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BizReport : Social Marketing : November 12, 2009

Study: Women want virtual cash, goods

When it comes to online advertising, most women are willing to watch ads or play games and apps in exchange for virtual currency. According to a new study from Q Interactive, women play games and view ads so that they can 'get' other things, primarily in the form of virtual currency.

by Kristina Knight

qinteractive.gifResearchers polled more than 2,000 women and found that they are playing social apps such as Farmville or tending (Lil) Green Patches on social networks so that they can earn virtual currency. The virtual currency is then used to buy virtual goods - some which can be used with these apps and some which can be used in other ways, such as sending gifts to friends.

Researchers found that some women are ">grabbing that virtual cash more often than they are getting real cash from their ATMs. In fact, more than half of women are redeeming virtual currency on a daily basis.

"As brands seek relevant and natural ways to shake hands with women via social media, the gaming and application marketplace holds tremendous potential to integrate in a consumer-friendly, meaningful way," said Matt Wise, President, Q Interactive. "Women seek a partner to support their entertainment, which is exceptionally important given their busy lives."

Still, women are picky when it comes to game and app playing. They won't play any game for any reason. More than 80% report using fewer than five games or apps regularly and three-quarters (74%) plays games/apps which are recommended by friends or family.

How are women using virtual currency? More than 90% use virtual currency to 'gift' their friends - sending them virtual chocolate, drinks, makeup or even teddy bears - or to get to new levels of their favorite games. 97% of women say earning virtual currency to 'gift' is better than paying for a real-world gift with real-world cash.

Ian Johnson, Director, Social Media World Forum said, "This provides a terrific opportunity for brands to serve as a trusted, valued partner to them. By having a presence in the game and app space, brands get the benefit of reaching an influential consumer set. With the support of brands, advance in games and apps and we're finding also get information from brands they value."

The full results of the study will be released at the Social Media World Forum this month.

Tags: online games, online gaming, QInteractive, social apps, social marketing, social networks, virtual currency, virtual goods

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