27M users bought virtual goods using Facebook Payments in 2012; Zynga’s influence on revenue further diminishes

gamesApproximately 27 million users bought virtual goods using Facebook Payments in 2012, up from 15 million in 2011, according to a document the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission today.

Facebook generated $810 million in payments revenue in 2012. CFO David Ebersman said only $5 million of that came from sources outside of games, such as Gifts and user promoted posts. Overall, payments and other fees revenue in 2012 increased $253 million, or 45 percent, compared to 2011, despite close to doubling the number of users buying virtual goods.

That could be because of Facebook’s promotions to get more users spending money in games. Although the volume of paying users increased, it the amount new payers spend could be much less than other players. Another factor could be growth in international markets. Facebook says 51 percent of its revenue from marketers and developers based in the United States, compared to 56 percent in 2011. This figure includes advertising revenue as well, but international developers are increasingly finding success on the social network and the overall number of international users is growing much faster than in the U.S.
(more…)

Facebook estimates 4 percent of Q1 revenue came from ads on Zynga app pages, 11 percent from Zynga directly

Facebook estimates that about 4 percent of its first quarter revenue can be attributed to ads displayed on Zynga app pages, according to an updated regulatory filing. An additional 11 percent of Q1 revenue came from direct payments from Zynga.

Although Zynga accounted for 15 percent of Facebook’s $1.058 billion in revenue from Jan. 1 to March 31, that’s a lower percentage than the 19 percent it was responsible for in 2011. Investors are likely to see this as a positive development. Such reliance on a single company can be risky, particularly as Zynga expands its games to additional platforms beyond Facebook, including Google+, mobile and its own Zynga.com.

When the social network first filed for an initial public offering in February, it revealed that the social game company accounted for 12 percent of its 2011 revenue as a result of virtual goods payments and advertising, but it did not include revenue it generated indirectly from users visiting Zynga app pages that include third-party advertisements. Facebook says 7 percent of its total 2011 revenue was generated this way, compared to 4 percent in the first quarter of this year.

A greater proportion of Zynga-generated revenue now comes directly from the social games company rather than ads displayed on its app pages. This is likely related to Facebook making Credits mandatory for all social games in July 2011 and subsequently taking 30 percent of revenue from all sales of virtual goods. It is also possible that Zynga is spending more to acquire new users through advertising, although since the company does a lot to cross-promote its games to existing players, this might not be as much of a factor.

Either way, it’s likely Facebook will continue to reduce its dependence on Zynga as other developers build on its platform. More companies from a broader range of industries are developing applications on Facebook, leading to additional ad revenue for the social network. As these apps develop monetization strategies as social games did with virtual goods, Facebook can decide to take a similar cut of revenue in the future. For example, the company could take a proportion of subscription payments for Spotify, which currently requires users to have a Facebook account to sign up.

Last Week to Pre-Order Inside Virtual Goods: The Future of Social Gaming 2012

2011 will be remembered as the year that Zynga filed for its IPO, Google launched Google+, and Facebook executed the Credits transition. With the first potential social gaming IPO, Zynga plans to raise up to $2 billion to fund its continued global expansion. Meanwhile, Google is putting its weight behind what appears to have the potential to be the most serious competitor to Facebook as a social gaming platform in North America since the demise of MySpace. And at the same time, developers are still navigating through the Facebook Credits migration, while many are also expanding substantially onto mobile platforms to increase growth and expand reach.

Get the Annual Membership

Get Annual Membership (Includes Report + 3 Additional Quarterly Issues): $2,495 $1,995 USD*

OR Buy Single Report: $995 $795 USD*

* Pre-order discount ends September 19, 2011. All pre-ordered reports will be delivered on September 20, 2011.

Inside Network is proud to announce a new original research report by Justin Smith and Charles Hudson that is exclusively focused on the future of the social gaming market, entitled Inside Virtual Goods: The Future of Social Gaming 2012. This is Inside Network’s third annual edition of the Future of Social Gaming report. It will be released on September 20, but is available for discount pre-order now.

How big is the market, and where will social gaming go in 2012? How will existing players fare as Facebook Credits shifts the social gaming landscape and continued changes to the platform? Inside Virtual Goods: The Future of Social Gaming 2012 provides deeper insight into social game monetization, development, customer acquisition, and the key questions facing the space in 2012 than you’ll find anywhere else.

About the Report

Inside Virtual Goods: The Future of Social Gaming 2012 gives you an inside view of the future at this critical juncture in the intersection of social networking and online games.

