Social gamers accept marketing for virtual currency

A ComScore-Offerpal Media survey shows that social gamers are willing to be marketed to in order to get free virtual currency. Avoiding scams will be key to making this trend last.

Alternative payment methods enable developers to monetize significantly larger portions of their user base, according to a study released Wednesday.

Fifty-three percent of social gamers surveyed for the study, overseen by ComScore and Offerpal Media, said they are enthusiastic about alternative, or indirect, payment methods as a way to earn virtual currency for free, rather than having to pay for it directly.

These alternative forms of payment take many forms, including filling out a survey, watching a video, shopping at online retailers, or signing up for a subscription in order to get points for the games they play on leading social networks.

According to the survey, the top preferred marketing actions, in order of preference, are as such:

  1. Completing a free survey
  2. Watching a video
  3. Completing tasks such as tagging a photo or proofreading a document
  4. Shopping for clothes or other goods online
  5. Subscribing to a magazine
  6. Subscribing to a movie rental program

Offers and surveys have proven to be viable revenue sources for social games, but they are not without problems. Offerpal itself allegedly participated in a variety of programs that were little more than scams . And while scams are obviously bad, the theory behind the programs does make sense.

The statistics show that users want virtual points and goods for free (surprised?)

  • 53.3 percent of the total respondents reported that they would be "very likely" to complete a marketing action.
  • 22.8 percent of the respondents reported that they would be willing and are able to buy the points using cash payment methods such as credit cards, PayPal, bank transfers, or mobile billing.
  • 29.7 percent of social gamers do not have the ability or the means to pay for virtual currency with cash options.
  • 34.9 percent say they are "very unlikely" to part with their money in order to purchase points.

As social media matures, and more forms of monetization start to come to light, there is little doubt that we'll see new forms of offers, both legitimate and questionable. What remains to be seen is how revenue goals can be consistently targeted and achieved.

About the author

Dave Rosenberg has more than 15 years of technology and marketing experience that spans from Bell Labs to startup IPOs to open-source and cloud software companies. He is CEO and founder of Nodeable, co-founder of MuleSoft, and managing director for Hardy Way. He is an adviser to DataStax, IT Database, and Puppet Labs.


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