Zynga, the game maker behind popular mobile game franchises such as “FarmVille” and “Words With Friends,” has developed a new ad product called Sponsored Play, which inserts branded levels into its games that play just like a normal level. Brands will work with Zynga’s in-house agency Studio E to create those branded levels, which are part of Zynga’s push to attract more ad dollars to subsidize its largely free-to-play games. Clorox and Naked Juice are reportedly among the first brands to test this innovative in-game ad format.
What Brands Need To Do
By giving brands the option to sponsor game levels, Zynga has essentially created the equivalent of product placement in mobile gaming. It replaces the disruptive in-app banners that usually populate free mobile games today, and offers a fun, native way to engage with the players instead. For brands that aim to reach young millennial audiences, this new ad unit provides a unique way to make a lasting impression on mobile gamers.