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What Zynga means for mobile marketing

Social gaming, and Zynga specifically, is transforming the online gaming market, starting with Internet poker. Last month, we explored how this could affect the future of online poker affiliate marketing. Today, we’ll look at the potential effects it may have on mobile marketing.

The biggest mobile marketing challenge facing gaming affiliates in 2011 is the competition we’re facing from the sheer size and power of the new social gaming revolution represented by Zynga.

Today, when players search for online gaming terms — such as “Facebook poker” — many times, they’re searching for Zynga. And as Zynga gets set to differentiate itself from Facebook and create its own mobile marketing campaigns (such as the imminent launch of Zynga Mobile UK), look for its own efforts to maximize mobile marketing and SEO to increase.

So how can you compete against this? Or, how can you use the popularity of Zynga to your advantage as a mobile gaming affiliate? An innovative affiliate could think of more than a few ways to leverage this growing interest in social gaming. For the purposes of this article, let’s break it down into two primary factors.

Mobile marketing that targets Zynga’s audience
One approach to take is gearing your mobile marketing strategies to compete with Zynga’s. This means knowingly trying to snag some of the users searching for Zynga games and redirecting them to your for-cash poker affiliate program partners.

Pros: The popularity of Zynga has meant an increase in online searches for gaming terms over the past few years. That means more search activity exists online, and represents more chances for gaming affiliates to score traffic.

Cons: If someone is searching for Zynga games and clicks on your link, then realizes its not for Zynga but for a for-cash site, his or her first impulse may be dismissal, or anger. That means you have to work harder to keep that visitor on your site. Conversions may not be easy to come by using this method. You’ll also have to be careful to use this method with programs that are available to both U.S. and UK players — a particular challenge in today’s online gambling marketplace.

Mobile marketing that bypasses Zynga’s audience
The other main option is to position your site in opposition to Zynga’s powerful online presence. This is trickier, but more likely to win conversions. Your best bet here is to create an SEO presence explaining why for-cash gaming is superior to social gaming sites like Zynga. Think of blog headlines like: “Like Zynga Poker? Here’s why Bodog is Better” or something along those lines.

Again, you’ll be using the same keywords that Zynga targets, but instead of trying to lure in Zynga players, you’ll be trying to convince online searches of the benefits of trying out gaming that isn’t Zynga.

Pros: Online gambling is a quickly growing market: H2 Gambling Capital estimates that the growth rate for mobile gambling is 19.3%. That’s proof that there’s a huge market potential for online gambling other than Zynga.

Cons: Again, if you’re positioning yourself with Zynga’s keywords, you’re essentially pitting your mobile marketing strategy against Zygna’s social gaming power. And that’s going to be a challenge, no matter how you slice it. The trick is to state up front that your site offers games that aren’t Zynga, but that are superior to Zynga — “if you like Zygna, you’ll love this,” etc.

What do you think?
Has Zynga been affecting the way you approach mobile marketing? Do you anticipate big changes to the market because of the new methods of social gaming, or do you think it’s a fad? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts.