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Since all Gbanga apps published thus far are absolutely free, we receive many questions concerning how we generate revenue. Many free apps in the App Store display banner ads to make up for lost income. We personally see this as something rather annoying that reduces the game’s fun factor and we’re sure most of our players share this opinion.

Image showing brands and products in mobile apps. Location-based features increase the marketing and advertising effect.

Image showing brands and products in mobile apps. Location-based features increase the marketing and advertising effect.

In Gbanga Famiglia, players can buy all kinds of upgrades and power-ups—such as bouncers, police megaphones, or candy factories—that make life as an infamous mixed-reality Mafioso more rewarding. However purchasing upgrades and power-ups is not required to enjoy the game and most of these items can be won by participating in sidequests or seasonal quests. We’re still happy to see that a lot of our players show us their appreciation by purchasing some of these items nonetheless!

Hot Topic: Location-Based In-Game Product Placement

In-app product placement is a very recent concept envisioned by marketing futurists and trend scouts, who highlight that advertising performs most efficiently when attached to positive emotions. As stated on the Subprint blog, people generally don’t like straightforward advertising as traditional mobile ads are not likely to generate such feelings. However, as outlined on Mashable, if product placement is nicely wrapped in content such as a movie or game story then players can begin to appreciate it. Players would rather have their in-game hero driving a car or eating a dish, which can be purchased in the real world—and the product matters to them more because they like the character and the story, hence having a real product in the game enhances the game experience. Putting the product into location-based context makes it interesting for nearby customers and leads to even more relevant advertising.

Pioneer Gbanga Already Offering B2B Solutions for In-App Advertising

Gbanga games offer a great platform for location-based in-game product placement and therefore 2012 was an interesting year for Gbanga in terms of business partnerships. Such partnerships granted us new revenue opportunities, which compensated for the development and maintenance efforts of our games, and also positioned us as one of the top providers of mixed-reality games and mobile gamification. We investigated two new partnership models: a collaboration with Coupies, and a series of Promo Quests.

Coupons That Generate Walk-In Customers

This images shows a Gbanga Famiglia item representing a Coupies Gift

This images shows a Gbanga Famiglia item representing a Coupies Gift

We were able to refresh our partnership with Coupies, a location-based couponing service that calls the user’s attention to offers and bargains in a wide variety of shops in their immediate surroundings. After a test run in Germany, Gbanga Famigliaplayers in other countries will soon be able to profit from Coupies vouchers. Vouchers are integrated in the game, so players can collect and redeem them without leaving the app.

Successful In-Game Advertisement Showcases In 2012

Promo Quests, the innovative business partnership model that we launched last year, give local businesses the chance to create awareness campaigns in the Gbanga Famiglia player community, communicating their products and points of sales. Staying true to ourselves, this is not done through banner ads.

“In the Gbanga game, the users can playfully interact with our hotel and learn about our diverse wellness offers,” says in-app advertiser Eve Müggenburg, Hotel Stoos.

The idea is that products sponsor fun quests directly in the Gbanga Famiglia game story that players can enjoy. Items, designed in the Gbanga Famiglia paper cut style, and reflecting our partner business’ offers, are distributed in-game. Players earn points by collecting these Promo Quest items and can also take part in competitions to win great prizes. Our partners’ points of sales are additionally highlighted on the game map.

We are sure most of Gbanga players have fond memories of the Hotel Stoos Quest, our first Promo Quest in collaboration with the Seminar- and Wellnesshotel Stoos, where several thousands Stoos icons were collected and traded to determine who won awesome wellness stays in the hotel.

“It’s not so easy anymore to reach a young audience through traditional marketing channels. In the Gbanga game, the users can playfully interact with our hotel and learn about our diverse wellness offers. This way we can leave a long-lasting positive impression among all the players.” says Eve Müggenburg, Head of Marketing at Seminar- and Wellnesshotel Stoos.

Outlook 2013: Computer Retailer Gives Away Real Computers

In 2013, we continue to run Promo Quests in our games. It is a great way for local businesses to promote their products in an entertaining and interactive way among a constantly growing community and without having to invest in developing their own game. Our Promo Quest pilot with Seminar- and Wellnesshotel Stoos was a great success and we’re happy to announce that we have already found a new partner for a new exciting quest starting very soon: a computer retailer will place virtual computer parts that can be assembled to a coupon for a real computer.

While we keep extending our newest game, Animals: Redd, into a location-based pet game, we are also looking for business partners in animal related areas such as pet food producers, pet shops, zoos, etc. that are interested in creating sustainable awareness for their offers and shops. Stay tuned to learn more of how advertising and being advertised on can be incredible fun.

Call Markus today to learn how your company can sponsor an exciting side quest in one of our games.

Matthias is founder and CEO of Gbanga and a believer in the mixed-reality genre. He tweets on @babalunda and instagrams.

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We are the serious games agency Gbanga. As a specialist for gamification games and playful experiences, Gbanga implements games for contract customers. We would love to work with you on your next game!