Recent Facebook Apps in the United States Target Niche Audiences for Growth, Monetization

Editor’s note: The following analysis is based on data from Inside Facebook Gold, our research and data membership service covering Facebook’s platform and advertising ecosystem.

Following up on Tuesday’s post about the performance of three relatively standard games in Taiwan, we’re switching back to the United States with at look at three more apps — though this time they’re rather unusual, at least compared to some of the apps we’ve previously looked at.

What makes these games unusual is, in part, the fact that they’re all products of late 2009 and 2010. Since the turn of the year, social game developers have found that they need to go beyond farming and fish games. The three you see below — Kingdoms of Camelot, Mall World and Nightclub City — are products of this new, more creative environment.

Each game also has a measure of built-in demographic targeting. For the developers, narrowing the focus to particular groups of people has helped build larger audiences for games without the advertising weight of a large company like Zynga behind them.

This built-in targeting should also be interesting to brand marketers and advertisers, though. The demographics for Mall World, for instance, indicate that it could be a good channel for targeting young, brand-conscious women. As discussed in our earlier interview with Alex Rampell, CEO and co-founder of TrialPay, performance advertising’s next frontier will likely be within social games, and brands have an opportunity to lead.

Our demographic data for all three games show that each has a fairly different gender profile. Kingdoms of Camelot, for example, is the only one of the three that’s heavily male, an observation that makes sense given that Camelot is a strategy game with a fantasy theme, a genre that has traditionally appealed more to men.

Focusing on men is a clever move for games like Kingdoms of Camelot. Since most developers have by now realized that women spend more on Facebook games (a phenomenon we cover in depth in our Inside Virtual Goods reports), the competition is heaviest for that group.

Camelot, along with a small handful of other strategy games, neatly bypasses the fight for women, and has netted almost five million users as a result.

Games that do go after women need a unique angle. Nightclub City certainly creates that, by placing players in the shoes of a busy nightclub manager. This is an interesting game on many levels, not least because the music in the game is recognizable — popular artist Girl Talk, for instance, features prominently.

Mall World’s theme isn’t unique anymore. But it’s certainly laser-focused — who doesn’t know young women like malls? As we explore further, a second big difference between Kingdoms of Camelot and its two peers is revealed: a much older audience. Although Camelot may be male-heavy, its average age is closer to female-dominated games like FarmVille, which often go for a middle-aged audience.

Nightclub City and Mall World, on the other hand, both trend young — especially the latter game. That’s no surprise, but it’s again a clever targeting move on the part of both games: Facebook’s growing international audience is younger on average than the mostly-static United States userbase. (Note, however, that these stats are only for the US.)

Over time, expect to see more targeted games and applications like these three. Since the groups that access them are self-selecting, the games themselves should also help lead marketers to their desired audience.

The above analysis is based on recent demographic data for each of these three apps. The full data is available as part of a membership to Inside Facebook Gold, our research and data membership service covering Facebook’s platform and advertising ecosystem. To learn more or join the membership, please visit Inside Facebook Gold.



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