Entertainment Research Social Media

Who is Today’s Social Gamer? Maybe Not Who You Think…

Posted by Julie Shumaker on November 2nd, 2011 at 5:52 am

Our team at RockYou® recently released the results of the study we commissioned on social gaming behavior, conducted by leading market research firm Interpret.  Our goal was to provide actionable insights for advertisers, marketers, and developers in the social game space. By exploring the attitudes, behaviors, motivations, psychographics, and purchase intent among social gamers in the US, we are able to glean valuable information about the audience in this rapidly evolving space. We found many of the results surprising, and we think you will too.

First, we found that social gamers are highly receptive to in-game ads, especially when offered real-world rewards or virtual currency in exchange. 42% of social gamers say they would be more motivated to play a social game that offered real world rewards (eg: a coupon or gift card); 55% of players would rather earn virtual currency than purchase it with real money; and 24% of players report they have clicked on an ad in a social game and made an online purchase. Ads placed within games are indeed very effective, particularly when they are paired with incentives that players appreciate, like real world rewards.

Second, the study found that social gamers are avid consumers and are valuable customers in the real world. Many spend frequently on clothing, consumer packaged goods, entertainment, and more. In the past 3 months: 75% purchased clothing, apparel or jewelry; 77% purchased household products; and 72% purchased health or beauty products. Social gamers also enjoy entertainment --having watched an average of 3.6 movies in a theater and 11.4 films total in the past three months. On top of this, many gamers are already in spending mode while playing—they are pulling out their wallets to purchase over a billion dollars a year of in-game digital goods.

Another notable finding was that social gamers are the most social of all social media users. They spend 13 hours per week on social networks and they average 16.5 friends who play the same social game as them. Many play with friends but also meet new people and build new friendships through social gaming. Social gamers make up a valuable network for advertisers since they share information and communicate often with peers.

The survey also found that social gamers are motivated by in-game achievements. They increasingly prefer more in-depth gameplay and do not view social games as merely “time killers.” 22% of social gamers say that the fact that their online friends can see their score drives them to play more and perform better in-game. 56% love the sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing a task or meeting a goal. This also presents the opportunity for advertisers to sponsor free points or in-game items for players, which can give brands valuable exposure while enhancing players’ experience.

Lastly, the study segmented social gamers into four distinct archetypes in order to better understand the market. “Premium Paul” spends money on in-game currency to get ahead. Pauls typically stay up to date on new trends, are career-focused, social and have busy lifestyles but still find the time to play and spend on games. “Competitive Charlie” plays to win and broadcasts his achievements. Interpret found that Charlies are the biggest purchasers of consumer packaged goods and clothing—48% of them agree with the statement “shopping makes me happy.” “Newbie Nancy” social gamers are less tech-savvy than the other player types and prefer free content. Nancys may be budget conscious but they spend frequently on health and beauty products. The fourth archetype is “Devoted Danielle,” a power user. Danielles spend the majority of their online hours gaming and are especially willing to click on ads to earn virtual currency because they prefer free play.  Advertisers can utilize this audience segmentation information and create customized in-game advertisement experiences that cater towards specific player types.

The study surveyed a range of over 2,000 social gamers in the US aged 18 and older, 60% female and 40% male, who play at least one hour a week. If you’d like more details about study results, including the audience segments, please email socialgamerstudy@rockyou.com or call (650) 421-2037.

2 Responses to “Who is Today’s Social Gamer? Maybe Not Who You Think…”

  1. Hal Halpin says:

    Agreed. Very interesting. Thanks.

  2. Elise says:

    Thanks a lot for this study !

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