Deep Dish Blog


What pinball can teach us about web strategy

I used to play the silver ball. From Soho down to Brighton I must have played them all.  Well, actually I've only played pinball a handful of times but this post gave me a chance to riff lyrics from The Who, so I couldn't resist being dramatic.  I do love a pinball machine, however.  They're tactile and responsive; You feel part of the machine.  The ball is unpredictable but if you hit the right places it increases momentum and triggers additional events, more balls, more bang and more feedback.  This got me thinking that pinball is a bit analogous to website strategy and social media integration.

Pinball games are like website ecosystems

Think of the silver ball as a website visitor who is traveling around the interweb.  They may have a destination or objective in mind but how do they get there and how many touch points will earn points?  What touch points will keep them coming back and how can they all be tied together to really light things up? An effective web strategy that integrates social media is much like a well designed and well played pinball game.

Think of the bumpers and discs in a pinball game as your social media spaces (facebook, twitter, flickr) and your website as the paddles (This is the ultimate destination of the silver ball).  The point of a well played pinball game is to get as many bounces and touch points of the silver ball with the various bumpers and discs, which in turn bounce the ball back to the paddles.  The more interaction between these components and points earned will often trigger another ball to join.

Now things get really interesting.  With increased ball activity there is increased opportunity for earning even more points and possibly landing in that secret spot or hitting a ramp that lights up the board with mega points.  Think of the secret spot as search engine rankings.   They basically rank websites based on their popularity and relevance, so the more visitors you have bouncing around your web properties and attracting other visitors, the better chance you have of making an impression with search engines.  The trick, of course, is not letting the ball slip by your paddles. You want to keep the ball in play as much as possible and hitting the bumpers that earn the most points.


By viewing your website strategy as a pinball game, it is easy to visualize how setting up social media spaces like facebook, twitter, YouTube and flickr that all play off one another can drive visitors back to your website which in turn drives visitors back to your social media spaces.  The more touch points, the more points, and the better chances you will start rising in the search rankings.  It is important to make sure you create a web strategy with enough social media components to encourage interaction otherwise it will quickly get boring and difficult to earn points.  Keep the ball in play and you too may become a pinball wizard!

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Harley Rivet - Blog Author - Deep Dish Digital


I know what you’re thinking – “What can a guy from Saskatoon know about online marketing? Also, that picture is a bit self-indulgent, buddy.”

But, just give me a chance. I’ve been working in the online space for twenty years, and promise the articles you find here aim to be informative and entertaining.