Zynga Files a Profitable IPO as Social Gaming Heats Up

Zynga, the king of the social gaming platforms, filed a $1 billion dollar IPO on Friday and unlike other recent IPO announcements, those are coins you hear jingling in their pockets.

According to CNN Money, Zynga earned $11.8 million on sales of $235.4 million in the first three months of this year alone. With social gaming expected to rise to $1.1 billion this year alone, they’re sitting very, very pretty.

Zynga isn’t the only group cheering about the rise in social gaming, many brands have found marketing success with in-game advertising. P&G’s Bounty made a big splash (then they used one towel to clean it up!) in the Electronic Art’s game “Restaurant City.” In the game, players can unlock rolls of Bounty towels, or let loose a special Bounty janitor, both of which have the power to clean up faster. I haven’t played the game, but I assume that faster clean-up means your restaurant can serve more customers and earn you more virtual bucks.

ExactTarget Prepares for Mobile Dependence Day

It’s coming soon, that day where we throw off the corded shackles and declare our independence from all things hard-wired. No longer will we have to sit at our desk to get email, be at home to get our phone calls or lounge in front of the TV just to watch American Idol. Mobile Dependence Day is fast approaching and ExactTarget is here to tell us all about it.

Subscribers, Fans and Followers #9, gives you the inside look at all things mobile and it does it with a sense of humor rarely seen in statistical works. Hey, they make their pie-charts out of actual pies. They also made the nifty graphic you see here (I’m just borrowing it.) Their point, is that the mobile phone is a modern-day Swiss Army knife. An easily pocketed tool that can get you out of almost any jam. Though, I don’t think you can use it to open a bottle top, but you can us it to pretend drink a glass of beer.

The Economic Benefits of Buying Local

How much money did you spend at a local, independent business this week? Books from a used book shop instead of Amazon? Fruit from a farmer’s market instead of a grocery chain? Perhaps you hired a local handyman to fix that leak in your sink.

Independent We Stand says that if every family spent $10 a month at a local store, $9.3 billion would be returned to the local economy. That’s more money for schools and roads and fire equipment. That’s money to put a park on a vacant lot or create a safer environment for you and yours.

The initiative thinks that more people would buy locally if they truly understood the impact, so they’ve created an online widget that makes it crystal clear. Visit IndependentWeStand.org, and click on the economic impact calculator. Enter your state and choose the metro-area nearest you and get ready to be amazed. Those dollars really add up fast.

American Express Has a New Twist on the Old Deal

Everyone loves a discount, but remembering to print or cut, then carry and redeem a coupon is a hassle. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone out to eat, only to realize that I left the coupon at home. And I’m here to tell you, most places won’t give you the deal without that golden ticket in hand.

Enter American Express. They’re working to eliminate the hassle of coupon redemption by eliminating the coupon, printable or otherwise. They’ve teamed up with Foursquare on a new program that gives consumers cash back on their American Express card when they fulfill a deal requirement. No coupon needed.

SmartBlog talked with American Express Vice President of Global Marketing Capabilities Dave Wolf about the idea and here’s what he had to say:

Strong Growth Expected in Location-Based Services

In real estate, location is everything and it’s pretty important when it comes to marketing, too.  According to a study by Pyramid Research, location-based revenue in the US is expected to climb from $2.8 billion in 2010 to $10.3 billion in 2015.

A big chunk of that change will go out to location-based advertising, which, according to Pyramid, is the fastest growing segment. They expect it to be responsible for 60% of the location-based service revenue by 2015. Within that, local search is key.

“Not only are navigation applications moving to a search-funded model, but there are also a wide range of other companies looking to capitalize on the growth of local search, including start-ups (such as Poynt and Yelp), local business advertising specialists (such as Yellow Pages) and vertical aggregators (such as toptable and HotelBooker).”

Insurance Emails Click While Technology Emails Lag

Social media is great for the fast hit, but email is still the option of choice when it comes to delivering a customized marketing message.

A new study by Harte-Hanks shows that overall delivery rates are at 95% for 2010, slightly up from 2009 and unsubscribes are down to .19%.

When it comes to the all important open and click, it varies by industry. Overall, open rates dropped to 17% from 26%, but Harte-Hanks says this might not be an accurate depiction of the facts. They say that many emails only report as “open” once the images have been downloaded, but many people will skip the images, rather than deal with the potential for a virus or simply because it’s an unnecessary step.

Clickthroughs Are Still the Most Used Marketing Metric

When asked what types of metrics they use to measure success, the majority of marketers responded with the good old clickthrough. Now, I’m all for “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but we’re starting to see that, especially with social media, counting clicks isn’t the best way to gauge success.

So what is? eMarketer has seven answers in their new book, “Digital Impact: The Two Secrets to Online Marketing Success.” Written by eMarketer CEO and co-founder Geoff Ramsey and Vipin Mayar, EVP of McCann Worldgroup, the book states that there are seven types of metrics, that if mastered, will give you a clear picture of how you’re doing.

Let’s take a closer look at a couple of them.

Qualified Reach, or Qualified Visits