Who’s Playing Social Games Outside the US? App Demographics for Facebook’s Second Largest Market, the UK

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By Susan Su Comment

[Editor’s Note: The following stats are excerpted from Inside Facebook Gold, our membership service tracking Facebook’s business and growth around the world. Click here to visit Inside Facebook Gold and learn more about our complete data and analysis offering.]

When we recently surveyed US demographic data for 18 different leading apps by various developers, we found that, while users for these in apps generally trend young and female, certain apps like Zynga’s Texas HoldEm, with a 72.7% male audience, bucked the prevailing demographic trend.

But what about that other 70% of Facebook’s userbase that resides outside of the United States? Today we look at app demographics for Facebook’s second largest market by audience size, the United Kingdom. The data presented below is a sample of the full research and data offering we make available through Inside Facebook Gold.

In the UK, certain apps on the platform are even more dominated by a female audience than they are in the US. For several of the apps in this sample, women outnumber men two to one. One major exception is Zynga’s Mafia Wars, where there are twice as many male players than female players.

For our UK sample, we included some data on casual skill-based games to see how their player demographics differed from those of social role-playing games like Farmville. In the UK, PopCap’s Bejeweled Blitz has a userbase that’s 69.6% female, and just 29.1% male. Compare that to Farmville’s 60.3% female and 38.4% male userbase.

Recall also that Farmville has been one of the defining titles of social gaming, contributing significantly to social games’ image as the “middle-aged housewives'” go-to online leisure activity. Even so, our data show that Bejeweled Blitz is even more female and more middle-aged (as we’ll see below) than social RPGs like Farmville.

The average gender distribution for the UK mirrors that of the US, but with slightly less gender disparity. In the UK, women make up, on average, 57.9% of social gamers, and men make up 41.0%. For reference, women make up 60.8% of the US social game audience and men make up 38.2%.

While most games fell in line with the average distribution, a few of the titles that didn’t make it into the sample presented here, but whose data is available in Inside Facebook Gold, were more popular with men. Can you guess which ones?

When it comes to age distribution, the UK looks a lot like the US. The 18 to 25 age group make up social gaming’s biggest audience segment, with one interesting exception.

Bejeweled Blitz, represented by the green line in the chart above, is vastly more popular with older (and, as we saw above, female) audiences, and even has a significant following in the 56 to 64 age group. Unlike Farmville and EA’s Restaurant City, it’s not a popular title among young users – only 7.0% of those between 13 and 17 play the game.

For this writer, these stats were brought to life during a recent layover in the Denver airport when I observed a silver-haired woman avidly playing Bejeweled on her laptop, over the airport’s free wifi. I credit this Bejeweled fan and social game influencer, who fell squarely in the 56 to 64 and female demographic overlap, with my current love of the game.

We will be looking at demographics for other countries, one by one, in future articles. The full demographic breakdowns for 12 top apps in Facebook’s UK market, including gender and age group splits and growth data when available, is available through Inside Facebook Gold, our data membership service that also includes the monthly Global Monitor report on Facebook’s traffic growth around the world.

To gain access to the all the data we’re tracking, and to the specific growth projections we’ll soon be adding, please see Inside Facebook Gold at gold.insidenetwork.com/facebook.

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