Level up your advertising audience

Video games represent a $130+ billion market with no signs of slowing down. The gaming industry – particularly mobile gaming – has experienced unprecedented growth as a result of the pandemic, lockdowns and stay at home orders as well as technological developments such as the launch of 5G and next gen consoles, resulting in millions of new gamers globally. If anything, the world of gaming is poised to grow even more as competing forms of entertainment (film, television, sports) are still recovering from the effects of the pandemic. 

Source: “Mobile Gaming Behavior Post COVID-19” by Interpret (Facebook IQ-commissioned online survey of 13,246 mobile gamers aged 18+ across BR, CA, DE, FR, JP, KR, UK, US, VN Jul-Oct 2020) 

In general, gamers veer toward being “extremely online,” with a report on Twitter usage finding that 55% of gamers check in on the social media platform daily; 68% doing so specifically to keep up with gaming news and trends. The platform even dedicates one of its Trends specifically to gaming, which is unsurprising given that in the first half of 2020 alone, a staggering 1 billion tweets about gaming were sent. All this without mentioning the reliable surge in social media activity every time there’s a Gaming Expo or Press Release such as E3, Nintendo Direct or State of Play!

Gamers are an audience often plugged into the latest trends and memes, and new gamers born from lockdown aren’t to be ignored when developing advertising campaigns. The gaming audience is now larger than those of the film and music industries combined, generating eight-times more revenue than the music industry and three-times more than football. 

Many popular online multiplayer games are essentially social networks in their own right, and these high-traffic digital spaces are built around engagement. It’s a place, albeit virtual, where people gather to experience things and the world with friends. Games are becoming always-on and longer-lived as we see younger generations increasingly gathering in game media, not social media. EA’s CMO even suggested that gaming communities can threaten the dominance of social media as they continue to grow. 

So what are the implications for advertisers? The gaming market makes up about a third of all people on the planet, has tremendous buying power and remains a captive highly engaged audience. With the gaming audience growing exponentially, as well as the amount of time gamers spend playing on the rise, advertisers have a tremendous opportunity to reach an enormous and diverse audience via in-game advertising and streaming platforms. A recent survey found that 37% of mobile gamers say in-game ads have influenced them to make a purchase, with the most likely group to buy being 30-35 year-olds – 56% of people surveyed from this age group said they had made a purchase.

When asked to picture a gamer, a stereotypical image of the nerdy, reclusive individual who forever lives at their keyboard may previously have sprung to mind. This isn’t the case today as, although some die-hard gamers continue to wear their nerd badge with pride and covet those platinum trophies, we now see the average gamer is in their 30’s and just under half of gamers are women – with a wider variety of interests and backgrounds. We see people of all age groups playing games, whether casually or very seriously… and why not? Games offer stress relief, entertainment or a chance to socialise with friends. They can even trigger a bit of nostalgia as we see classic games continue to be remade and remastered to let us relive those childhood memories of defeating Gnasty Gnorc or foiling Cortex’s plans for world domination!

Plugging into this audience could offer a much wider reach than advertisers might imagine, alongside higher levels of recall to advertising campaigns – when accompanied with the right message and ability to appeal to an individual’s motivations and preferences, of course. Due to the diverse nature of this audience, video game marketing can not take a one-size-fits-all approach, but entertainment and innovation within gaming communities will continue to present huge opportunities. Animal Crossing’s partnerships with the likes of Lazy Oaf and Colourpop, or Uniqlo’s Pokémon-inspired prints are prime examples of an exciting experience within a game resulting in two separate communities merging, generating a buzz on social channels – for both the products and the game itself. 

Ultimately, the shift towards social gaming communities, along with the surge in new gamers and the widespread adoption of mobile gaming, will continue to affect the gaming & marketing industries as well as presenting new advertising opportunities for years to come.

If you’d like to chat to us more about how to level up your engagement – or meet your Mortal Kombat match – drop us a line at hello@puzzlelondon.com. Or find out more about us right here

Posted by

Ella Seasmith