Zynga Launches Sponsored Play Branded Levels

Farmville Harvest SwapGaming company Zynga has launched an ad unit called ‘Sponsored play’ that inserts branded levels of gameplay into its games, according to a report in AdAge. The unit was created by Studio E, Zyngas in-house agency formed earlier this year. Zynga’s best-known games are FarmVille and Words With Friends.

Zyngas VP-sales Julie Shumaker described Sponsored Play as: “product placement at scale.” Brands are charged each time a person plays their sponsored level and can offer players a reward in exchange for playing.

Clorox and Naked Juice are two of the first brands to have tested the unit. During the branded products testing period, Zynga measured double-digit increases in the number of people that opt to play a sponsored level versus those who chose to watch video ads, with people spending on average 15 to 25 seconds in each branded level.

In Q2 2015, advertising accounted for just under 19 per cent of Zynga’s revenues, with the lion’s share – 81 per cent – from in-game sales of virtual goods. Sponsored Play is one way in which it is hoping to reduce its reliance on virtual goods and increase the revenue contribution made by advertising.