Ads tied to games in social media sites have become more influential for those who play them than previously believed. In fact, 24% of people who play casual games report having clicked on an ad in a social game and made an online purchase, according to a study released Wednesday.
The study commissioned by RockYou and conducted by Interpret surveyed about 2,000 social gamers in the United States, 18+ Findings suggest that some social gamers buy more than expected, are receptive to advertising because they want real-world rewards, are competitive and achievement-oriented and the most social of all media users.
Julie Shumaker, senior vice president/GM at RockYou, said the study aims to debunk myths related to social gamers. "We wanted to affirm the attitudes, ages, engagement levels, and purchase intent of those who play games in social sites," she said.
Overall, social gamers buy more than expected. For example, 32% say shopping makes them happy, 7% would use real money to purchase a virtual item not for the game, 14% have used real money to purchase virtual currency, 13% use a branded virtual good, and 18% paid to play a game or get items in a game.
On average, gamers spend $42.70 on in-game items or virtual currency. A quarter of the survey participants report buying virtual currency at least once weekly, and 55% would rather earn virtual currency than purchase items with real money.
When it comes to ads in games, 45% are open to viewing in-game ads to earn virtual currency, 42% are more motivated to play a social game that offers real-world rewards, like a coupon or gift card, and 41% will review the game or spread the word through their social network page to earn virtual currency.
It turns out that social gamers are the most social of all social media users. Of those who participated in the study, 44% use social games as a form of communication. They spend an average of 9.5 hours on social games weekly and have 16.5 real-life friends who play the same social game as they do.
The research identifies four archetypes. Each describes an audience segment based on player behavior and attitudes. They include Premium Paul, a type-A personality that is highly engaged and active on social networks. Competitive Charlie is motivated by competition and social orientation to life. Newbie Nancy is opposed to paid content and a bit new to social networks. Devoted Danielle is a power user who prefers to play for free.