We have compiled months of original research from dozens of top executives and entrepreneurs from all parts of the social gaming ecosystem to produce eye-opening source data and analysis that is not available anywhere else. Inside Virtual Goods: The Future of Social Gaming 2010 takes the closest look at the present state of social games and the future of this strong but still rapidly changing industry.

What We Cover

  1. Facebook Credits and the New Monetization Landscape: Early Results - Now that the transition to Facebook Credits was completed on July 1, what are the early results that developers are reporting? We take an in depth look at metrics and trends.
  2. Will 2012 (Finally) be the Year of Mobile Social Games? – Now that mobile games monetizing through the virtual goods model are becoming a bigger market in the US and around the world, many social game developers have expanded their efforts to tap these new platforms as well.  Will 2012 finally be the year that social games take significant root on mobile?
  3. Social Game Development and Design – How do small, medium, and large developers organize their teams? What do development cycle times for original titles and “expansion packs” look like? What is the role of testing and metrics in the development process? A few key game genres with proven mechanics and monetization have spawned dozens of fast followers. Understand how publishers are continuing to innovate as we head into 2012.
  4. Monetization Data and Payment Trends– Now that developers have proven the virtual goods model, what are ARPUs, ARPPUs, and LTVs really like for different game genres? What is the lifetime value of users, and how long do players stick around? We take an in depth look at monetization methods and rates, and shed light on where payments are headed in the coming quarters.
  5. Customer Acquisition and Marketing Trends – As the social gaming landscape has evolved over the past four years, so have the ways that developers acquire and retain new users. How have user acquisition costs changed, and what do Facebook’s changes spell for the future of the marketing funnel? We take an in depth look at data and trends.
  6. Facebook’s Platform Changes, and What’s In Store for the Future – Facebook has continued to change Platform communication channels and functionality over the last year, significantly altering the way social games reach users through Facebook. Continued change is likely – what will it be, and how will it impact the industry? Finally, will we see another platform (like Google+) emerge? Our overview covers these developments, their impact on the industry, and what else is in store.

What you get

In addition to our deep dive into key aspects of the social gaming ecosystem, the report also offers extended coverage on:

  • A brief history on the evolution and growth of this space in the US, including a description of all key players and how they rose to the top.
  • Total social gaming market size estimates for 2012.
  • Our take on the key issues facing the growth of social gaming, including our outlook and projections for 2012.

More Data, More Actionable Insights

In 2011, social games continued to show what kind of value can be created on top of social networks. 2012 will be an even more important year.

Social gaming, powered by virtual goods, continues to expand. If you’re involved, or are considering jumping in, Inside Virtual Goods will be one of your most important tools.

One year of original data and exclusive in-depth reports delivered on a quarterly basis is $2,495 and contains:

  • A detailed overview of the current state of the industry
  • Specific estimates on market size by segment
  • Diagnosis of key opportunities and issues by segment

About the Authors

charles-hudson-headshotCharles Hudson

Venture Partner, SoftTech VC, CEO and Co-Founder, Bionic Panda Games

Charles Hudson is a Venture Partner with SoftTech VC and the CEO and Co-Founder of Bionic Panda Games, a mobile games company based in San Francisco, CA.

Until February 2010, he was the VP of Business Development for Serious Business, a leading producer of social games. Zynga acquired Serious Business in February of 2010. Prior to Serious Business, Hudson worked at Gaia Interactive, Google, IronPort Systems, and In-Q-Tel. Hudson also founded Third Power LLC, a conference and events company that was acquired by WebMediaBrands. Charles holds an MBA and BA from Stanford University.

justin-smith-headshotJustin Smith

Founder, Inside Network

Justin Smith is the founder of Inside Network, the first service dedicated to providing news and market research to the Facebook platform and social gaming ecosystem. Justin leads Inside Network’s analyst services, manages Inside Network’s AppDataservice, and serves as co-editor of Inside Facebook and Inside Social Games. Inside Network was acquired by WebMediaBrands (NASDAQ:WEBM) in May 2011.

Prior to Inside Network, he was Head of Product at Watercooler, now Kabam, a leading social game developer on the Facebook Platform. Prior to Watercooler, Justin was an early employee at Xfire, the largest social utility for gamers, which was sold to Viacom in 2006.

Justin holds a degree in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford University, where he was a Mayfield Fellow and a recipient of the Terman Award in Engineering.

