video-gamesSocial games are casual, easy-to-use online programs that integrate your social network into an interactive game design. They are usually free to play, but have advertisements attached and offer certain upgrades and bonuses for money. Every year since 2011, the social gaming industry has steadily increased in revenue by more than $1 billion. According to Infographicjournal.com, the worldwide social gaming market worth grew from $4.94 billion in 2011 to $8.64 billion in 2014.

With such a wide-ranging audience, social gaming is a major resource for advertisers and marketers. How can businesses utilize this rapidly growing industry?

The Benefits of Social Games

Even though the profits from social gaming is just a portion of the $80 billion generated by global gaming, the reach and ease of entry is much greater. The traditional gaming platforms are more prohibitive and more costly. Players have to purchase the console, buy or upgrade games and they have a limited social aspect. On the other hand, the cost of social games substantially less, and are available through equipment already owned such as an iPhone or Android device. Also, the games can be purchased and played through platforms like Facebook. More than 250 million people play social games on Facebook every day, says Insidesocialgames.com.

The Breakdown

On top of the almost equal split of women and men that play social network games, the age breakdown is close to even, with the average age of a social gamer being 39 years old, according to Socialnomics.net. In fact, 14 percent of all social gamers play at work for at least one hour per day. One of the top types of games they play are hidden object games, with 10 million monthly active users. The numbers continue to be impressive, with 81 million people playing social games at least once a day and 49 million people playing multiple times per day. Those players spend an average of 9.5 hours per week. In addition, one half of all Internet users, 510 million people worldwide, play social games, which is up 71 percent since 2010. This is a growing trend that won't slow down any time soon. The most popular games get new users every day, and a savvy marketing team with an in-game advertisement could see a massive increase in traffic.

Monetizing Play

IBM explains that there are several ways to make money with social network gaming. One model is to charge for the game up-front. Many offer two levels of games, one being a paid premium version and a free, stripped-down one. Another way to charge for games is to offer the game for free, but to charge for items to use in the game, such as weapons or jewels. Games on the Facebook platform can use PayPal or Facebook Credits to make the purchases seamless. A third way to make money with social network gaming is to have in game ads. This is a great format, since it does not charge the user at all. If designed right, the ads can be unobtrusive and really turn a profit for the developers. Another great way to monetize the games is called gamification. It is when a company uses a social network game as a tie in to there services or products it offers. A healthcare company can use the game to promote healthy lifestyle and even tie in its online player rankings with its own websites and platforms.

Everything, from user numbers to profits to gamification, is expected to continue to grow, with gamification expected to exceed $2 billion in revenue alone by 2016. Social games are more fun when you play with your friends, they are centered around your online social network. The more fun a game is, the more people will play and invite your friends.

Originally published Mar 31, 2014 3:58:50 AM, updated July 28 2017

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Social Media Advertising