Better Together: How High Value Gamers Find Community on Facebook

Mobile gaming owns one of the most unique marketing challenges facing any industry: only about .23% of players generate 60% of all in-game revenues.1

Understanding these gamers, which we refer to as High Value Payers (sometimes known as “whales”), is critical as the relatively new mobile gaming industry continues to grow – and it’s growing fast, especially in developing countries.2 Facebook commissioned a study to better understand how High Value Payers, other payers and non-payers use our platform around the world.


High Value Payers are more engaged on Facebook

What we found was that, compared to other payers and non-payers, High Value Payers we surveyed say that they use Facebook more often and engage more deeply. While this is true across the board, it is especially true in markets with less Facebook access.

This tells us that, in countries like Russia and South Korea, it is even more important for High Value Payers to be engaged with the platform. So, why is it that High Value Payers engage so much more than their peers on our platform?


High Value Payers, and other payers, say they need social connections to stay engaged with their games

After they download a game, High Value Payers we surveyed in developed regions overindex on sharing about the game on social. They don’t do it simply to gain incentives or credit; a large portion of this group does it for purely social reasons. And that makes sense. High Value Payers invest a lot of time and energy into the games they love, so it’s natural that they would seek out community built around those games.

They also overindex on joining gaming communities after their download – especially in developing countries. Compared to developed countries, High Value Payers in developing countries are almost 2x more likely to join a gamer community on Facebook after they download.


Facebook Groups is where High Value Payers prefer to talk about gaming

We took a look at our Facebook products to try and understand specifically where communities are being formed. When asked about Facebook apps and services, High Value Payers and other payers we surveyed prefer Groups as their place to share post-download.


Social connections help drive retention for High Value Payers in developing markets

Now that we understand how important communities are to High Value Payers, how does that affect their gaming habits? If most revenue is generated from a small subset of gamers, it seems “stickiness,” or how long those gamers stay with a game, is at the very least as important as finding new players.

Among gamers we surveyed, we know social connections are a factor in driving retention for mobile games, but for High Value Payers in developing countries, they are the top reason for retention. High Value Payers we surveyed largely overindex on other payers in valuing social connection, even more than in-game features such as graphics, rewards and storyline.

As the landscape of mobile gaming shifts, and marketers focus more on developing markets, how they treat High Value Payers in their gaming communities will largely define their success. Creating and fostering social community social gaming community helps retain existing High Value Payers and encourages more payers to become High Value Payers.


Marketer Takeaways

  • Prepare for the post-download conversation. After downloading a new game, there’s a surge in social activity that marketers should prepare for – including joining new communities. Encouraging that growth and joining the conversation in an effective, yet unobtrusive, way is necessary to stay engaged with your game’s High Value Payers.
  • Consider the region. When looking at the Facebook platform to reach a new group of gamers, understand that not all High Value Payers are created equal. Messaging High Value Payers in a developing region will require different themes than developed regions. Consider, for example, the overindex on social connection as a driver for “stickiness” in developing regions, versus a sense of achievement as a driver in developed regions.
  • Understand gaming communities. Fostering community using social networks is an effective way to increase retention among High Value Payers. Know and understand the groups your audiences participate in, and support those communities as part of your overall strategy.


1. Source: Swrve New Media, “The Swrve Monetezation Report 2016.”
2. Source: newzoo, “The Global Games Market Will Reach $108.9 Billion in 2017”; April 20, 2017.
Source unless otherwise specified:
“Global Mobile Gamer Study” by TNS (Facebook IQ-commissioned online study of people ages 18+), Jun 2015-Mar 2016. The incidence sample of 23,927 is representative of gamers across all devices within the online population of BR, DE, ES, FR, ID, IN, KR, RU, TH, TR, UK and US. Surveyed mobile game spenders, or “payers,” in BR and US include Facebook users only. Unless otherwise noted, data are on average across the markets.
For the purposes of this study, Developing Markets include Brazil, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Turkey, while Developed Markets include France, Germany, Russia, South Korea, Spain, UK and US.