People Insights

December 18, 2014

The Many Lives of Gamers

Gamers are people first. Understanding the lifestyles and interests of gamers can help marketers make creative relevant to their worlds.

People InsightsAudiencesGaming


    It’s the end of a busy day and Fernando, a 19-year-old from Brazil, is winding down by playing a game on Facebook. The customs broker and chemical engineering student settles into his evening routine of watching “The Walking Dead,” playing Candy Crush and checking WhatsApp before going to sleep.

    In a global study of people who play Facebook-connected games, we found Fernando’s story to be representative of many players’ stories around the world.1 Many of these people do not self-identify as “gamers” but play games to unwind, to pass time and to have fun. Gaming is one facet of their lives, and it fits in seamlessly with their other interests, hobbies and activities.

    Topline observations

    Topline observations

    In an examination2 of the demographic and behavioral profiles of people who play the top 6 gaming genres on Facebook, we found that each genre has players with distinctive characteristics beyond gaming. For example:


    of Adventure gamers globally love European football.


    of people who play Hidden Object games globally like literature/reading.


    of people who play Action games globally listen to rock music.


    of Simulation gamers globally like luxury goods.

    Shared traits

    Shared traits

    The strongest shared trait across the genres we studied is activity level on Facebook. Strategy gamers are the most active, with 74% of players logging into Facebook at least 6 days per week. Action, Casino, Strategy and Hidden Object gamers are also very active on Facebook, with at least 70% logging in at least 6 days per week. 67% of Simulation gamers and 64% of Adventure gamers log into Facebook at least 6 days per week.

    Cross-device access is another commonality. At least 60% of the people we studied play Facebook-connected games on both desktop and mobile. However, 29% of Simulation gamers and 21% of Casino gamers play on desktop only, while 18% of Strategy gamers and 16% of Action, Casino and Hidden Object gamers play on mobile only.

    The convenience of mobile allows Emir, a 17-year-old from Mexico, to play her favorite game every day. “I play Subway Surfers for 5 or 10 minutes until I either get a certain amount of coins or pass a level. I take my iPod everywhere, and if I get bored, I just play,” she said.

    Hailing from all over the globe, at least 69% of the people who play the top 6 genres on Facebook do not speak English as a first language. Portuguese and Turkish are the most common languages, corresponding with Brazil and Turkey joining the United States on the list of the top 10 grossing markets for the genres we studied.

    What it Means for Marketers

    What it Means for Marketers

    • Gamers are people first:

      Tailoring your marketing message to a gaming audience starts by thinking about people—the people you want to play your game and the people who currently play your game. Look at current and potential players to understand their lifestyles, hobbies and favorite things. Once you understand who they are, you can make your creative relevant to their worlds.

      For example, we know that Strategy gamers are young and active and like brands that embody the spirit of action and adventure. That may lead you to highlight the exciting, action-packed moments of gameplay in your creative. We also know that Casino gamers from North America like country music, which may lead you to feature country music in a video about your Casino game.

    • Target beyond your brand’s core audience:

      Targeting people who already play within a genre is only the beginning of reaching your potential audience. Look at the popularity of other genres among your existing players to develop new targeting strategies. For example, 46% of Strategy gamers are likely to also play games in the Simulation genre.

      You can also use insights about your players to reach people with similar interests. For example, many Action gamers around the world like Coca-Cola and enjoy animated TV shows and movies, like “The Simpsons,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Shrek” and “Despicable Me.” Targeting this cross-section of interests may help you reach a new audience of potential gamers.

    • All occasions are gaming occasions:

      People check Facebook throughout the day to discover and explore what matters to them. Consider what motivates people to play games and how you can connect with them during idle moments. Develop relevant messaging to reach people across their devices at various moments during the day.

      For example, players who game mostly on desktop computers may be looking for a distraction from studying while players on mobile may be interested in ways to fight boredom as they wait for a bus.

    Source: Facebook internal data based on reported and inferred global user data, May 2014.

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