Newer Facebook Games Are Attracting an Older Female Audience

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By Chris Morrison Comment

[Editor’s Note: The data cited in this article is excerpted from Inside Facebook Gold, our membership service tracking Facebook’s business and growth around the world. It was previously posted on Inside Facebook.]

Last month we shared data for selected Facebook apps that showed diverse audiences across some of the top social gaming titles on the social network. Today we’re following up with stats on another popular set of games that have one key difference: they’re much newer than those we examined in June.

We chose four: FrontierVille and Treasure Isle, both by Zynga; Social City by Playdom; and Hotel City by Playfish. All date back no earlier than March. Looking at newer games allows us to gain some insight into how the audience has changed in the hectic first half of this year.

The first and most obvious insight we came across is that these apps, among the most popular of 2010, have a higher percentage of women than our last sample, which found about a 60/40 split between women and men:

As you can see, the gender distribution has swung even more strongly toward women. In part, this is because there have been few male-friendly hits released this year, like Zynga’s classic Texas HoldEm Poker.

Here’s how the breakdowns look for all four apps:

Women have long been the dominant force in the casual gaming industry, helping to produce estrogen-friendly hits like Diner Dash. While it’s also common knowledge that women play games in greater numbers on Facebook as well, the divide appears to be becoming starker than it was last year.

Of course, the force in casual gaming isn’t just women; it’s middle-aged women. Our next chart shows the age distribution for each of the four games:

Here, we have an interesting split. While the Zynga and Playfish games are almost identical in their age splits (Treasure Isle was exempted for clarity, but is very similar to FrontierVille), Hotel City stands out from the pack with a much younger audience.

Without the presence of Hotel City, it might seem that Facebook gaming is destined for the same almost exclusively female and older audience that casual games target. However, it’s entirely possible that developers are simply playing to the largest audience, while underserving the men and younger players.

For marketers, these results are also notable, for their suggestion that young people and kids who are gaming are moving (or being pushed) into more niche titles — even Hotel City, with its huge base of 8.3 million monthly active users, is smaller than the other games shown above.

The full demographic breakdown by app, as well as extensive audience demographic data for Facebook’s markets around the world, is only available to members of Inside Facebook Gold, our data membership service. To learn more or join, please see gold.insidenetwork.com/facebook

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