While the ScamVille controversy appears to have tarnished the reputation of ad offers in social games, female gamers still love them. According to a new report by online marketing firm Q Interactive, 78% of all women who've played a social game have clicked on an ad or accepted an ad offer in order to obtain in-game virtual currency. The study surveyed 2200 women selected from Q Interactive's Coolsavings.com database.
Many of these respondents also answered that they didn't want to spend real money on in-game virtual currencies. Only 10.4% of respondents said that they had ever paid directly to receive virtual currency in a social game. Of those who had spent real money on virtual currency, roughly half (47.1%) spent under $20 and 37.2% spent between $20 and $100. Women who hadn't spent on virtual currency cited a lack of affordability (37.7%) and importance (32.5%) as main reasons why.
Women who had accepted ad offers stated that they selected which offers to accept based on interesting content (34%), offers for free products and services (17%), qualifying for offers with specific criteria (16%). The amount of currency offered by the ad influenced only 9% of women surveyed. While 78% of women surveyed had accepted ad offers, 67% said that they found ad offers useful. About 23.2% of women surveyed said that they spent virtual currency in social games roughly once per week.
Women who spent virtual currency in social games did so primarily to advance (37.7%) or to give virtual gifts to friends (17.3%). The majority of women would spend for both reasons (39.7%). Of the women surveyed who spent virtual currency, 33% said they enjoyed doing so because it was fun, 25% because they enjoyed giving gifts in games, and only 24% purely because they enjoyed advancing in the game. A minority who enjoyed to spend virtual currency said they did so to compete with other players (8%) or because it conveyed a feeling of wealth (8%).
How likely a woman is to be interested in ad offers doesn't correlate directly with how many women spend virtual currency in games, curiously enough. Only 41.2% of women surveyed stated that they had spent a virtual currency in a social game before. Of those who had spent virtual currency before, 57% did so on a daily basis. Of those spending daily, 33.4% spent only once per day while 23.8% spent multiple times per day.
It's worth noting that the survey was clearly conducted before the Scamville controversy or other events, like Zynga removing offer walls in its social games, took place. It is possible that if the survey were conducted now, a similar sampling of women by Q Interactive might answer survey questions differently. Before ScamVille, though, the survey's results make it very clear that women who played social games were more comfortable accepting ad offers than spending money directly on virtual currency.
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