Virtual world marketing according to Habbo

Timo Soininen (CEO of Sulake, owners of Habbo) features in a short but sweet interview over on BusinessWeek [Full article here].

Soininen lays down their impressive user and engagement numbers – 86m registered users and 8.3m unique visitors/month. As this graph shows, Habbo is a major force in the metaverse space.

The CEO then went on to give his opinion on brand and marketing strategies in web 2.0 enviroments (including virtual worlds).

Brands in virtual worlds and social networking sites have to be unobtrusive. The idea is less to be about a specific location or room, and more to become a topic of conversation, something users can take with them. In Habbo that takes the form of digital items purchased via micro-transactions, the millenial version of that Guns n Roses poster on your bedroom wall

He then further added:

The real beef for advertisers online, is in community activities. If you want to get meaningful reach, that’s where it is.

We took exactly this approach with our recent campaign for L’Oreal Paris in Second Life. We deliberately steered away from building an island and asking residents to visit it and instead worked closely with existing retailers on mainland locations – places with large, strong, loyal customer bases firmly embedded into the SL economy and distribution network.

Furthermore, rather than ‘blasting out’ the fact that L’Oreal Paris was marketing in SL, instead our display boards were subtly placed into the selected stores to blend in with the incumbent products.

Taking this approach allowed us to tap in to the communities already created and offer branded content we knew would be in demand from the identified target markets.