Our friends at gaming research company Newzoo have released some very interesting data on ‘non-paying’ players of free-to-play games. Whilst the data is designed to help publishers and developers understand the customers who don’t spend money in their games, it provides some insights for brand owners on ‘free marketers’ gaming habits, especially in how they communicate, share and promote content. The following release is taken directly from Newzoo
Who are the Free Marketers?
Defining value in mobile game monetization has focused almost entirely on how much money a player spends. With only 3.0% of players classed as “big spenders” globally, gaming companies have focused harder and harder on unearthing these players, measuring their value and attempting to increase their spend.
This has come at the expense of measuring the value of a group of users who don’t spend but who are highly valuable. Among non-spending players, there is a user segment that delivers meaningful value to marketers, even when they’re not actively being tapped into. Previously called the free riders, we’re redefining this valuable group as the “free marketers”. Of all 1.76 billion mobile gamers worldwide, 5.3% qualifies for this group totaling over 90 million consumers.
Using aggregated insights from our primary consumer research across 27 countries, we present you four facts that’ll help you understand who the free marketers are and why they matter to your business.
1) Free Marketers are young professionals
If time is money, then there aren’t many greater illustrations of that than the free marketer user.
Free marketers are defined as players who spend more than 10 hours a week playing games, but never spend money. Globally, 5.3% of all users are free marketers. But the numbers vary from country to country, with 9.6% of players in Taiwan free marketers in comparison to 3.7% in the UK.
While it’s difficult to say exactly why they don’t spend, part of it could be down to their demographic makeup. Though the gender split is pretty even – 51% of free marketers are men and 49% women – free marketers are predominantly younger (with 30% aged 10-20 and 43% aged 21-35) and the majority (41%) are in full-time work.
Sneaking in mobile game sessions into their busy lives, or too young to be trusted with the app store login, free marketers won’t deliver direct value to your bottom line.
2) Free marketers are publishers and viewers
But while they may not contribute to your cash pile, free marketers are more likely to organically publish content about your game than other non-paying users. The reason for this is that free marketers are more active on digital platforms.
18% of free marketers publish video game content on their Facebook page at least once a month in comparison to just 11% of all non-paying consumers. Please note, this analysis excludes Chinese gamers.
They’re also more likely to post on YouTube, with 12% of free marketers posting game content once a month in comparison to 10% of the rest of the non-spending audience.
That’s not all though. Not only are free marketers publishing more game content than non-spending customers, they’re watching more; 21% of free marketers watch 10 hours or more of streamed gaming content each week, in comparison to 9% of all non-spenders.
Free marketers might not have much money, but they’re more likely to be active participants in the broader gaming community.
3) Free marketers are digital conversationalists
Beyond publishing content, free marketers are also significantly more likely to communicate online than other non-paying mobile gamers.
41% of free marketers spend over 25 hours a week visiting mobile social networks or chat applications, while 43% of free marketers spend over 15 hours a week using the internet or email. In comparison, only 18% of other non-spenders use social apps for a similar length of time and only 25% email or use the web.
Free marketers are therefore digital conversationalists, making them more likely to set the agenda in their respective friendship circles.
4) Free marketers power valuable recommendations
It’s the power to publish and set agendas that makes free marketers so valuable. Though they aren’t directly contributing to in-game spend, they are much more likely to power valuable mobile game recommendations.
According to our research, 28% of paying mobile gamers discover new titles through their friends and family; 28% of paying mobile gamers discover new games via social networks, and 25% discover through online video services. Free marketers seem to be playing a larger role than other non-paying customers in actively driving that traffic.
Research we conducted into free marketers in the US found that 32% would recommend Boom Beach to other players (compared to only 17% of all non-payers) and 39% would recommend Disney Infinity (compared to 31% of all non-payers).
Free marketers may not be spending the money in-game, but they could potentially act as influencers to those who will dip into their pockets while playing a mobile game.
Free marketers are less valuable in monetary terms than spending users. But, if you can harness their publishing and sharing potential, then you could create an important organic discovery channel for the big spenders to stumble upon.
Developers should therefore ensure that mobile games feature simple to use sharing options, look into the possibility of publishing video straight to social network sites and to support the community around each mobile game more broadly.
By doing so, game developers may soon find that passionate free marketers deliver value in their mobile games as tangible as spenders do.