Virtual Goods Summit: 5 Experts Discuss “Measuring The Health Of Your Virtual Economy”

5 Experts in social media analytics sat down to discuss how to understand whether your virtual economy is healthy, monetizable and futureproofed.

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Ian Swanson from Sometrics made some great points about their GameCoins product, which allows users to gain Gamecoins from all kinds of activity, and then can use those to buy Facebook Credits. He also discussed the fact that while a company is going to generate the majority of their revenue from the users that purchase virtual currencies, it’s important to understand the users that affect the buying users. Ian told a story about a woman player who spent nothing, but after they looked deeper into the analytics, they found that she was inciting other players to spend money and play more.

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Nicholas Talarico from Leveraged moderated the session, and told the story about the importance of offers in the pre-Farmville ecosystem, but how that has diversified as the social gaming market has matured.

Mike Ouye from Crowdstar explained that seeded premium currency and purchased premium currencies are extremely different, and it’s important for a company needs to watch that split, and to understand where that premium currency is flowing through your economy. It’s the lifeblood of any virtual economy.

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Chethan Ramachandran discussed dynamic pricing and dynamic virtual goods, and made great points that we’re going to start to dynamically alter prices and virtual goods based on the user that’s currently engaging the service. This is something I see in the industry myself, and while the companies that are currently succeeding are doing this manually, it would be incredible to build a system that used metrics to understand a user and then dynamically propose prices and virtual goods to them.

Albert Lai from Kontagent:talked about how to predict the lifetime value of a user. This translates to better ways to optimize media spend, as users can know who to target. He explained that many media buyers are coming into the fold with tons of money, and it means that users’ lifetime value is as much about who they will bring into the game as their individual spend.

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Finally, Nicholas asked some great questions about Facebook Credits. How has their seeding program affected you, and will Facebook Credits kill whales? The panel agreed that seeding is going to be important, because it gives users a taste of premium content, and that the whales will be whales, no matter what.

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