Who’s Playing Social Games Outside the US? Canada’s App Demographics

[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. Visit Inside Facebook Gold to learn more about our complete data and analysis offering.]

In past months, we’ve looked at app demographics for the United States and the United Kingdom, respectively the first and second largest countries in the Facebook ecosystem. This month we’re turning to a smaller English-language market: Canada.

Canada is an important English-language market for Facebook. With 15.5 million monthly active users on the social network, the country has an extremely high penetration of 46.3 percent of the population. That makes it the seventh-largest market overall for Facebook, although its actual importance is slightly greater, as Canadian users tend to engage and monetize at high rates similar to those in the US.

When it comes to games, Canada’s demographics are similar, but subtly different from from the US and UK.  These differences can help both advertisers and developers tweak their offerings for the country’s user. Below, we work through two data points for the country, age and gender.

While it’s well known that most Facebook games attract a larger female audience, in Canada the disparities can be even sharper then usual:

Note especially the first and last games on the graph, Bejeweled Blitz and FarmVille. In the US, we found that over 40 percent of FarmVille’s players were men, significantly more than in Canada. And in our UK stats, we saw that Bejeweled Blitz’s players are 29 percent men; for Canada that low number drops even further, to just 22 percent.

Across all 13 games that we found stats for, Canadian men made up just 37.5 percent of the playerbase, lower than either the US or UK:

However, the lower number of men is not consistent across all games. In Restaurant City, Mindjolt Games and Happy Aquarium, slightly more Canadian men were playing than in the other two English-language markets.

The differences suggest that, rather than any significant cultural variation between the three countries, social graph effects may actually be at work — games may tend to get more men or women simply because users of one or the other sex show up first and begin inviting their same-sex friends to play.

Here’s a look at the age breakdowns for three games:

Bejeweled Blitz stood out to us last month for its older, heavily female audience. As we point out above, the Popcap game is even more female-dominated in Canada than the UK. This graph also shows us that Bejeweled has an older average age, with some 26.5 percent of users clocking in at 46 or older, versus the UK’s 18.1 percent.

Standing out in the other direction we have Happy Pets, a CrowdStar pet-raising game. A large majority of Happy Pet’s players are under 25 — a particularly valuable group, since teens may be more likely to bring their disposable income to their favorite games over other forms of entertainment. This particular game also gives a good example of how a marketer could use social games to home in on an age group audience with a clearly expressed interest — in this case, cute animals — that could aid in product targeting efforts.

Full data on Facebook’s audience growth throughout Europe and in countries around the world is presented in the July 2010 edition of the Facebook Global Monitor report, available through Inside Facebook Gold.

An Inside Facebook Gold membership also includes data on language growth, audience demographics by country, and user behavior stats for the Facebook business ecosystem. To learn more about membership, please visit Inside Facebook Gold.