Zynga’s new direction for Draw Something has players drawing brands

May 4, 2012
Games

Zynga spent a reported $180 million acquiring app developer OMGPOP after the explosion of success in its social game Draw Something, and now it seems the FarmVille giant is ready to start using it to make some money. According to a story from AdAge, Zynga is integrating brand advertising into Draw Something in what sounds […]

Zynga spent a reported $180 million acquiring app developer OMGPOP after the explosion of success in its social game Draw Something, and now it seems the FarmVille giant is ready to start using it to make some money.

According to a story from AdAge, Zynga is integrating brand advertising into Draw Something in what sounds like a pretty effective (and potentially subtle) way: by adding sponsored brands as game objectives. That is, instead of getting a prompt to draw something like a sailboat or a piece of popular culture, Draw Something’s prompts will include drawing brands.

Draw Something previously included a free version that was supported by banner ads and a paid, no-ads version. The game saw 50 million downloads in just 50 days, and although recent data suggests a drop-off in daily users in just a month, there are still lots of people playing the Pictionary-like mobile game. It seems that one of the first to take advantage of adding brands to Draw Something is the National HockeyLeague, which has been posting drawings made by users on its Pinterest page. Zynga is also courting popular brands Doritos, Pepsi and KFC.

The only trouble with this advertising plan is that Draw Something may be losing users. A recent study from App Data suggested that Draw Something has seen a decline of almost five million daily active users in a single month, dropping from about 15 million active players to about 10 million. Are some users just naturally leaving the game because the novelty is wearing off, or is Draw Something in a serious decline?

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If Zynga can keep Draw Something’s user numbers high, though, it seems as though the company stands to make quite a bit from advertising in the game. Last year, the company reported that about 9 percent of its total revenue for the fourth quarter of 2011 came from advertising. That’s about $28 million and with Draw Something’s popularity, that number could increase quite a bit.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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