Get The Annual Membership

Get Annual Membership (Includes Report + 3 Additional Quarterly Issues): $2,495 $1,995 USD*

OR Buy Single Report: $995 $795 USD*

* Pre-order discount ends September 19, 2011. All pre-ordered reports will be delivered on September 20, 2011.

Although the report will not be released until next Tuesday, September 20, we are offering a special pre-order discount for those who purchase now. A one year subscription is $1,995 until September 19, at which point the price will go to US $2,495. The one year subscription includes three quarterly updates on key developments in the space.

Or, you can download just this report. The pre-order price is $795 until September 19, at which point the price will go to US $995.

Featured Facebook Campaigns: Car Town & Car and Driver, Einstein Bros Bagels, Best Buy & CityVille

Several of the campaigns featured in our post this week incorporated games into the ways they highlighted products. Car and Driver magazine began a long-term partnership with the Facebook game Car Town that makes the magazine’s content a central part of its print product and brings its print products directly into the game. Then Einstein Bros Bagels and Maybelline ran some interesting contests. Finally, Best Buy’s CityVille integration seemed successful enough that the company is going to bring it back in November.

You can see the full week’s coverage in the Facebook Marketing Bible, which also includes detailed breakdowns of over 100 other featured campaigns by top-performing brands and businesses on Facebook.

Car and Driver’s Car Town Integration

Goal: Network Exposure, Brand Loyalty, Product Purchase

Core Mechanic: Car and Driver, a car magazine, will be featured in Car Town, a game about cars on Facebook. The partnership started last week and will continue into 2012.

Game: Within the Car Town game, users will see new car releases, announcements and other information in the form of the magazine’s cover. Plus, users who create virtual car and garage designs within the game will be awarded Car and Driver magazine’s 10Best award.

Every month winners will have a chance to be featured in the magazine, as well as in the magazine’s website and social media channels. Then, Car Town news updates will be featured in the magazine with the latest tips from the game.

Method: This partnership seems to be very extensive, leveraging both the game’s and the magazine’s audiences and their interests to intertwine in seemingly sensible and effective ways. It takes something that happens in real life— new cars being featured on the cover of Car and Driver magazine — and translates it into a social game. Brands should consider where their products would appropriately fit into social games and seek to partner with the developers of those games as Car and Driver has done here.

Impact: The Car and Driver Page’s Likes have seen an uptick by a few thousand in the past week, according to PageData; currently the total is 92,500. It’s not clear if this comes directly from the game integration, though, especially since most of the Page’s activity is related to cars and not the game.

Einstein Bros Bagels’ Darn Good Coffee Motto Contest

Goal: Page Growth, Engagement, Network Exposure, Brand Loyalty

Core Mechanic: The contest invites users to Like the Page, then enter their choice motto that could end up on the company’s coffee t-shirts.

Method: Users who enter the contest are eligible to win free coffee and bagels for a year, in addition to smaller prizes of $100 gift cards.

Impact: The Page currently stands at 678,600 Likes and PageData shows that, as the contest began on September 5, the Page experienced moderate growth during the past week. A longer contest entry period may have helped promote momentum for the contest.  By publishing to the stream a fun feed story about a user’s entry, the contest could have attracted more participants.


Inside Games’ AJ Glasser contributed to this report.

How are top brands in the industry designing their Facebook marketing campaigns? See the Facebook Marketing Bible for detailed breakdowns of hundreds of Featured Campaigns by top-performing brands and businesses on Facebook.

Facebook Prohibits Promotion of Apps on Competing Social Platforms, Unapproved Soft Offers

Facebook has updated its Platform Polices, prohibiting apps from linking to or promote apps on competing social platforms, and from rewarding users with virtual currency, goods, or downloads through a third-party for taking an action. These policy changes, reported by TechCrunch, will prevent developers from directing traffic from their Facebook apps to off-site destinations, or from incentivizing user actions unless done with Facebook Credits or without the aid of third-parties.

The policy changes were not announced on the Facebook Developer Blog or anywhere else. Facebook may only enforce the ban on linking to competitors in more aggressive cases. Still, fear of enforcement may limit how developers can promote versions of their apps on other platforms such as Google+’s recently launched games platform, hampering growth for both developers and platform owners.

Banning Cross-Platform Promotion

Facebook already prohibited advertising for competing social platforms on its website. Now it’s Platform Policies states “I.11 – Apps on Facebook may not integrate, link to, promote, distribute, or redirect to any app on any other competing social platform.”

