Tag Archives: social gaming

Social Networking Stats: 24% More Gamers Will Pay To Play on Facebook, #RLTM Scoreboard

The #RLTM Scoreboard:  Social Networking Stats for the Week

Facebook: 1 billion active users via Facebook
Twitter: over 500 million users via Twopcharts
Qzone: 599 million monthly active users via TechCrunch
Sina Weibo: over 400 million users via Yahoo
Renren: over 170 million users via iResearch iUser Tracker
VK: over 190 million users via VK
LinkedIn: 200 million active users via LinkedIn
Google Plus: 135 million monthly active users via Google
Tumblr: 100 million blogs via Tumblr
Instagram: 100 million users via Instagram
Tagged: 20 million unique monthly users via Tagged
Foursquare: nearly 30 million users via Adweek
Pinterest: over 25 million users via AdWeek
Reddit: 55 million monthly unique visitors via Reddit

Please email marissa@modernmediapartners.com if you have additional updates, or a social network that you feel should be on the list.

Social Gaming: 24% More Facebook Users Will Pay to Play

Candy Crush Saga Facebook GameAn emailed statement from Facebook earlier this week said the number of people paying to play games on the platform is up 24% from a year ago.

Facebook initially depended largely on gaming developer Zynga to provide games and bring in people who wanted to play. However, some social gamers became “alienated” or unhappy due to the “the barrage of marketing from [Zynga’s] programs.”

Changing tactics, Facebook has now distanced itself from Zynga and is encouraging more game developers to join the site.  According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Facebook paid a total of $2 billion to developers in 2012; last year more than 100 developers generated more than $1 million each in revenue on Facebook.

And it appears to be working: desktop-game users on the site rose from 235 million in October to now over 250 million.  As the number of gaming options continues to grow – and as Facebook maintains stricter controls on how much developers can market to users – how quickly will social gaming continue to expand on the platform?

Social and Mobile Gaming Ads See Engagement Near 20%

MediaBrix study - Social, Mobile Gaming Adsnew study by MediaBrix reveals that advertisers receive engagement rates of around 20% (on average) from social and mobile gaming ads – much higher than engagement rates for Facebook brand pages or pre-roll online video ads. According to MediaBrix, the study is the first to reveal that “social and mobile gaming advertising dramatically outperforms standard online display and video advertising.”

A few highlights from the MediaBrix Social and Mobile Gaming Report:

  • social and mobile gaming video ads have an average CTR of 3%, 30x higher than the CTR of standard banner advertising campaigns
  • social and mobile gaming value exchange ads (users receive a reward for viewing the full ad) see an average CTR of 11%, over 100x higher than the CTR of standard banner advertising campaigns
  • social and mobile gaming video ads have a 91% completion rate; the average video ad completion rate for ad networks is 68%

 Average Ad CTR's - MediaBrix Study

“It comes as no surprise that social and mobile gaming advertising sees results 30 to 100 times better than standard online advertising campaigns,” says Ari Brandt, CEO and co-founder, MediaBrix. “In-game ads offer marketers 100 percent share of voice through 100 percent viewable ads.”

According to ClickZ, MediaBrix’s study is the first to fully examine the world of social and mobile gaming ads. Data was collected from over 100 social gaming campaigns and over 100 billion impressions over a six month time period, from July to December 2012.

Mobile Gaming To Grow Faster Than Social, Online Gaming

US Mobile, Social, Online Gaming Audience via eMarketerMobile gaming is growing more rapidly in the US than either social or online casual gaming, according to an eMarketer report.  With its rapidly expanding audience, mobile gaming will also lead in advertising growth.

The top sources of revenue for mobile gaming are:

  • paid downloads
  • in-game purchases of virtual goods (this will become the top-generating revenue in 2013 and beyond)
  • in-game advertising

The eMarketer data is supported by a recent study from Flurry, which reveals that mobile gaming is responsible for 43% of time spent on mobile apps worldwide.  And according to another report from Flurry, mobile games are responsible for 80% of the $10 billion of revenue from apps.

