Nearly 62 million US internet users, or 27% of the online audience, will play at least one game on a social network monthly this year, up from 53 million in 2010. Their numbers will continue to grow and, along with them, money spent on virtual goods, lead-generation offers and advertising.
Revenues from virtual goods made up the majority of social gaming revenues in the past, and they will continue to bring in the biggest share of dollars through 2012.
Ad spending will grow more quickly; in 2011, marketers will spend $192 million to advertise on social games, nearly a 60% increase over 2010. eMarketer forecasts a further rise of 41% in ad spending next year.
Rapid growth in ad spending will help its share of total revenues grow from 14.1% in 2010 to 20.5% in 2012, when it will surpass lead-generation offers as a source of developer revenues.
Such offers have been a powerful force in the social gaming market but are losing favor as marketers use games for more branding-oriented efforts. Virtual goods will hold steadily onto a share of about 60% of the market.