What’s Next for Facebook? Games!

What's next for Facebook? Games
Next on Facebook? Games!

How do Facebook’s 500 million users spend over 700 billion minutes each month in that social network? The typical drill is that they log in, skim the ‘latest updates’, browse their friends’ profiles, read emails and follow up on a few leads from people and businesses they ‘like’, then interact with one or more of over 550,000 active applications currently on the platform – i.e. mostly to play games.

Gaming on Facebook began in 2007 and got a big boost this past May when the company announced a partnership with Zynga (a game applications developer) to “…improve the platform’s user experience through games.” Today, the most popular Zynga game applications on Facebook have millions of followers or players: Texas Hold’em Poker – 36 million players, Mafia Wars – 14 million players, Farmville – 3.7 million players.

Clearly, gaming is the next big thing to do on Facebook – and it could also be next big opportunity for promoting businesses and non-profit organizations. Here are three reasons you should consider getting in on the action –

1. People like to play games. Having your own gaming application on Facebook is a great way to get your followers to interact with each other and invite new members to your network (or page).

2. Games can drive commerce and donations. Games are a fun way to strengthen your supporters’ interest in your cause or service. For example, in response to the crisis in Haiti, Farmville players gave over $100,000 for the construction of a school after engaging in a game to complete a similar effort.

3. Interactivity drives repeat visits. Gaming can provide an opportunity for you to improve the virtual experience of your cause or product. If people had fun on your page – or Website, they will invite others to join them in the experience, and cultivate an audience for information about your product, service or cause.

In a few years there will be a gallery of games on Facebook designed solely to keep visitors coming back for the challenge, the fun – and latest in products and services from companies. It’s certainly worth thinking about developing a game that would keep your network growing and engaged.