This policy update could be seen as an extension of that ban, meant to cover developers who are effectively advertising within the real estate of their own games. Alternatively, it could seen as an limiting developers from driving engagement on other platforms from users whose engagement they won on Facebook. Many Facebook developers currently use banners and pop-ups on their canvas apps, as well as Facebook wall posts to promote their presence across the web.

Much will depend on how Facebook interprets “social platform”. If this is taken to mean other web services offering a very similar developer platform within a social network, such as Google+, it would be more sensible, though a sign that Facebook believes these platforms have the potential to serious complete with it. If the term is interpreted to include vastly different mediums such as mobile or console app and game platforms, it could prohibit developers from offering users a more 360 degree experience, where they could play different parts of the same game or access different functionalities of an app while on their mobile device.

UPDATE: Facebook has clarified that the policy update does not apply to cross-promotion of mobile apps or off-platform apps available through a developer’s homepage. Read more on our sister site, Inside Social Games.

If cross-platform promotion is important to a developer, they may either have to leave Facebook, or silo their Facebook app or game experience while their presence on more open social platforms seamlessly integrate across mediums and platforms.

Fewer Incentive Options

Beginning July 1st when Facebook made Credits the mandatory exclusive payment method for Facebook games, it restricted how developers could reward users. Essentially, developers could only reward users with:

  • Anything if through Facebook’s approved offer partners
  • A developer’s own virtual goods or currency if a third-party isn’t involved
  • Only a developer’s own virtual goods through a third-party if the offer didn’t require a user’s personally identifiable information
The policy change strikes this third option as such: “you may not reward users with virtual currency for engaging in passive actions offered by third parties, such as watching a video, playing a mini-game, or taking an anonymous poll.”
This means that to reward users with the help of a third-party, developers must go through Facebook’s approved offer partners, namely TrialPay and other approved partners that feed it offers. Otherwise they must only be giving away their own virtual goods, and the actions a user takes to earn the reward must only deal with the developer itself, such as watching a video trailer for another one of its Facebook games. These limitations will make it more difficult for developers to monetize, though Facebook likely sees the move as improving the quality of offers seen on its Platform.
Along with restricting developers, this will ban from Facebook all unapproved soft offer providers — those that help developers show video ads, fill out anonymized surveys, or interact with branded content. The only offer providers now allowed on the Facebook Platform are TrialPay, Sharethrough, EpicSocial, SocialVibe, Deal United, and SupersonicAds. All others will have to seek approval from Facebook or do business elsewhere.
These Platform Policy changes impact a wide variety of developers, social platforms and third-party providers, yet they weren’t properly announced. This means some developers are likely unaware that they are violating Facebook’s policies. With enforcement for violations meaning suspension or expulsion from the Facebook Platform that can cost developers lots of money, it was irresponsible not to make the changes more obvious.
It’s these kinds of secretive moves that could push developers to look more into the same social platforms it’s aiming to stifle, while it also makes efforts to improve discovery and virality for games and apps at the same time.

Zynga Doubled ARPU From Last Year Even as Facebook Platform Changes Slowed Growth

With Zynga’s IPO filing on Friday, we finally got some numbers to bear out what had been common, but unproven, industry knowledge: that Zynga had been able to overcome handing 30 percent of its revenue to Facebook and weakening virality on the platform by monetizing its existing user base better.

The company appears to have more than doubled average revenue per user across a number of metrics from the first quarter a year ago. So caveat to these figures first: they aren’t perfect estimates since Zynga broke out revenue on a quarterly basis, but showed uniques and actives on a monthly or daily basis. Nor do we have any ARPU figures for individual games, because Zynga did not break out revenue per title in its filing.

But it looks like Zynga boosted monthly ARPU (or average revenue per user) to $0.33 in the first quarter of this year from $0.14 in the same time period a year earlier. We get this figure by dividing reported revenues for that quarter by the number of monthly actives, then dividing again by three for individual months in the quarter.

> Continue reading on Inside Social Games.

Zynga’s IPO Means More Visible Feedback for Facebook’s Platform Product and Policy Teams

Since the Facebook Platform’s launch four years ago in May 2007, the company has made many changes to its Platform APIs and Platform policies that have had significant ramifications for all developers in the Facebook ecosystem. And when Zynga goes public, the temperature of broader market’s perception of ramifications of changes that happen after that point will become much more visible.

For example, here are a few of the bigger changes to date:

In general, when Facebook has made these changes, it has received feedback from developers through a variety of channels, including direct feedback to Facebook’s (relatively small) team of developer relationship managers, group meetings with larger developers concerned about specific changes, and public channels like the developer forums and comments here.

