I know what you’re thinking, yes, yes they are. And I’ll agree you can certainly waste a lot of time getting sucked into Farmville or the likes on Facebook. However, did you know that these games, this part of social media, is one of the fastest growing advertising commodities out there?
Last month Facebook surpassed the 500 million user mark. You read that right, MILLIONS. That’s a lot of people. And according to an article in the LA Times 20% of all US advertising is now social media related, with half of that on Facebook alone. So, where do the games fit in to all this? It’s estimated that 1/2 of all Facebook users play games – 40% of Facebook time is spent playing them! At any given moment there are literally millions of people tending farms, zoos and mafias.
Disney just bought Playdom, one of the leaders of social networking games. The price? $750 million. And, according to a London based firm, Screen Digest, the market for social games is expected to double in the next year to just over $1 billion. That’s a 112% increase from 2009. That’s insane.
So, again you may be asking, why are games on Facebook NOT a waste of time? Well, looking at those numbers it’s easy to see that social media gaming is big business. But how does this benefit you? I’ll clue you in on a little secret. People enjoy getting free stuff – real or virtual. If you’re an active “player” on a game like Farmville, you’re familiar with the concept. One of your neighbors is building a barn and needs a brick. You send it to them and they’re happy. Using the Facebook page for the application, you can reach out to other farmers that aren’t necessarily your “friends”. You can add them to your ever-growing list of neighbors; you can, over time, become their friend. It’s a simple concept really.
Utilizing this spirit of fun and acquiring friends from across the globe you usually wouldn’t, you can build your friend list to hundreds very easily. Starting to get the picture? All of these people are potential customers! Unless they block you – which they won’t because they want free stuff – they are going to see your updates, your links, your products. They’re going to “like” your fan page for your craft.
One of the reasons I ship internationally is Twitter. When I started on Twitter I made friends with quite a few folks from across the pond. I decided then to add shipping to the UK. Now, with my friend list on Facebook ever-expanding I’ve now included the EU as well as Australia, China, Japan, etc. Social networking – games on Facebook – have had a direct effect on the way that I do business. And really, why shouldn’t a multi-million dollar market effect it? And why shouldn’t we jump on board and use this to our advantage?
Do however beware of the phenomenon becoming known as “Facebook Addiction”. I’m not making this up, I swear. Marriages are being wrecked, jobs lost, friends alienated – all because some folks simply can’t get enough. I know I spend WAY too much time on Facebook but not enough to lose a job or my house.