Do Missions on Empire Avenue Work?

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This article is due in part to recent conversations with Jeremy Blanton @JB140 and Dwayne Kilbourne @dwaynekilbourne who both brought up their own experiments with Empire Avenue’s Missions. Thanks guys!

It would be unfair after only one test to say missions are a waste of eaves. In case you do not know eaves are the currency of Empire Avenue. If you don’t know Empire Avenue, EAv to users, here is a short conversation with Liz Strauss and Chris Pirillo on the topic of Empire Avenue.

[powerpress url="http://thekencook.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/empireave-pirillo-strauss.mp3"]

At the base level EAv is a game. It is a social game and very business friendly. There are currently a large percentage of my “friends” and social connections experimenting with EAv and writing about it still looking for gold in the social media realm. Still others are sitting in their grandmother’s basement playing Zelda and listening to the Star Wars soundtrack.

Not too long ago the fine folks over at EAv began touting a new part of “the game” called Missions. Recently it has been a hot topic among a few friends and acquaintances so I decided to try a mission myself. Having listened to different ways people have used missions I decided to see if I could pick up a few new subscribers to my Feedburner account for this website. Figure A is before the campaign began and Figure B is after it ended.

For my mission reward I offered 1500e (1500 eaves) for people to subscribe to the RSS feed. Indeed 53 people claimed my 1500e. The screen captures speak for themselves …

Figure 1 - before spending 79,500 eaves

In fairness I do not know what I am doing. I am shooting gnats with peas from a wet noodle in the dark.  Even still the numbers are somewhat eye-opening and have certainly lead to further testing … now if I could only get funding for this series!

About kencook

Writer for hire, SEO analyst. American Soldier.
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  • http://twitter.com/Freedomwalker77 Kim Lavigne

    EAV missions are amazing…true, some people just take the eaves and run, but those that do share content are completely worth it!  These are the people you want sharing your content, as they are usually absolutely engaging people!

    • http://thekencook.com/ Ken Cook

      Just think if you could choose individually the people you want to extend the offer to AND base the Mission reward on different criteria as in 5000e for people with 10k friends and 30,000e for people with 100,000 friends or whatever the metrics would be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=539037245 Kosta Montoya

    yes it does

  • http://twitter.com/Eminance1 Eminance

    Tired of joining up hundreds of networks subscribing etc they forget they not trying to sell to us to sell to everyone one else via us.  Then getting abused when a simple error is made. that is what the problem is.

    • http://thekencook.com/ Ken Cook

      Very astute! “They forget they are not trying to sell to us but to sell to everyone else via us.” I really, really dig that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=657809232 Drew Riggio

    I have been debating trying missions just because I am worried that people will steal the Eaves and not do anything. :(

    • http://thekencook.com/ Ken Cook

      Drew that plays into the experiments. I wish I had more funding to stretch it out and answer all the questions we’ll have but likely will not. Thanks for commenting, don’t be a stranger.

  • http://twitter.com/RevampYourMind1 Revamp Your Mind

    Further more how much time do they think we have to write countless reviews  etc some requesting a lot of detail.   they miss the point they should be making it easy for us to share etc not aking for reviews that take 30 minutes to write about subjects the EAvers have no interest in.  That my thoughts and thanks for allow me to air them

    • http://thekencook.com/ Ken Cook

      Great points and agreed. I see missions with people asking for a comment, like, G+, share and follow for 500 or 1000e and think “who’s going to do that?” My guess is that’s just setting one’s self up to be ripped off. In other words people may claim the mission and only do one of the requested tasks if any.

  • http://socialpositive.wordpress.com/ Nicolas Liu

    Small sample. It means nothing. My experience tells me that 80% did something and 35% did what I ask them to do. Just like advertising, one needs to know how to write or construct an effective mission.

    • http://thekencook.com/ Ken Cook

      I like your point in comparison to advertising. If a business could make one sale for every person who heard their radio spot there would be no need for ad sales people. Thanks for your insight.

  • Liz Pullen

    Some kinds of Missions are more successful than others.  I think that any Mission that asks the player to buy something, subscribe or comment is less successful than ones that say, ask for a +K, RT, Like or Twitter Follow. 

    I think the amount of money you offered was fair and it’s lousy that so many people didn’t follow through.

    • http://thekencook.com/ Ken Cook

      I agree the type of action will have an affect thus the different types of Missions for the experiment. The good news is I archived the Mission at just past half-way so I cut my losses. In some ways I wish, though, I had let that one play all the way out.

      • EmmaGeraln

        Different people have different priorities. 

        Personally I’m protective of my twitter account. I never tweet stuff from places like like EA or Klout for example.  As a result although I’m happy to give Ks, if a mission says I have to send the tweet I don’t take it.
        I  skip almost all missions that mention twitter as I’ll not tweet anything for eavs that I wouldn’t tweet anyway, and I only follow people that I actually want to follow because we interact.

        Facebook I’m more willing to share stuff but I still stick to things i’m vaguely interested in… (and I’m afraid I’m not above poking fun or strongly disagreeing with stuff!).

        I try to be fair and honest, of someone asks for comments on personal blog or opinion piece they will get my honest unfettered view. If someone is trying to promote a business I’m more conservative.  

  • EmmaGeraln

    Hi!

    I’ve not done missions of my own yet. I have no business to promote, I play EA for the fun and the social so I don’t at this time feel the need.

    I’ve done lots of missions, from my point of view they have a number of benefits:

    New connections – I’ve met some great new people doing missions, i’ve also discovered some new blogs I now regularly visit.

    EA actions – Completing the missions results in my EA activity going up.

    Social Media activity – Completing facebook missions for example boosts my activity and interactions on that network. This boosts my divs and network score in EA.

