50% of Americans Online Ages 18-44 Play Social Games Daily

According a recent study by Saatchi & Saatchi, 50% of people online between the ages of 18 and 44 play social games daily.  The study provides some general statistics about social gaming use and demographics, but also reveals the attitude of social gamers toward in-game brand advertising, social challenges, and gaming incentives.  Brand marketers should pay close attention: eMarketer believes US social gaming revenues will pass $1 billion this year.

Some general highlights:

  • two-thirds of tablet owners report playing social games each day
  • more than half (53%) of smartphone owners do the same
  • of the 50% (ages 18-44) who play social games daily, 54% are men and 46% are women
  • men play more for competition, women tend to play out of boredom

The study asked respondents about playing social games in the workplace:

  • Nearly half (47%) confess to playing social games during a typical day at work – again more males (53%) than females (39%)
  • 14% play social games like FarmVille and Bejeweled Blitz at work for an hour or more
  • 55% of Americans said they were interested in working for a company that uses gamification to increase productivity

Respondents were also asked about brands and their presence on social games and in social challenges:

  • nearly two in five (37%) chose an online game as a preferred route to new product knowledge (second only to email, preferred by 44%)
  • 58% say it is important for brands to be fun and playful
  • 57% of those interested in completing social challenges found product discounts a “very compelling” incentive to complete them; another 37% found them “somewhat compelling”
  • 88% of respondents considered gaining loyalty program points to be at least “somewhat compelling”

The study found that 71% of smartphone/tablet owners turned to that device when bored, leaving plenty of opportunity for social gaming (and the messages brands may incorporate into those games.)  According to 57% of respondents, social games “help to pass the time when I’m bored.”

The results were based on a May 2011 study of 2,004 U.S. adults ages 18-44, evenly distributed across gender, conducted by Ipsos OTX MediaCT for Saatchi & Saatchi.