What Zynga is showing is that it is willing to copy, then innovate on high-quality games perfected by others, and use its market size, cash, and optimization techniques to do that. Its cross-promotion efforts include strategically placed buttons for Café World in other games, including hits like FarmVille, Mafia Wars, YoVille and more. In terms of money, we’ve heard from multiple sources that Zynga is spending $50 million on Facebook ads this year. Meanwhile, Zynga isn’t just coming out with quality new games. It keeps pumping out new versions of existing games, like its recent expansions of Mafia Wars.
Social game leader Zynga are reportedly spending $50MM/year to advertise on Facebook. From an advertising perspective, it is a slam dunk: highly targeted prospects with easy, immediate conversion opportunity and positive reinforcement (the viral part of the game) encouraging repeat business. It will be interesting to see what kind of site changes Facebook is going to be willing to make to improve the experience for game companies like Zynga.
It has been interesting for me to see friends and family in the 50+ age bracket get addicted, er, involved, in the Mafia Wars and now Farmville. These games have brought a lot of dedicated users to Facebook from a demographic that Facebook is not necessarily targeting. The game companies are in a unique position as a source of acquisition and ad revenue. And the opportunity for more revenue with intelligent virtual economy partnerships.
Side note: Inside Social Games is a pretty good site. Seems like a natural acquisition / partnership with the larger tech news sites.