“Words With Friends” Finds lots of Friends on Android Smartphones

Words With Friends,” the Zynga Scrabble-like (or “inspired”) game that garnered both notoriety and lots of free marketing thanks in part to Alec Baldwin’s antics on an American Airlines flight, has come into its own among Android smartphone users.

According to NPD’s Connected Intelligence SmartMeter, which tracks consumer use of smartphone applications, websites, communications and content services, “Words With Friends” not only cracked the top ten apps downloaded, but was also among the top twenty most used apps (based on reach) among Android users for the month of January.  Not quite a year after its release (February 2011), “Words With Friends” is encroaching in reach, and exceeding in engagement metrics (time spent/duration per day, frequency of opens/launches per day) the performance of the gold standard in mobile games – “Angry Birds.”

 Based on January monthly data, “Words With Friends,” was ranked 8th in terms of apps downloaded during the month, and was one of three games among the top ten, (Star Wars light saber simulator app, BriskSaber ranked 7th, and Angry Birds ranked 9th).  It was one of two games among the top 25 most used apps for the month based on reach, with “Angry Birds” ranking 17th with a nearly 22 percent reach, and “Words With Friends,” just behind, ranking 20th at an 18 percent reach.
Where “Words With Friends” has a clear lead versus “Angry Birds” and other mobile games is in user engagement – including time spent and launches per day– which highlights the addictive, viral, and social elements that the game has on its user base.

Among users of each game, “Words With Friends” was used nearly 5X as much as “Angry Birds” – approximately 20 minutes daily in January compared to 4 minutes for “Angry Birds.” And, “Words With Friends” users launch the game more than six times daily (6.2), whereas “Angry Birds” users launch the game less than once a day (0.7).
Clearly, “Words With Friends,” is a different type of game (social, connected puzzle versus single-player arcade), and is much newer to Android users versus the more mature “Angry Birds,” which has been available on Android longer (since October 2010), but it is still compelling and instructive (for advertisers and others) to track comparative performance metrics of the two leading mobile gamin