Report: Social game advertising to hit $220 million this year

Social game makers may be focusing more on virtual good sales than advertising offers these days, but that doesn't mean selling ads to players is an irrelevant part of social gaming's revenue base. Indeed, a new report from the analysts at eMarketer predicts worldwide social game advertising will reach $220 million this year.

That estimate represents a 20% increase from last year's social gaming advertising market, which eMarketer pegged at $183 million. Not everyone is sharing equally in the growth though, as eMarketer's numbers show US social game ad sales on pace to actually fall slightly in 2010. Don't fret, though -- eMarketer sees both US and international ad sales rising by over a third in 2011, to create a total market worth $293 million.

That rate of growth matches expectations for the virtual goods market, the size of which is expected to shoot up 134% over five years. This means that in-game advertising is likely to continue to represent about 20% of total social gaming revenues for the forseeable future. So, not the industy's driving force, surely, but still an important piece of any social game maker's balance sheet.

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