Zynga’s Q4 Ad Revenue Jumped 230%

Zynga today revealed Q4 2011 advertising revenues were up 230 percent year-over-year, totaling $27.3 million. For the entire 2011 calendar, ad sales brought in $74.5 million, which the social games developer says represents a 226 percent lift compared to 2010.

But ads made up only a small portion of Zynga’s overall revenues, which reached $1.14 billion during 2011, highlighted by an 85 percent increase in games sales.

The San Francisco company attracted 54 million active daily users in the fourth quarter, up 13 percent from Q4 2010. Monthly unique users reached 153 million last quarter, a 23 percent year-over-year hike.

Zynga offers social media users a plethora of games, including FarmVille, CityVille, CastleVille, Empires & Allies, Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, Hanging With Friends, and Words With Friends. The games are played on Facebook, Orkut, MySpace, and Google+.

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus pointed to Best Buy and McDonald’s as key brand advertisers during an earnings call on Tuesday. The exec stated that his platform’s ad revenue growth was due to both web and mobile sales.

In an example of brand advertiser integration, Ford partnered with Zynga last fall to host what was dubbed the world’s largest “Words With Friends” game to promote Ford’s 2013 Escape model.

On Tuesday, Nov 15, from 11 p.m. to midnight, Words With Friends fans competed against celebrity Jenny McCarthy, who was at an event in Los Angeles. As they played, a large photo of the 2013 Ford Escape was exposed on giant screens. The Escape debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show the following day.

Other Zynga ad types:

Engagement Ads, in which players can answer questions about brand preferences and purchase behavior in exchange for in-game currency. For instance, a user might field questions about his or her American Express card.

Branded Virtual Goods, in which a brand ties advertising deeply into game play. Capital One’s bank location in CityVille would fit this category, while perhaps the best-known examples have been Farmville integrations involving brands like Farmer’s Insurance, Bing, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s. Paramount recently launched a campaign in CityVille offering an in-game item to drive awareness of Kung Fu Panda 2.

Mobile Ads, which are served into free versions of Zynga mobile games like Words with Friends and Hanging with Friends. Advertisers have included Amazon, eBay, and HBO; Zynga also has used the space to cross-promote other mobile games.