David Ogilvy once famously said “The consumer is not a moron, she is your wife.”
When discussing the marketing potential of games, there is a tendency to assume that games are mainly the domain of young adult males, playing games in their parent’s basement. But when you look at the data behind the gaming industry, one of the stats that jumps out right away: 47% of the market for games is female, and that is rising.
And that’s when you are looking at the games industry as a whole. Isolate the market to just casual games, and the market is overwhelmingly female. Unlike other types of computer gaming, such as those on consoles or multi-player internet-based games, it is women who make up the largest number of people gaming on their mobile devices.
Far from the “dude in a basement” stereotype, a whopping 70% of casual gamers are women. Busy women, professional women, Moms.
To update Ogilvy: “The game player is not a bonehead, she is your boss.”
Why do casual games hold so much appeal to women? Among the factors that female gamers have pointed to in surveys:
Female friendly. Many console games are designed with content that women find objectionable and isolating: the level of violence, the portrayal of women, or both. Casual games have tapped into a market that has always existed for smarter, gender-neutral games, offering game content that has a broader appeal.
Time. When you don’t have the luxury of spending time with tutorials or manuals, casual games are appealing because they are easy to learn, and instantly fun. Many console games are best enjoyed when you have hours to play, not minutes. The majority of casual games are card and puzzle games that offer short bursts of escapism.
Price. The price point of casual games offers some guilt-free pleasure. Casual games range from free to play to under $20, with many available under $5, compared to console games that can cost upwards of $49.
Easy to pick up, hard to put down. It’s easy to sneak in a quick session in between appointments as stress relief in a packed schedule. Casual games are easy to start, jump right into the gameplay, and easy to pause without penalty.
According to the site Mom Central, about 52% of Mom’s play games at home, 34% regularly play games on their cell phones and 29% play while waiting for their kids or while in line at a store.
When you consider that women are responsible for making between 80 and 90% of all pocketbook decisions in the household, it makes a lot of sense to find creative ways to leverage the overlooked appeal of games to this critical demographic.
Marketers dismissing the marketing potential of games or gamification applied to women based on outdated gender stereotypes are missing a tremendous opportunity.
Smart content marketers like Lifetime Television, Procter & Gamble, Daily Break Media, Coca-Cola and others have tapped into the power of games and game theory to engage women via branded games, game mechanics applied to marketing programs, and in-game advertising.
When it comes to the potential for games to engage women, the games have only just begun.
This post originally published on MediaPost, and Connelly Partners Blog.