Social gaming revenues will still grow -although at a more modest rate – from a combination of virtual goods monetization (which is the largest contributor to revenue) and advertising.

Overall, eMarketer notes that “the video game industry is continuing to evolve toward free, platform-agnostic games supported by a combination of advertising and virtual goods revenue.”  Flurry’s report supports this, concluding that free-to-play (or ‘freemium’) games – where consumers start the game for free but then spend for virtual goods or currency – is “the most prolific business model in the new era of digital distribution.”

What are the options for advertisers looking to use gaming platforms? The report lists a multitude of ways brands can participate, including: branded virtual goods, opt-in videos, activity-based ads, product placements, sponsorships, custom games, advergames, interstitials and traditional in-game ads.

Is your brand moving into gaming – especially on mobile?

Century 21 Targets First-time Home Buyers With Social Gaming

Century 21 in SimCity Social Game (image: Century 21 blog)Last week, CENTURY 21 became the third major brand (and the first real estate company) integrated into EA’s SimCity Social.  Following in the footsteps of Dunkin’ Donuts and Mercedes-Benz, the real-estate brand is embracing social gaming in a big way — with the largest game provider (EA), on the most popular social network (Facebook).

Most SimCity Social players fit into CENTURY 21’s target age group of 25-34 year-olds — the largest demographic of homebuyers, according to the CENTURY 21 blog.  In an interview with Forbes, CENTURY 21 CMO Bev Thorne said that social gamers are 27% more likely “to have either bought their first home in the last year or are planning to buy their first home in the next year.”

Why did CENTURY 21 choose SimCity Social in particular?  Today’s homebuyers are “more social than ever,” searching for homes online and sharing those listings with their social networks before reaching out to real estate companies.  CENTURY 21 saw a clear alignment between their brand and the nature of the game: to create and maintain a real estate empire for virtual profit.

In addition, research shows that “95% of people playing games do not multitask,” making them a highly captive audience.  Gamers also recall ads from Facebook games: 90% were able to remember the message of advertisements in a Facebook game one week later.

How do SimCity Social players interact with CENTURY 21?  The brand provides “unique, in-game value” to players by:

  • providing the opportunity to build a CENTURY 21 Office building and earn virtual currency (Simoleons)
  • helping players grow their cities by buying new homes, businesses and land
  • providing the option to perform “friend or foe” actions on neighbors’ CENTURY 21 Office Buildings to earn additional merits in the game
  • allowing players to earn an energy boost by watching a CENTURY 21 commercial within the game

This is not CENTURY 21’s first foray into social gaming: last year the brand launched a campaign with ngmoco’s mobile game We City, and learned that “social gaming provides enormous opportunities for providing homebuyers and sellers with virtual value that translates into increased brand awareness.”

CENTURY 21 is taking advantage of social gaming to deliver “the virtual dream of homeownership” to its target demographic – and believes that “the up-and-coming generation of homebuyers will appreciate our efforts to connect with them in new and innovative ways.”

One-Third of US Gamers Play Social, Mobile Games

One-third of US Gamers Play Mobile, Social GamesWhile US video game sales revenues grew slightly between 2009 and 2011, the revenues for computer and console games shrank over the same time period.  Why?  The increasingly popularity of games delivered via mobile apps, social networks and other downloads, according to recent data from the Entertainment Software Association.

In 2011, consumers spent nearly $25 billion on the games industry in the US.  While the majority of this money was spent on traditional video games, that money is slowly moving toward less traditional platforms, especially mobile and social.  More than 30% of gamers play games on their smartphone, up from 20% last year.  One quarter of gamers play on a wireless device, up from just 13% in 2011.