    Free money – Of course I get eavs for completing missions, eavs are the life blood of EA.

    • http://thekencook.com/ Ken Cook

      Emma I believe you are the more important factor in the equation. Without you and thousands of people like you the balance would be off. The fact that you do engage is what works about it.

  • http://twitter.com/organichat craig daniels

     a really hard question and one I think many (including me) will be wrestling with for some time. I can’t imagine running a mission to get Blog RSS followers but to quickly pick up some quality Twitter users or Likes for your FB page then its Aces.. Seems to work wonderfully for RT and not quite as good for plain Tweets… Comments on FB are fair to good (quality) and if you manage who can do your missions you can cut down the the stealing of Eaves…

    For me it seems that you need lots of Eaves and need to run lots of missions if you are going to charge a client for say RTs… I’m of the opinion at the moment that you are lucky if a few hundred people see you RT even if all the RTers have a total of a million followers, but if you buy RTs you risk getting only Eggs giving them

    so my jurry is still out… Hope you let us know what you find out.. The more famous you are the better results you’ll get… Now ain’t that a kick in the teeth.

    • http://thekencook.com/ Ken Cook

      Good stuff Craig especially about the number of eyes that will actually see the RT’s. Twitter is about to roll out some metrics devices to help tracking. Perhaps that will also be a game changer.

  • Sia Abderezai

    This is a great and emergent debate that has been developing since late December of last year when Missions moved out of Beta to a full app and the mission market place changed from a handful of players who knew players to a different dynamic of people that do it, it has been swinging around and there are some flaws. Does the mission feature work? Absolutely. Is it 100% efficient in firing up a niche? hahaha, nope… At least not yet.

    Ever since I started I have been experimenting with mission after mission, and a large variety of contents, trying to balance the idea of “game” with the end goal of “brand/content/fact/information awareness” sometimes the response to payout ratio is great and sometimes it falls flat on its face. If I had a wishlist of what EA should do to improve missions it is this:

    – find a way to catch “mission thieves” better. (a good hint would be to make it in a way that you HAVE to comment in the box and show yourself as a ‘receipt’ of the action)

    – Tier up the market and some self correction of value, wether its on time on the market, recommendation of the person, etc. But something the players should work

    – Find a way to minimize the “auto pilot clicking” (I have been guilty a few times of this myself) but I’d always rather have a lower number of actions but a higher rate of engagement, return and following of the content than an artificially raised number, though that HAS very important uses.

    -Balance out the ratio of content creators/ spreaders / and niches so a real market is there, a videophile can find better video vendors, someone who is doing wedding photography can find someone looking to get married, etc.  That way it isn’t just a place where a 60-80% are not “advertising managers, social media entrepreneurs, self help gurus” trying to sell “advertising management, social media entrepreneurship and self help tips”to one another, but rather create a proper market.  But this last one is dependent on the success and expansion of EA itself, and it will be a while until a sustainable model is achieved.

    Thanks for the healthy Eave for this conversation and a great article.

    (e)SIA

    • http://thekencook.com/ Ken Cook

      Thanks Sia. I truly appreciate your efforts and your comments. I especially like the final paragraph on balance. EAv would do well to pay attention to all of your points.

  • EmmaGeraln

    My main observation about missions is a lot of people seem to miss the point, (and forgive me, I’m not a marketeer). There is no point in trying to sell your product or service to me or the other EA folks, what missions are good for is helping to spread the  word, raise profile my boosting numbers of likes, comments etc.

    Missions seem to me to have huge potential if used properly but quite a few people seem to throw their eavs and time away.

    EA probably isn’t your target audience, so use us to help you reach that audience some how.

    • http://thekencook.com/ Ken Cook

      Agreed Emma. We, Missionaries, are the carriers of the message and not the target audience. I do confess, however, to using a few of us as guinea pigs in my experiments.

  • http://twitter.com/TMStreetAnalyst Main Street Analyst

    As you describe, missions are still a new feature on Empire Avenue and therefore they are still coming with a few flaws. The major flaw, however, comes from the players themselves, cheating. That’s the reason why you only got three subscribers. You ask people to do something for pay, and they take the pay, but don’t follow through. If you would go on Craigslist and offer someone to paint your kitchen for $200.00 and the person would take the money, but not paint your kitchen, what would you call this?

    Empire Avenue knows about this problem and is working on a solution, well, something that will help prevent cheating. Some people will always have an idea on how to get around. 

    My experience is this: Since I contact the cheaters and leave a hint that cheating is wrong in my mission, the number of these ridiculous people has become much smaller in my missions. I only run missions with ten slots and with that it is easy to control who does the right thing.  I started keeping a list of cheaters, including documentation, and if it becomes too bad, I will keep my options open on what I am going to do with it.

    What I personally find most disturbing is the fact that many of these cheaters are indirectly supported by leaders of the game. If the major players would take a stand on this, it would be different. It looks like confronting a problem is not for everyone.

    Besides of a few other features Empire Avenue has, missions can be the bread and butter for this company (EA). Missions can help businesses of all sizes to improve their social media activities and results and are therefore a valuable tool, for all of us. It is kind of sad that we let this happen.

    For now, my recommendation is to run missions with a low number of slots and check who is following through. Contact the cheaters and your numbers will improve. Run a test, if you want.

    • http://thekencook.com/ Ken Cook

      I ran a test and offered 5000 for an action and to only 10 people. All ten people complied. I know 5k may have seemed high but it was the number I chose for that part of the experiment. You are correct that it is difficult to track 100 actions to see if they were completed though I have some friends who have so many eaves they don’t even concern themselves with the cheaters/thieves.