This year alone, businesses will pay $220 million to advertise on social games and social applications, according to eMarketer, which admits that its figures may actually be conservative. By 2011, marketers might be spending $293 million on social game advertising.
eMarketer did not take into account mobile applications.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said recently that advertisers have increased spending on the social network by at least tenfold in the past year. Seeing that Facebook has over 500 million users, a statistic that climbs significantly with each passing quarter, no one should be surprised at advertiser spending.
Zooming in on social games and applications specifically, Zynga, the largest social gaming company, registers 230 million monthly active users playing its games. Playdom, which was recently acquired by Disney, gets about 38 million monthly active users. And Playfish, acquired by EA late last year, says its games have been installed 200 million times. Even SGN, a mobile social game developer for iPhone and iPod Touch, says it has registered 18 million downloads of its games. And we haven't even begun to look at the countless smaller startups and businesses designing games for social networks.In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it had been the rise of social gaming on Facebook, above and beyond all other kinds of applications, that forced Google to realize that the formerly immature collegiate network had transformed into an indomitable online force overnight. As Google pulls in most of its profits from advertising, the triple-digit figures in social gaming advertising could not been left overlooked for too long.