Less visibly, updates to Facebook’s broader Platform product and policy direction have clearly impacted the private financial markets as well. Funding has become harder to come by for many small developers over the last 18 months, though some larger and growing developers have still been raising money at healthy valuations.

However, when Zynga’s IPO occurs, the market will become the most visible real-time feedback channel yet for Facebook’s Platform product and policy teams. Although a couple of smaller developers, like SNAP Interactive, are listed (in STVI‘s case on the OTCBB), Zynga will be the first large independent developer of social games on Facebook (and thus a company whose fortune depends to a relatively high degree on Facebook’s product and policy directions) to be listed in public equity markets.

Thus, when that happens, the stakes will be higher for Facebook to detail how changes to its Platform features, monetization services, organic communication channels, and developer policies fit into its its vision for the long term success and growth of the Platform. If it doesn’t, the consequences will be increased volatility for not just developers and private investors, but now public investors as well.

As Demand for Facebook Credits Increases, Microincentive Provider Ifeelgoods Positions Itself With $6.5 Million First Round

Ifeelgoods, a company that lets businesses offer Facebook Credits as rewards for purchases and signups, today announced the closing of a $6.5 million Series A funding round led by Idinvest. As Facebook Credits become the sole payment option on the Facebook Platform this Friday, and more types of digital goods including video and music are sold for Credits, the demand for the virtual currency will increase, and more companies will seek to incentivize sales and actions through ifeelgoods.

For these reasons, ifeelgoods has good potential. The company will use the funding to launch new services and court more domestic and international clients.

We’ve been following ifeelgoods since the company’s launch in September 2010. This was back when it started helping clients offer users Facebook Credits in exchange for email signups, Facebook Likes, and sales, even though social game developers had just begun to accept the virtual currency.

For example ifeelgoods allowed the Dallas Mavericks give away five Credits for following the team on Twitter, and the company let ShoeBuy.com customers earn 50 Credits for buying a pair of shoes.

However, with users still able to buy virtual goods directly from developers instead of using Credits, and nothing else to buy with them, demand for Facebook’s virtual currency was low. Still, ifeelgoods saw gamers perceiving the value of these Credits incentives higher than equal amounts of cash, similar to customers are enticed by free shipping. The company had a bright future if a wider audience was interested in earning Credits.

Microincentives Gaining Wider Appeal

Fast-forward nine months and Facebook Credits are about to be the only way to pay in Facebook games, meaning all of Facebook’s gamers (which could be as many as 290 million people) now have a use for Credits. Even though only a small percent of gamers are actively willing to pay money in social games, more might be willing to change their shopping habits or sign up for a newsletter for free Credits.

Meanwhile, developers are starting to offer video rentals and pay-per-view concerts for Credits. Facebook may also allow users to pay Credits for MP3 downloads or music streaming service subscriptions as part of its upcoming Music Dashboard. These developments could make Facebook Credits mainstream, massively expanding the range of customers ifeelgoods clients could attract by offering Credits incentives.

One client set in particular is Facebook Pages. The act of Liking a Page is perfect for incentivizing with Credits, as the action is fast and familiar, it generates a lot of value for brands, and users are just clicks away from spending their reward. Facebook ads for Like-gated Page tab apps offering Credits could become an highly cost and time efficient method of growing Pages.

Update: To be clear, it’s against Facebook’s policy for Pages to directly incentivize Likes. However, they can create a Like-gated Page tab app wherein users take another action that can be incentivized with Credits. Likes are currently often incentivized in this way, but with entry into a sweepstakes as the reward instead of Credits.

The new funding will help ifeelgoods capitalize on the increased client interest foreshadowed by these factors. The round was led by European venture capital firm Idinvest and joined by TugBoat Ventures which contributed to ifeelgoods’ $1.5 million seed round.

The company currently services 20 brands including Gap, Gamefly, 1-800-Flowers.com, and Shopping.com from verticals such as clothing and direct sales. It has helped ShopAtHome.com gain 1.3 million new Facebook fans and Shoebuy.com double the click through rate on its Facebook ads by offering Credits instead of cash discounts.

The microincentive model is still relatively unproven, so ifeelgoods will use the funding to build out a sales team to educated and sign clients in the US and abroad. Engineers will be hired to assist with scaling and expand the types of actions that can be incentivized.

Ifeelgoods is tied to the success of Credits, so with Facebook’s virtual currency poised more much greater adoption, Idinvest and TugBoat may have gotten in at just the right time.

Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011, Is Here

If 2010 is remembered as the year that games on social networks became a billion dollar business, 2011 is quickly becoming the year that the industry is starting to mature. Facebook is mandating Credits effective July 1st, creating massive changes in the monetization ecosystem, last year’s hit games are fighting for their lives, and new developers and games are climbing the leaderboards. At the same time, larger players are consolidating smaller studios and teams, and large media companies and traditional game developers continue to plot their social gaming strategies.

Get the Annual Membership
Get Annual Membership (Includes Report + 3 Additional Quarterly Issues): $2,495
OR Buy Single Report: $995

That’s why we’re excited to announce today the release of a new original study in our Inside Virtual Goods series by co-authors Justin Smith and Charles Hudson that is exclusively focused on spending and usage patterns in the social gaming market, entitled Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011. The second annual installment of this report.

Most of the studies on player spending and usage patterns in social games over the last year have actually been conducted by industry vendors. Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011 is our exclusive independent look at the virtual goods spending and behavior patterns of social game players on Facebook — data you won’t find anywhere else.

About the Report

Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011 gives you an inside view of the market at this critical juncture in the intersection of social networking and online games.

We have surveyed nearly 2,000 players of social games on Facebook from around the world and across the demographic spectrum. Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011 is the most in-depth independent survey of player behavior and spending patterns in the social gaming market.

What We Cover

  1. Spending Habits and Payment Methods in Top Games – It’s easy to compare games based on audience numbers, but which games monetize better? What payment methods do players use most often in top games? How is the shift to Credits affecting player behavior? We investigate how spending patterns compare across top social games.
  2. Frequency of Play and Methods of Game Discovery - As Facebook has cut down on developer access to viral channels, designing an engaging and viral game is becoming both increasingly important and challenging. We investigate which games people play most frequently, and which methods of social game discovery are most effective for top games.
  3. Demographic Differences by Region, Age, and Gender – While the social gaming market is increasingly global, the audience is also becoming increasingly diverse by age and gender. How do different segments of the audience differ in terms of spending and usage patterns inside social games? We take an in depth look.
  4. Brand Recall for Social Games – How important are brands, and how well can users identify developers of top games? We investigate brand recall amongst social game players.

See the full table of contents below:

Table of Contents

I. Methodology and Respondents

1. Introduction
  • About Inside Virtual Goods
  • About the Authors
  • Survey Objectives
2. Research Methodology
  • Target Population
  • Respondent Acquisition Method
  • Survey Structure
  • Potential for Bias
3. Survey Respondents
  • Description of Total Respondent Population
  • Total Number of Respondents
  • Overall Breakdown

II. Overall Results

4. Favorite Game
  • Distribution of Favorite Game
  • Frequency of Play
  • Favorite Game Discovery
  • With Whom Do You Play?
  • Spending on Favorite Game
5. Payments
  • Frequency of Payment Methods
  • Consumer Perception of Facebook Credits
6. Play Patterns, Spending, and Brand Recall for Top Games
  • Frequency of Play in Top Games
  • Spending in Top Games
  • Aided Brand Recall for Top Games

7. Mobile Platform and Game Adoption by Social Game Players

  • Smart Device Ownership
  • Mobile Games Played by Active Social Games Players
  • In-Game Mobile Purchase Activity by Active Social Gamers

III. Demographic Differences in Usage Patterns and Monetization


8. Regional Differences

  • Game Discovery and Spending
  • Favorite Game
  • Payment Types
9. Age and Gender Differences
  • Who are the Social Gaming “Whales”?
  • Spend Across Games

Appendix

  • Survey Questions

More Data, More Actionable Insights

In 2009 and 2010, social games began to show what kind of value can be created on top of social networks. 2011 will be an even more important year as the industry continues to mature.

Social gaming, powered by virtual goods, is this year’s industry to watch. If you’re involved, or are considering jumping in, Inside Virtual Goods will be one of your most important tools.

One year of original data and exclusive in-depth reports delivered on a quarterly basis is $2,495 and contains:

  • A detailed overview of the current state of the industry
  • Specific estimates on market size by segment
  • Diagnosis of key opportunities and issues by segment

Get The Annual Membership

Get Annual Membership (Includes Report + 3 Additional Quarterly Issues): $2,495


OR Buy Single Report: $995

The one year subscription includes three quarterly updates on key developments in the space, including future editions of our annual reports, Inside Virtual Goods: The US Virtual Goods Market 2010-2011 and Inside Virtual Goods: The Future of Social Gaming 2011.

Or, you can download just this report. The price is US $995.

