We talk a lot about the digital revolution that traditional media is being put through: upheaval, readership and audience shrinkage, bankruptcy, pay walls… This post is part of a major update to a host of previous ones published in 2009 and 2010 on this blog.

Farm Ville LogoWhat’s the situation really like in 2011? Traditional media are not dead – not yet at least. But many newcomers have made their entrance on the marketing landscape in the last 10-15 years. Let’s look at the situation with Social Games a bit:

Definition

  • All types of “Facebook games” such as Mafia Wars, FarmVille, Treasure Island, Happy Island, FrontierVille, FishVille, Happy Aquarium, Texas HoldEm, Cafe World, PetVille, Pet Society, Birthday Cards…

Reach

  • 320 million people have played a Zynga game at least 1x (Mashable 2010/11/15)
  • 56 million Americans play social games regularly – this accounts for 10% of time spent online, more important than email. (Nielsen 2010/09)
  • 25% of Americans online between 16 and 64 play monthly (Lightspeed Research 2010/02), that’s around 40 million regular players
    • 39% of them play daily (be it a social game or Internet connected console
    • 11% participate in MMPG (massively multiplayer games) such as World of Warcraft
    • 9% play in a virtual world like Second Life
  • 83 million FarmVille (Zynga) monthly users worldwide (Mashable 2010/06) That’s bigger than Twitter!
    • 47 million on Birthday Cards – RockYou
    • 31 million on Cafe World – Zynga
    • 27 million on Texas HoldEm – Zynga
    • 26 million on Happy Aquarium – CrowdStar
    • 25 million on Mafia Wars – Zynga
    • 24 million on FishVille – Zynga
    • 20 million on Zoo World – RockYou
    • 19 million on PetVille – Zynga
    • 19 million on Pet Society – Playfish
  • Top5 games in December 2010 by # players (Mashable 2010/12):
    • 61,671,732 CityVille
    • 56,848,083 FarmVille
    • 47,175,029 Phrases
    • 34,624,546 Texas HoldEm Poker
    • 30,802,984 FrontierVille
  • 5 million daily users on FrontierVille (Mashable 2010/06) – launched June 9th 2010 = 5 million subs in 13 days!
  • Zynga is the most successful development firm with 6 of the top10 games:
    • 235 million users across all their games
    • 65 million daily users
  • 20 million monthly users on Xbox Live
  • 1.5 million monthly users on World of Warcraft
  • 53% of Facebook’s 600 million users play social games (WeAreSocial 2010/11)
    • 19% say they’re hooked
    • 69% are female
    • 20% have spent real $$ to obtain game goods
    • 56 million play daily in the UK
    • 290 million play monthly WorldWide (equivalent to the US population)
    • 50% of visits to Facebook are specifically to play social games
    • 210 minutes of game time monthly
  • 10% (60 million) of all Facebook users (600 millions) play FarmVille (Mashable 2011/02/15)
    • 30 million daily, vs 24 million that wath Dancing With the Stars in the same period…
  • 100 million monthly users on CityVille (Mashable 2011/01/13)
  • The top 3 social game makers (used on Facebook) are Playfish (49 million active month players), Crowdstar (49M) and Zynga (230M) (Social Media Today)

Usage

  • 7% of users spend real money for virtual goods or points in game and continue doing so after 4 months of play (Mashable 2010/06)
    • North Americans spend an average $258 in 4 months
    • Europeans spend $272
    • Asians spend $202
    • Latin Americans spend the most : $300
  • There are more virtual tractors sold daily in FarmVille than are sold in the US per year. (Mashable 2010/06)
  • Top crops on Farmville vs actual farms worldwide (Mashable 2010/09):
    • Farmville : Strawberries, Wheat, Grapes, Rice, Pumpkins, Cranberries, Soyo, Peas and Sunflowers
    • Farms : Sugar Cane, Corn, Wheat, Rice, Potatoes, Beats, Soya, Palm Oil, Barley, Tomatoes

User Profile

  • 25% of Americans users are between 16-24 years old
  • The average Farmville user is a woman aged 43 and earning $50,000 or more, vs men 57years old that are the average farmer earning an average $35,500$ (Mashable 2010/09)
    • 60% women, vs 13% actual farmer women
    • 60 million Farmville users is approximately 1% of the world’s population, 2% of the world population that actually works in or near agriculture, 3% of Internet users worldwide, 3000% the number of actual farmers in the US,
    • 70 million hours spend on Farmville monthly
    • 18 million play daily
    • 33% between 18-34 years old (Mashable 2010/11/27)
    • 142 index for household income between $60-100k
    • 84% are white, 7% are Hispanics
  • Mafia Wars users are (Mashable 2010/11/27)
    • 51% women
    • 28% between 18-34 years old
    • 157 index between 13-17 years old
    • 168 index for household income below $30k
    • 71% are white, 17% are African Americans
  • 30-39 year olds is the most active group (25%) in social games in the UK (eMarketer 2010/02/26) followed by 22-29 year olds (22%) and 40-49 year olds (22%).
  • The average American player’s age is 48. 50-59 year olds are the most active in the US (eMarketer 2010/02/26) followed by 30-39 year olds, 40-49 year olds and 60+ with 20%. Over 50% are women.

Marketing Applications

  • $1M sold daily in virtual farm equipment (DBA Worldwide)
  • 40% of time spent on Facebook is specifically on social games (Playdom 2010/07/30)
  • $2,183 million = social gaming industry revenues projected in the US for 2012 (ThinkEquity 2009/10), vs $726 million in 2009, 200% growth in 3 years
    • $1,191 million (55%) by users through direct payments (buying virtual goods or points)
    • $868 million (40%) by users through indirect payments (opt to fill out a survey or offer themselves as a sales lead for partners such as Netflix, Blockbuster…)
    • $124 million (5%) in advertising revenues
  • 60% growth in ad spend on social games since 2009 (Mashable 2010/12/06)
    • 550% growth in spontaneous awareness for advertisers on social games on average!
  • $192 million projected ad spend in social games for 2011 in the US (+33% vs 2010), $293M worldwide ($101M outside the US) (eMarketer 2010/06)
  • $4billion = estimated value of FarmVille (Mashable 2010/06)
  • 41% of users make repeat buys (Mashable 2010/06)
  • 90% of Zynga’s revenues come from the sale of virtual goods or points (Mashable 2010/06) – 45% directly from FarmVille
    • Zynga is PayPal’s 2nd most important merchant, eBay is 1st
  • Facebook credits are exchangeable against virtual goods and points in over 100 games and applications such as Farmville and Mafia Wars. In 2011 they’ll also be applicable against actual goods & services available through Facebook (Social Media Examiner 2010/12)