Virtual goods still make up the bulk of revenue for most social game publishers, but many are finding that ad revenue is making up for those players who don't want to pay.
Bubble Witch Saga publisher King.com, which commands the second-largest game-playing audience on Facebook (the first being, of course, Zynga), said on Thursday that the money brought in by advertisements has increased tenfold during the year so far, accounting for nearly 15 percent of its total revenues. By comparison, Zynga's latest financial results show that only 10 percent of its revenues come from ads.
King.com says its players frequently click on incentivized ads that interact directly with the games they're playing. In one such example, an ad awarding players an extra life in exchange for viewing a 15 to 30-second video saw a click-through rate of 5 percent, nearly five times the average U.S. benchmark.
King.com also touted its "Brand as a Friend" solution, where advertisers can take the place of friends in a multiplayer game to help a player advance or unlock new content.
The company says ads will play an increasingly important role in its business moving forward, and to that end, they've hired former Gaia Online and Telemundo ad executive Charity Sabater to head up its new East Coast expansion as its senior director of ad sales.