spending a fortune on advertising, so it’s clear that word of mouth recommendations are not enough even for a strong product with a large creative budget.

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Much more beneficial to keep paying players engaged than to just pay to acquire new players who may or may not spend anything. YouTube content plays a huge role in keeping people engaged and interested—or even simply providing tips and advice for surpassing the learning curve and staying competitive with new content.

Content creators are unofficial brand ambassadors and have the potential to significantly influence the success and popularity of all kinds of games. Leveraging that influence is a smart move for just about any company.

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Is it an advertising model though that Zynga use for any brands? If its not its not something I realistically see them putting in place. If they did approach I could see them potentially wanting some form of content control or at least not have adverts for competitors games within videos about E&P it may be a tough ask for some to agree to that I’d imagine.

I’m a bit game obsessed so I watch large amounts of content, mainly in as much as watching war hits as I look to see team composition people are using and how I might be able to create similar. Hero review and new content review I pay less attention to as I prefer to form my own opinions of how to defeat based on my own roster.

I learn more spending an entire weekend rerolling to find new heroes to raid against than I do watching a video of heroes I don’t have or troop level I don’t have being used to attack them. Same goes for new heroes I acquire, at times I’ll sit and use flask after flask testing a new hero to see how it works for synergies in my combination as what may be useless for one player can fit for me due to other roster circumstances.

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We live in a new digital age and ecosystem…. Healthy long living Brands are about creating communities. This game has a major social aspect after all.

You are technically correct… businesses don’t have to support or amplifiy their user creators… but those aren’t brands they are purely products and don’t have Longetivity.

And the data shows what happens to businesses that don’t engage their audience or creators over the long term… as someone who likes this game and has witnessed what happens to businesses that neglect their ecosystem I am free to use my time to note what I think is a major red flag for this community’s health.

Voicing a perspective here as a member of the E&P community isn’t strong arming, it’s qualitative feedback.

Historical data unfortunately makes one man’s “belief” a moot point over the long term. But your voice here has as much weight as anyone else’s… so appreciate the dialogue.

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I started this thread without any hope that SGG will even see it, but by the off chance they do… it doesn’t hurt to point out how a healthier content and audience ecosystem is something successful brands pursue.

I know there are smart people at SGG, so I have hope since smart people can realize that businesses can improve via qualitative human feedback vs purely quantitative data feedback.

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It’s common knowledge that paid advertising has way worse ROI than organic word of mouth growth.

It’s common knowledge backed by tons of data that show that people are more likely to purchase a product recommended by a peer or influencer than a paid ad.

And there is a BIG difference between customer acquisition and customer retention. Most startups fail because they want to show rapid growth, and fail to increase or keep steady CLV (customer lifetime value).

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They don’t feel like they need to do that anymore. They have a large paying player base they need to satisfy with neverending new content, they milk enough per month. Why delegate resources to something else when current system works.

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Correct, they don’t and maybe won’t.

But I have worked with a lot of major global brands that all struggled with “digital transformation” over the past decade… it was painful for a lot of businesses to adopt.

Most of them resisted digital transformation due to corporate culture, until they HAD to… because the data doesn’t lie on why digital and audience ecosystems are important for
business and their bottom lines got impacted.

There are tons of articles about it… because it’s just the standard and norm now…Here are some just about UGC from a simple google search…

e.g.

  • If that’s not enough, take a look at these stats provided by HubSpot:
  • 86% of Fortune 500 companies report communities provide insights into customer needs (Sector Intelligence)
  • 71% of companies use customer collaborations for market research (Aberdeen)
  • 64% of companies state the brand community has improved their decision-making (Innsbruck University)
  • 53% of Americans who follow brands on social are more loyal to those brands (Convince & Convert)
  • 80% of brands say that their community building efforts have resulted in increased traffic (HubSpot)
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I have worked with both Porsche and Mercedes Benz … even luxury brands had to change from “old luxury” (exclusivity, showing off, eliteism ) outbound marketing to “modern luxury” inbound marketing (inclusivity, self-fulfillment, uniqueness).

There’s a reason why Mercedes started to amplify creators and influencers and feature more inclusive and new luxury people (e.g. ASAP Rocky - a black rapper) and Louis Vuitton did the same… even breaking the glass ceiling for a black designer from streetwear ( Virgil Abloh ) to lead their creative in house.

These old school rigid brands HAD to adopt to the new digital age and shed their old ways of marketing. And they are flourishing because of it.

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Agreed. They won’t until they have to. Same with every corporate I have consulted for. (For example, I worked w luxury lifestyle brands that resisted change until they had to. If you look at how luxury brands pivoted and changed from 2010 to 2020… it’s because it was driven by the changes in consumer ecosystem affecting their bottom line.)

The long term data shows why businesses engage their audience ecosystem better…

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Quick note

Content creators inherently reduce spend depth ( grind, speed ups, loot boxes, etc. )

By watching a video, or downloading a graphic, I can cut by 5% to 50% the amount of WE needed to complete Seasonal events ( depending on roster and event )

Anytime I can come prepared for MN, Krampus and Santa triple bosses, is 11 WE not spent and Battle items not spent

FIN

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Content creators bring in more consumers and increase spending by users. This is fact backed up by tons of data across many different categories of brands.

Let’s shift POV for a sec…

For example… people actually seem to watch summons videos on YouTube… which motivates similar behavior. Their audience spends more… so why not learn how to be more efficient in other game aspects so they can level up their purchased heroes? (The dolphins and some whales will learn… however the top echelon of whales will still spend to skip and advance as quickly as possible …. It depends on the player.)

Consumers who spend more, do want to squeeze more benefits or efficiency from the product (going from beginner to mid level to expert on the product).

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Not sure that this is surprising. The whole Anchor thing a few years back was a clear indication as to how sgg deals with content creators. Not saying it was well handled by Anchor or anything…but expecting anything from sgg of zynga on this front strikes me as thinking of a very wishful sort…

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