New data released by Gambit, a micro-transaction platform provider, illustrates the complexity of both customer targeting and analyzing micro-transaction buying patterns. The major takeaway: older players seem like a good target market until you dig in to find out that they don't spend a whole lot.
But, it takes a minute to understand the data, as Gambit's Susan Su points out in a blog post on how age impacts social-gaming monetization. While it would appear that older users are a good target market thanks to their high revenue-per-user statistic, they are actually pretty meaningless in terms of revenue.
So what does this mean for game developers looking to monetize users?
First, the older demographic shouldn't be ignored as it offers a very high revenue-per-user ratio. Second, it shows that younger gamers are figuring out ways to pay for things, leading me to believe that alternative noncash payment platforms such as game cards and in-game currency have a strong future.
The other important factor in this data is that game developers (and really any marketers) need reliable data to target the best customer. Even customers with low annual revenue figures can be very meaningful provided you can find enough of them. Think of Paypal or Visa in terms of low-margin high-volume transactional systems that bring in high-quality revenue streams.