Call-To-Action in games

Shannon Forbes - Digifianz Marketing Analyst

Written by Shannon Forbes - Digifianz Marketing Analyst

 On 8/15/19 2:00 PM

 Cartoon man playing Plinq games on a computer at a desk due to call to action in games

Are your current CTAs falling flat?  If you’re having trouble getting your customers to take that next step and sign up for blog updates, content offers, or the like, you might need to renovate your CTA packaging.  Even if you have a great message, you may be missing the target if it’s hidden in a sub-par package.  

What’s sub-par packaging?  Traditional media (we call this “plain media”), such as print and video ads, which lack the dynamicity of games.  Only the very best videos get watched all the way to the end, and of those even fewer get a re-watch.

There’s no need to give up hope though, advergames, or advertising games, are the perfect medium to house CTAs - they’re entertaining, often free, and they provide a positive association with your brand from the get-go!

Do you remember the three components that every advergame should have?  Advergames need:

  • Fun
  • Branding
  • A business goal

The calls to action that we’ll be looking at in this post are mostly related to the business goal element.  However, you should always keep in mind the most important call to action in a game: “Play”. Whatever else you do, always remember that games are about fun!  If no one plays your game, the rest of your CTAs within it don’t make a difference.



Types of calls to action in games:

Internal CTAs- (Things about the game)

An internal CTA is one focused on promoting the game itself.  

If your game is fun, players will automatically want to tell their friends about it.  Internal Calls to Action are simply to make it easier for them to spread the word. 

How often have you found an awesome product and suddenly become its loudest spokesperson?  When we have a positive experience we’re likely to share it with our friends and family because we want them to benefit from the same excellent service or helpful product.

The same goes for pastimes.  People love to share entertaining experiences, especially if that means that they could beat their know-it-all brother!  Competition is part of human nature - why not take advantage of a little sibling rivalry to promote your advergame (and thereby, your brand)?  

You can use internal CTAs to get traction and help your game go viral!

Closeup of Sketchrally game from Plinq with buttons to share on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram showing how to use calls to action in games

An example of an internal CTA is to invite friends to “like” or “follow” the game.  These messages need to allow for personalization, both because it’s a requirement by platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and to avoid having the messages confused with spam!  In order for friend invites to have the maximum effect, your game needs to include leaderboards, especially friends leaderboards.  You don’t want to just beat your brother, you want to tell everyone that you won!

Another internal CTA is allowing the player to share a screenshot or high score.  One of the great benefits of advergames versus traditional advertisements is that games provide unique images.  Each time someone plays, they make different choices and actions, creating new screenshots of their experience. One person may triumph while another struggles, all providing interesting or comic images that can be posted on social media.

The cooler your advergame (and therefore, the screenshots), the better.  Your game design could be visually stunning, funny, or cute. One look at the adorable images from the word puzzle game, Alphabear, are enough to make anyone want to play!

Alphabear screenshots mashup showing Calls-To-Action (CTAS) in games

The final internal CTA we’ll mention is giving players the option to review and rate the game.  Do players love your game? Give them the opportunity to say so! Leaving positive feedback makes customers feel like they’re “helping” a brand they like, which in turn provides shareable stats for you.  On the other hand, if your game has any bugs or issues, give your customers the chance to tell you about it first!  


External CTAs (Things about the brand)

Any call to action that can be put on a website can be put in a game.  Seriously!

Just take a look at the following brand CTAs that can be placed inside a game as a clickable button:

  • Subscribe
  • Book a call
  • Download a content offer, such as an eBook 
  • Like / Follow on social media
  • Share content on Social Media

Customers may be more amenable to and intrigued by CTAs within game since they’re already enjoying the entertaining experience you’re giving them (possibly for free).  Providing an advergame for your customers creates a kind of symbiotic relationship. You’re providing entertainment and your customer is interacting with your brand (likely for a significant amount of time).

A game isn’t how customers are used to communicating with companies.  Customers are accustomed to being talked at, not interacting through play.  Gameplay is participatory, which could increase the likelihood that players will further engage by clicking a CTA. 

External CTAs within a game also have the benefit of your customer’s full attention.  You don’t have any competition in your game-world.


Incentives for CTAs

Do you ever struggle to get your customers to promote your brand?  Games provide the unique opportunity to incentivize your customers for performing CTAs.

How does this work?  In an advergame you can give extra game credits for subscribing to a blog or open up a new game level for sharing the game on Facebook. 

What’s a free incentive that actually motivates people?  In-game incentives that improve the player experience or create a unique experience.  Just take a look at these in-game incentives you can provide for performing CTAs:

    • Credits (used to play or buy game items)
    • Unlock content:
      • Levels
      • Characters
      • Environments / Worlds

Plinq game Touchdown screenshot with options to share of Facebook and Twitter and Instagram showing howto combine calls to action with games

Players love to customize their experience, and in-game credits allow you to offer this perk in a financially-savvy way.

It’s key to understand the value of a CTA in order to know how much of an incentive to offer.  A “share” on social media is more of a commitment on the part of your customer, so this should be rewarded with a higher incentive than simply giving your page a “like.”  “Sharing” on social media or providing an email address is a “cost” to your customer, but if you add an incentive then it adds value to the interaction.  Cost + incentive = positive value for your customer.  

Game incentives are an underutilized chance to garner brand promotion, without burning through your marketing budget.  

Stop wasting time and money on ineffective CTAs.  Create a fun advergame and your customers will promote it - and your brand - for you!  Advergames increase customer loyalty and improve the customer experience.  Take your marketing to the next level with an advergame!

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