Facebook killed mini-games – now they are back on Messenger and are a real growth hack for brands.

Facebook killed mini-games – now they are back on Messenger and are a real growth hack for brands.

July 4, 2018 by

A quick explainer what changed and how brands can grow their Messenger audience with Messenger games.

Many of us remember the time when we received a handful of FarmVille invitations a day and, maybe for the first time Facebook was pretty annoying if you cared about friends rather more than your digital pigs.

Zynga, the game company behind the FarmVille craze, started after Facebook opened their platform for third parties in 2007.
They launched with Texas Hold’Em Poker, the first game on the social platform, and were the fastest growing third party on Facebook with 40 million users in April 2009.
Then came FarmVille. 10 million daily active users in 6 weeks, 80 million in 6 months.
Zynga became an upstart with a billion USD valuation and hundreds of millions in revenue through in-game purchases — gaming on Facebook was a global phenomenon.

In 2012 Facebook changed their mind and decided to walk away from gaming.
Mini-games started to hurt the user experience and Zynga became too big.
This was a tough decision, as Facebook made about a quarter of their revenue through gaming.
Facebook banned games into the dark corners of their platform and it became niche compared to the scale of Facebook.

Now Facebook is changing their mind again. Facebook Messenger games are placed front and centre and are starting to thrive like in the old days.

Facebook is displaying the active (!) players of a game every time you open the game. So it’s easy to spot that classic arcade games like “EverWing” (14 million users) “Basketball FVR” (8 million users) or “Super bowling” (3.6 million users) are dominating the platform.

For consumer brands, Messenger games are a real engagement and growth engine.

Here is why:

Brands which want to increase the engagement on social or increase the customer lifetime value (CLTV) have to build a Messenger bot audience.
To get an audience on Messenger the user has to opt-in, eg. through writing a message or clicking on an ad. Otherwise, the brand can’t message the user. Those are the customer acquisition costs (CAC) brands have to get Messenger user.
Messenger Games provide that opt-in, so every game user becomes automatically a Messenger bot user. 🎉

 

  • Red Bull – launched the Airdrop Game. Collect Red Bull organics with your balloon and avoid the rocks.
  • KLM – One of the leading brands in the messaging space launched „Flying in the sky.“ Flying with KLMs historic machines to collect coins and not run out of time.

The average CPC for a Facebook Messenger ad is currently a little above 1.20$.
With the traction that the first brand Messenger games have shown the CACs by using a Messenger game is around 3x lower than using ads. The best part about this: it’s a one-time investment so the return on investment is getting even bigger over time.

Especially for large brands which aim for a bigger audience that is a real opportunity to grow their audience on Messenger quickly.