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Sales Promotion Case Study: Farmville

Advertising that Works!

This week’s “Advertising That Works!” is about one of the most successful sales promotions in honor of Monday’s blog. FarmVille is an online game where you build your own farm, harvest crops and raise animals. The company that created FarmVille, Zynga, gained 58 million users in just 6 months after launch and that is about as successful a sales promotion as there ever was. FarmVille launched in June 2009 and became the fastest-growing game in history at the time, putting Zynga into the undisputed lead role as the biggest social game company on Facebook. In the first quarter, they generated about $235 million in revenue. Ad revenue in the quarter was $9.9 million, and most of the money came from virtual goods sales. In that quarter, it had about 236 million monthly active users. So Zynga generated roughly $1.04 per user per quarter, or $4.16 per user per year.

So what made FarmVille so successful?

  • The game is interactive, where you must come back often to keep your crops alive and your animals fed. You can send people items to help them build their farms, as well. It makes you come back every few hours or at least once in 2-3 days for you to play meaningfully. And it’s tough to let go once you start.
  • It helps you stay connected by receiving and giving gifts to friends all the time. It may not be very meaningful interaction, but it somehow gives one something to look forward to each day, specially to those who are not working (are at home) and thus would like to be able to stay connected in some way without having too much to say.
  • Viral – Nothing is quite as viral as FarmVille. The well-written status updates and messages are a clear indication of how well Zynga understand user psychographics.
  • FarmVille undoubtedly sets the tone for a new era of social promotions where it is not the seller but the users promoting the product.


Author: The Cheeps

"The Cheeps" are the chick designers that run Cheep Cheep Postcards and Cheep Cheep Websites, two divisions of Hunter-McMain, Inc. We're here to provide fun information on advertising design, business tips, and holidays--sometimes random--we would like to celebrate with you.

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