Rebel Entertainment, a two-year-old gaming company founded by former staffers of Disney's online gaming unit, has fueled growth of its flagship online action game, Dungeon Rampage, through social media optimization, says Chad Ludwig, VP of marketing and analytics at the company.
Gamers can play Dungeon Rampage through the game's direct site (dungeonrampage.com), via Kongregate, another gaming community site, or through Facebook Connect. Rebel Entertainment chose these three avenues to best reach potential players, according to Ludwig.
"It's important to build a platform-agnostic but also cross-platform functionality that allows people to pick and choose what device they want to play on, what platform they want to play on, and the degree to which they want to engage socially," he says. "It was important for us to recognize the tools that Facebook provides, but also allow for communities that have had a bad experience with those tools and products in the past and are hesitant to engage with them - to give them a second gate to come in."
On Facebook, Rebel's Dungeon Rampage has increased its followers by 150,000 in each of the last four months, and the game itself has registered more than 4.5 million users since its September 2012 launch, according to the company. The game operates using a freemium business model in which a small percentage of players buy premium items for game play, and others are an audience for advertising or third-party offers.
Although Rebel made Facebook just one possible entry point to Dungeon Rampage, the company offers polls as well as Hangout and Tavern community pages on Facebook. The community pages attract screen shots of moments in the game that players find interesting, along with fan art and commentary on the game. Rebel sees these pages and activity on Facebook as a genuine and honest social media optimization strategy for Dungeon Rampage.
"There are clear functional tricks or tactical execution methods that you can use to improve your EdgeRank [Facebook's newsfeed choices algorithm] and visibility among people who like your page or app," says Ludwig. "If you just focus on the tactical tricks, you fail to get the point of what the page rank algorithm is trying to do - create good, compelling, and sustainable community."
Ludwig follows three principles in Rebel's Facebook strategy: connecting with customers early and often, facilitating interaction, and actively soliciting fans and listening to them.
"It's also important to foster and support organic community sites that grow up alongside yours. There's a Dungeon Rampage 'hangout' created by fans," he says. "I've been in organizations where attitudinal research was an afterthought…It's important to engage them before you launch the product, as you launch the product, and as you continue to enhance it."
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