The problem with marketing a product that aims to make life easier for busy parents is they’re often too busy helping with homework, making dinner and telling bedtime stories to notice any promotional efforts.
That was the dilemma Nissan faced as it sought to build awareness of its new Quest Minivan. To break through, the company engaged Meebo, provider of a popular web-based IM platform with an integrated ad unit. Meebo created a casual gaming experience that captured the interest of Nissan’s target audience. In fact, consumers engaged with the ad unit 150,000 times over the course of its seven-week run earlier this year, giving it a 1.14 percent engagement rate.
According to Meebo, the goal of the game, Load N’ Go, was to provide an entertaining experience that would keep parents interested for an extensive period of time while also driving home the idea that this vehicle makes the difficult job of parenting a little easier.
In addition to capturing parents’ attention, Meebo says Nissan also wanted to “drive traffic to the Quest site to generate solid leads and create brand evangelists.”
In the game, users are asked to load a Quest van with various items for camping, beach and shopping trips by dragging and dropping them into a cloud that hovers over the vehicle. In turn, the game highlights the van’s permanent rear storage well, quick-release flat-fold third row, and flexible seat configuration. Players can also watch a video and view photos of the van’s interior.
The execution incorporated Meebo’s Animated Media Alert, a rollover ad that expands to 900x400 upon engagement. This was integrated into the Meebo Bar, a footer that is distributed across Meebo’s network of 8,000 partner sites, including Entertainment Weekly, CafeMom, Pep Boys and Kraft.
Meebo went with a casual gaming concept because data from consumer technology research firm Parks Associates finds online gaming leads all other online entertainment – including social networks – and is driven largely by casual gaming activities and because a large percentage of casual gamers are moms.
According to Meebo, the average engagement rate for the game across Meebo.com and its network of publishers was 1.14 percent -- much higher than the industry average of .08 percent for online ads viewed within the auto category. What’s more, the average time users spent within the ad across both channels was 55 seconds. Meebo says this leads the average time a consumer spends engaging with an auto ad online by 17.5 seconds.
The average completion rate for the video was 59 percent, while the number of games completed averaged 49 percent.
Additionally, audience reach was further extended with thousands of shares on social media sites, Meebo says.
“Creating a casual game – that users opted into – with various challenges, was an effective way to keep audiences immersed in the brand experience for a longer period of time,” said Meebo’s chief revenue officer, Carter Brokaw.
This was Nissan’s first campaign with Meebo.
According to Josh Clifton, manager of Nissan communications and social media for Nissan North America, “Our objective was to increase awareness through casual gaming and it appeared that our goal was achieved. All our benchmarks were exceeded with higher than average engagement, completion rates and time spent engaging our ad.”
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.