Believe it or not, the average American now spends more time on Facebook than they do on any other website. The draw of social games and quick access to friends makes it an ideal spot on the Internet and advertisers are quickly catching on. There are approximately 500 million users on Facebook to date, and the participation in social or online games has increased drastically. To put this in to perspective, around 30 million Facebook users play the social media game Farmville, and ratings for shows like Dancing With The Stars top off at only 22 million viewers.

In the popular social media game Farmville, you are given your own plot of land and can grow different crops. Over time, you earn money and have opportunities to purchase buildings, animals or new, more advanced crops. The advertising in Facebook social media games began with Cascadian Farms and their blueberries. Farmville offered the Cascadian Farm blueberries as a new “exclusive” crop that you could plant in your farmlands and nearly every user that played the game Farmville, chose to plant this branded blueberry over any other crop. With this simple brand placement, the game developers at Zynga reported that they were able to increase the brand awareness for Cascadian over 550%!

To say that social games are the new frontier of advertising is an understatement. Other Facebook games such as Yoville offer Facebook users the ability to create their own “virtual worlds” while at the same time advertising brands like Old Navy and 7-Eleven. Green Giant has also seized the opportunity to market through social games and began offering products that when purchased, would give you “Farmville dollars” or credits to the online social media game.

As the popularity of smart phones grows, more social media games will be added to the mix. An audience 500 million strong is a resource to be tapped and with the effectiveness and quick success of these brands advertising on Facebook, it’s safe to say that this is just the beginning.

What social media game do you play?