Zynga, aiming to expand its advertising revenue without annoying users, is quietly experimenting with "reward advertising" on CityVille that lets players earn energy by interacting with a sponsor.
Sponsors for the program, which rolled out in December, include Coca-Cola, MasterCard and the DVD release of the 20th Century Fox film What's Your Number?. When players got to a point in CityVille where they needed more energy, some had the option of "interacting" with the advertisers in various ways. In the case of the film, players were required to watch the trailer. MasterCard gave users a short survey.
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Players were exposed to the ads when they ran low on energy, in which case they'd see a window like this:
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The idea of using in-game rewards as a prize for being exposed to advertising isn't new. Facebook rolled out a program last May that rewarded users with Facebook Credits for watching ads in games from Zynga, among others. The Facebook program appears to have been limited, though.
Zynga, which only makes a fraction of its revenue from advertising (most come from purchases of virtual goods), seems to have had more success with reward advertising and is planning to include roll it out to FarmVille and Empire & Allies in coming weeks. Zynga's other forms of advertising include banner ads and branded integration.
For instance, a June program gave FarmVille players coveted “Double Mastery” points on crops and trees harvested within seven days when they place a Capital One Visigoth statue on their farms.
Will you click on reward ads? Let us know in the comments.
This story originally published on Mashable here.