About the Authors

justin-smith-headshotJustin Smith

Founder, Inside Network

Justin Smith is the founder of Inside Network, the first service dedicated to providing news and market research to the Facebook platform and social gaming ecosystem. Justin leads Inside Network’s analyst services, manages Inside Network’s AppData service, and serves as co-editor of Inside Facebook and Inside Social Games. Inside Network was acquired by WebMediaBrands (NASDAQ:WEBM) in May 2011.

Prior to Inside Network, he was Head of Product at Watercooler, now Kabam, a leading social game developer on the Facebook Platform. Prior to Watercooler, Justin was an early employee at Xfire, the largest social utility for gamers, which was sold to Viacom in 2006.

Justin holds a degree in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford University, where he was a Mayfield Fellow and a recipient of the Terman Award in Engineering.

charles-hudson-headshotCharles Hudson

Venture Partner, SoftTech VC, CEO and Co-Founder, Bionic Panda Games

Charles Hudson is a Venture Partner with SoftTech VC and the CEO and Co-Founder of Bionic Panda Games, a mobile games company based in San Francisco, CA.

Until February 2010, he was the VP of Business Development for Serious Business, a leading producer of social games. Zynga acquired Serious Business in February of 2010. Prior to Serious Business, Hudson worked at Gaia Interactive, Google, IronPort Systems, and In-Q-Tel. Hudson also founded Third Power LLC, a conference and events company that was acquired by WebMediaBrands. Charles holds an MBA and BA from Stanford University.

Last Week to Pre-Order Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011

If 2010 is remembered as the year that games on social networks became a billion dollar business, 2011 is quickly becoming the year that the industry is starting to mature. Facebook is mandating Credits effective July 1st, creating massive changes in the monetization ecosystem, last year’s hit games are fighting for their lives, and new developers and games are climbing the leaderboards. At the same time, larger players are consolidating smaller studios and teams, and large media companies and traditional game developers continue to plot their social gaming strategies.

Get the Annual Membership
Get Annual Membership (Includes Report + 3 Additional Quarterly Issues): $2,495 $1,995 USD*
OR Buy Single Report: $995 $795 USD*

* Pre-order discount ends June 13, 2011. All pre-ordered reports will be delivered on June 14, 2011.

That’s why we’re excited to announce today a new original study in our Inside Virtual Goods series by co-authors Justin Smith and Charles Hudson that is exclusively focused on spending and usage patterns in the social gaming market, entitled Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011. The second annual installment of this report, it will be released on Tuesday, June 14, but is available for discount pre-order now.

Most of the studies on player spending and usage patterns in social games over the last year have actually been conducted by industry vendors. Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011 is our exclusive independent look at the virtual goods spending and behavior patterns of social game players on Facebook — data you won’t find anywhere else.

About the Report

Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011 gives you an inside view of the market at this critical juncture in the intersection of social networking and online games.

We have surveyed nearly 2,000 players of social games on Facebook from around the world and across the demographic spectrum. Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011 is the most in-depth independent survey of player behavior and spending patterns in the social gaming market.

What We Cover

  1. Spending Habits and Payment Methods in Top Games – It’s easy to compare games based on audience numbers, but which games monetize better? What payment methods do players use most often in top games? How is the shift to Credits affecting player behavior? We investigate how spending patterns compare across top social games.
  2. Frequency of Play and Methods of Game Discovery - As Facebook has cut down on developer access to viral channels, designing an engaging and viral game is becoming both increasingly important and challenging. We investigate which games people play most frequently, and which methods of social game discovery are most effective for top games.
  3. Demographic Differences by Region, Age, and Gender – While the social gaming market is increasingly global, the audience is also becoming increasingly diverse by age and gender. How do different segments of the audience differ in terms of spending and usage patterns inside social games? We take an in depth look.
  4. Brand Recall for Social Games – How important are brands, and how well can users identify developers of top games? We investigate brand recall amongst social game players.