Other highlights from the report:

  • one-third (33%) of gamers play social games
  • out of US households that have some form of gaming device, 38% play games via smartphone, 26% play games on a wireless device
  • 62% of gamers play games with others, either in-person or online
  • the average game player age is 30

But as gamers move to toward mobile and social options, are they willing to pay for the gaming experience?  According to the ESA study, only 15% of “frequent” gamers have paid to play online games. As more traditional console games become a thing of the past, will the gaming industry be able to monetize social and mobile offerings more effectively?

Mobile Gaming To Rise 26%, Social Gaming Up 10% in 2012

Mobile Gaming To Grow 26%, Social Gaming 10% in 2012In the last few years, gaming has moved rapidly in the direction of shorter, simpler games played via social networks and mobile devices.  Mobile gaming has more users and is growing more rapidly than any other gaming platform in the US, according to new data from eMarketer.  And social gaming is growing more rapidly than social networking use.

Mobile gamers (mobile phone users who play games on mobile phones at least once per month) will reach 141 million in 2014, driven largely by the rapid increase in smartphone ownership.  In 2010, smartphone gamers represented just under half (45.8%) of all mobile gamers; by the end of 2012, they will represent three-quarters of all mobile gamers.

Nearly half (49%) of mobile owners will use mobile games by 2013. By 2016, eMarketer estimates that over half (53%) of the general population will be mobile gamers.

The growth of social gaming is slowing, down to 10% growth in 2012 (a significant drop from growth rates of 27% in 2010 and 31% in 2011), but is still stronger than the rate of increase for social network users.  In 2013 and 2014, the rate of growth will even out between social gamers (social network users who play games on a social network at least once per month) and social network users.  Fully half of social network users will play social games by 2014, according to eMarketer estimates.

Smartphone Gaming Increases 55% in EU5

Mobile and Social Gaming in the EU5According to comScore’s newly released overview of mobile gaming across the five leading European markets – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK – the number of smartphone users in these countries playing games (at least once per month) increased 55% since last year.

This means that over 46 million EU5 smartphone users are gaming, or 42% of the potential audience.

The UK leads the pack, with more than half – 52% – of the smartphone audience gaming (14.2 million). British smartphone users also ranked first in terms of gaming penetration across daily and weekly gaming usage.

42% of EU5 Smartphone Users are Gamers

Social gaming is also up in EU5 markets, with a 42% increase in the last six months leading to 6 million EU5 smartphone gamers using social games via mobile (13% of smartphone gamers overall), as of February 2012. The Italian smartphone gaming audience ranked first in terms of penetration at 15.5%, while Spanish smartphone users were most likely to play games with other people (11%).

“The rise in mobile gaming is being propelled by the rapid adoption of smartphones and the vast ecosystems of game apps they provide,” says Hesham Al-Jehani, comScore Europe product manager for Mobile in the press release.  Are advertisers moving just as quickly into the mobile gaming space?

Older Gamers Buy 2X More Virtual Goods

MocoSpace: Virtual Goods Spending By Age via TechCrunchA new study by mobile gaming community MocoSpace looks at virtual goods consumption and engagement by age, through a survey of nearly 500,000 gamers on MocoSpace’s network of 22 million users. While the report confirmed that younger gamers (ages 25-35) spend more time playing social games, it also revealed that older gamers (ages 45 and up) spend significantly more on virtual goods than younger gamers.

The younger demographic ( ages 25-35) spends nearly twice as much time gaming as any other group, while those 45 and older spend – by far – the least amount of time gaming.

 MocoSpace: Older Gamers Spend More via TechCrunch

However, “age directly correlates with amount of money spent on virtual goods within social games,” based on the MocoSpace data.  So while the the younger demographic plays significantly more, the older demographic buys more virtual goods – the older the gamer, the more they spend while gaming, according to TechCrunch.

  • Gamers over age 35 (18% of gamers) were responsible for 42% of virtual goods spending
  • Gamers ages 18-25 (43% of gamers) were responsible for only 18% of virtual goods spending

Why are older gamers more likely to spend?  Perhaps because they have more disposable income, or because they’re more interested in moving ahead quickly within the game.

