Facebook’s rise from Ivy League oddity to worldwide phenomenon went hand in hand with the growth of social gaming.
Simple, browser-based games like Farmville and Texas Hold ‘Em have caught on big with the public and are now catching on with affiliate marketers.
Though social gaming has lost some ground to smartphone-based mobile games in the past few years, as many as 250 million people are still logging on them every month.
While a user base the size of the population of Brazil might be good enough for most CEOs, it’s not good enough for Mark Zuckerberg. He’s been encouraging social gaming growth on Facebook, including the introduction of real money gambling.
This is all great news for gaming affiliates who are looking to diversify their portfolios with social gaming and gambling options. It also means that creating social media strategy that integrates Facebook and Twitter is more important than ever.
Affiliates who embrace social gaming are poised to ride the next big wave of internet gambling and here’s what you need to know to get started.
Social Gaming Then and Now
Social gaming giant Zynga launched their mega-hit Texas Hold ‘Em app on Facebook in July of 2007. Zynga’s timing couldn’t have been better as that was when Facebook’s massive growth spurt had really kicked in. The popular card game helped the company launch other big hits like Mafia Wars and Farmville.
Millions of players became hooked on Zynga’s unique brand of addictive game play and (limited) social interaction. At its peak, Farmville was drawing a mind-blowing 35 million users every day.
Unfortunately for Zynga, another product launched in July of 2007 that would alter their fortunes in a big way. That’s when Steve Jobs announced a new product from Apple called the iPhone.
At the time, few people realized how the smart phone would revolutionize just about everything we did on the Internet, including playing games.
As the years rolled by, both Facebook and Zynga went public with IPOs that were nowhere near as hot as investors had hoped.
Today, tepid stock prices and a user base that’s been eroded by competition from more interactive smart phone based gaming has sent Zynga and Facebook in search of new revenue sources.
Big time online gambling shops have already launched several real money gambling apps and more are in the works. Right now real money social gambling on Facebook is limited to the UK, but that probably won’t be the situation for long.
In short, social gaming 2.0 is on the way and gambling apps, and social gaming affiliate programs, are likely to be a big part of it.
Social Gaming Today
Though social gaming has taken a big hit from mobile gaming over the past few years, it’s still drawing big numbers. So what does today’s social gamer look like?
Back in the hey day of Farmville, the average social gamer was a woman in her 40’s. Though at demographic is still well represented today (which is why bingo games were some of the first real money gambling offerings) it’s not nearly as dominant as it once was.
According to recent report from the ad group Sponsor Pay, women account for 54% of all social gamers. Age-wise, the social gaming space is a very diverse place, though younger players tend to prefer mobile games.
Of course each game has it’s own unique demographic. For example, 74% of Texas Hold ‘Em players are men, while nearly 80% of bingo players are women.
Understanding demographics for social games, or anything else, make creating meaningful content a lot easier.
Social Gaming Content Tips
Gambling affiliates are already pretty good at creating content in their respective niches and extending that skill to the social space isn’t a big stretch. The key to Facebook content is to keeping posts short, but adding value.
A good example of how gaming can be promoted can be found on IGT’s MegaJackpots page. The content here is timely, enticing and there’s plenty of contests to keep readers coming back. They must be doing something right because they’ve racked up over 100,000 likes in just five months.
Social Gaming Affiliate Programs
There’s plenty of room for affiliates in the new social gaming order. On the gambling side, familiar companies like 888 and Unibet are have already launched apps and are ready for business.
Winner Affiliates is a good example of how affiliates can jump on the social casino train. They’re offering CAP readers a generous 50% revenue share for the first 90 days on their social gaming affiliate program.
Social gaming has definitely lost some ground to mobile over the past few years, but it’s still a formidable force on the Web and it’s a natural fit for gambling affiliates.
Are you promoting social gaming? Share your experiences in the comments section below.