See the full table of contents below:

Table of Contents

I. Methodology and Respondents

1. Introduction
  • About Inside Virtual Goods
  • About the Authors
  • Survey Objectives
2. Research Methodology
  • Target Population
  • Respondent Acquisition Method
  • Survey Structure
  • Potential for Bias
3. Survey Respondents
  • Description of Total Respondent Population
  • Total Number of Respondents
  • Overall Breakdown

II. Overall Results

4. Favorite Game
  • Distribution of Favorite Game
  • Frequency of Play
  • Favorite Game Discovery
  • With Whom Do You Play?
  • Spending on Favorite Game
5. Payments
  • Consumer Perception of Facebook Credits
  • Frequency of Payment Methods
6. Play Patterns, Spending, and Brand Recall for Top Games
  • Frequency of Play in Top Games
  • Spending in Top Games
  • Aided Brand Recall for Top Games

7. Mobile Platform and Game Adoption by Social Game Players

III. Demographic Differences in Usage Patterns and Monetization

8. Age and Gender Differences
  • Who are the Social Gaming “Whales”?
  • Spend Across Games
  • Trends in Favorite Games by Age and Gender
  • Analyzing the Top Two Games
  • How Do Midcore Games Compare?

9. Regional Differences

  • Game Discovery and Spending
  • Favorite Game
  • Payment Types

Appendix

  • Survey Questions

More Data, More Actionable Insights

In 2009 and 2010, social games began to show what kind of value can be created on top of social networks. 2011 will be an even more important year as the industry continues to mature.

Social gaming, powered by virtual goods, is this year’s industry to watch. If you’re involved, or are considering jumping in, Inside Virtual Goods will be one of your most important tools.

One year of original data and exclusive in-depth reports delivered on a quarterly basis is $2,495 and contains:

  • A detailed overview of the current state of the industry
  • Specific estimates on market size by segment
  • Diagnosis of key opportunities and issues by segment

Get The Annual Membership

Get Annual Membership (Includes Report + 3 Additional Quarterly Issues): $2,495 $1,995 USD*


OR Buy Single Report: $995 $795 USD*

* Pre-order discount ends June 13, 2011. All pre-ordered reports will be delivered on June 14, 2011.

Although the report will not be released until next Tuesday, June 14, we are offering a special pre-order discount for those who purchase now. A one year subscription is $1,995 until June 14, at which point the price will go to US $2,495. The one year subscription includes three quarterly updates on key developments in the space, including future editions of our annual reports, Inside Virtual Goods: The US Virtual Goods Market 2010-2011 and Inside Virtual Goods: The Future of Social Gaming 2011.

Or, you can download just this report. The pre-order price is $795 until June 14, at which point the price will go to US $995.

About the Authors

justin-smith-headshotJustin Smith

Founder, Inside Network

Justin Smith is the founder of Inside Network, the first service dedicated to providing news and market research to the Facebook platform and social gaming ecosystem. Justin leads Inside Network’s analyst services, manages Inside Network’s AppData service, and serves as co-editor of Inside Facebook and Inside Social Games. Inside Network was acquired by WebMediaBrands (NASDAQ:WEBM) in May 2011.

Prior to Inside Network, he was Head of Product at Watercooler, now Kabam, a leading social game developer on the Facebook Platform. Prior to Watercooler, Justin was an early employee at Xfire, the largest social utility for gamers, which was sold to Viacom in 2006.

Justin holds a degree in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford University, where he was a Mayfield Fellow and a recipient of the Terman Award in Engineering.

charles-hudson-headshotCharles Hudson

Venture Partner, SoftTech VC, CEO and Co-Founder, Bionic Panda Games

Charles Hudson is a Venture Partner with SoftTech VC and the CEO and Co-Founder of Bionic Panda Games, a mobile games company based in San Francisco, CA.

Until February 2010, he was the VP of Business Development for Serious Business, a leading producer of social games. Zynga acquired Serious Business in February of 2010. Prior to Serious Business, Hudson worked at Gaia Interactive, Google, IronPort Systems, and In-Q-Tel. Hudson also founded Third Power LLC, a conference and events company that was acquired by WebMediaBrands. Charles holds an MBA and BA from Stanford University.

Get the latest news in your inbox
interested in advertising with inside facebook?

Social Media Jobs
of the Day

Senior Social Media Strategist

Current
Chicago, IL

Community Manager

Uncharted Play
New York, NY

Social Media Editorial Fellowship

Brooklyn Magazine
Brooklyn, NY

Assistant Social Media Editor

The Daily Dot
New York, NY

Communications Specialist

National Nurses United
Oakland, CA

Featured Company

Join leading companies like this one and recruit from the nation's top media job seekers on the Mediabistro Job Board. Every job post comes with our satisfaction guarantee. Learn More
 

Our Sponsors

Mediabistro A division of Prometheus Global Media home | site map | advertising/sponsorships | careers | contact us | help courses | browse jobs | freelancers | content | member benefits | reprints & permissions terms of use | privacy policy Copyright © 2014 Mediabistro Inc. call (212) 389-2000 or email us