Regardless of the reasons behind this trend, the results are important for marketers and developers.  While virtual goods may provide a significant revenue source among older gamers, TechCrunch suggests that “an advertising-driven model may be more profitable” among younger gamers, who are less likely to spend on virtual goods.

Will Social Gaming For Social Good Make A Difference?

WeTopia is a new online social game designed to raise money for children’s charities in the real world.  A first effort from Sojo Studios, it is a free-to-play Facebook game (meant to be part of a series) where players “create villages and help their neighbors.”  Designed to be fun for users while at the same time helping solve real-world issues, it’s the latest effort to turn social gaming into social good (social game maker Zynga has already donated millions to causes.)

 WeTopia Online Social Game For Social Good

How does playing the game translate into doing social good in the real world?

  • any purchase of virtual goods in the game results in a direct donation to a real world cause (ex buying a fountain in the game leads to a donation for clean water in the real world)
  • players can also earn ”joy” points by viewing sponsor ads (no purchase necessary)
  • sponsors then make donations to nonprofits that provide basic needs, healthcare, and education in the real world
  • players can track their contributions inside the game through pictures, videos, blogs and in-game posts

While some social games allow players to buy virtual goods with Facebook credits, only “a fraction of the cost” actually goes to aid programs, according to Games For Change,  a special interest group of Game Developers Conference.  With WeTopia, as players accumulate “joy” by playing the game, they can spend it on individual, real world campaigns.  Sojo has pledged that 50% of net profits will be donated to its charity beneficiaries.

Actual projects coming from these donations have already begun in the U.S. and Haiti; they will soon launch in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America, as reported by VentureBeat.  The donations go through well-known charities including Save the Children, buildOn, and the Children’s Health Fund.  Brand partners include Clorox, Mattel and Dippin’ Dots.

The inspiration for WeTopia came from founder Lincoln Brown’s presence in Haiti after the earthquake, and a desire to improve how people can contribute to social causes in a transparent way.

Food Force benefits World Food Programme image via Games For ChangeAnother game for social good – called Food Force – was also launched the same week as WeTopia. A reboot of a successful game (with the same name) funded back in 2005 by the World Food Programme, the new version “takes full advantage of the social web” – players have to interact with each other in order to progress. Players can buy crops, send friends on missions and buy virtual goods, which boost performance in-game and directly fund WFP projects in the real world, according to Games For Change.  As with WeTopia, players can see what their purchases are doing for children, in this game with a “real-life impact tracker.”

Developed and funded by Konami Digital Entertainment, it is their first free social game offering.

Will social games designed to benefit people in the world catch on, and make a real difference?  The social gaming market is huge and growing rapidly – can game developers get users excited about creating real social change through their play?



Mobile Gaming Sees 4X Increase Among U.S. Kids

Gaming growth for children under 17 is speeding up, and mobile games in particular are on the rise in this age group, according to new research from The NPD Group.  While gaming has always been for kids, the number of kids playing mobile games has more than quadrupled in the last two years as more children are using smartphones and other mobile devices (theirs or their parents).

The US population of kids ages 2 to 17 has increased 1.5% since 2009, and the number of gamers in this age group has increased to 91% in 2011, up from 82% in 2009.  The fastest growth has been among children ages 2-5, which has seen an increase of 17 points since 2009.  Females and teens ages 15-17 are also driving gaming growth.

Mobile Gaming Among Kids On The Rise - eMarketerThe number of US kids and teens playing mobile games has increased 30% in the last two years, climbing from 8% in 2009 to 38% in 2011.  In comparison, gaming on “traditional portable gaming devices” only rose from 38% to 45% in the same time period.

Estimates from eMarketer say that 15% of kids under 11 own a mobile phone, and 22% of this same group will do so in 2015.  In addition, many Generation Y parents are allowing children to use their smartphones at a young age.