Travel and leisure marketing to the nearly 57 million Americans who have tried social gaming.

September 8, 2010
Screenshot of Farmville social media game

Zynga's social game FarmVille has 63 million active users on Facebook.

If you think social network-based games are just for video game geeks, you haven’t talked to the tens of millions of Americans who have tried it.

I’ll admit it.  I’ve been slow to embrace social gaming.

As the CMO of a travel or leisure brand, you need to know about one of the latest social media trends to have exploded into the consciousness of America.

I’m talking about social gaming.  NPD Group recently released a study on who’s visiting online social gaming sites. When you see the stats, you’ll understand why all leisure marketing pros should be paying attention.

The success of these sites is hard to ignore.

  • 1 in 5 Americans over the age of 6 have tried online social gaming.
  • In all, that’s nearly 60 million Americans.
  • Of that total, nearly 6 million have spent money playing online social games, and another 11% say they plan to in the future.
  • In 2009, social gamers spent about $2 billion on virtual goods, and experts say that number will increase to $6 billion by 2013.
  • The best performing social games can inspire repeat purchases in 41% of users.

If you think the social gaming crowd is made up of young men, you’d be wrong about that, too.

  • The typical social gamer tends to skew older and female; in fact, the average gamer is a 43-year old woman.
  • This bucks a decades-old trend of younger men being the dominant users of video games.
  • 35% of social gaming players have no previous gaming experience.

Never played online social games?

If you’re the CMO of a travel or leisure brand that needs to get up to speed on social gaming, you can find out what all the fuss is about by visiting these popular sites:

  • Zynga, creators of Farmville, currently the most popular social game on Facebook.
  • Rockyou, creators of Anti-Pacman and other popular online social games.
  • Playfish, home of Pirate’s Ahoy and other popular social games.

You can find these and other surprising statistics on the rise of social gaming at NPD’s website.

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