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How Brands Win Over The Gaming Audience: Meet Gaming Influencers

By Yuliya Gorenko 0 comments

Let’s face it: gaming and eSports industries are becoming massive. With big names such as Coca-Cola and Toyota entering eSports sponsorships or Linda and Audible engaging gaming audiences via collaboration with YouTube Influencers, it’s time for every marketer to tailor their media strategy accordingly. Who are the “typical gamers” nowadays and how can brands market to this audience?

A CLOSE LOOK AT THE GAMING AUDIENCE: A GAMER’S PROFILE

Who are gamers?

Gaming audiences might be much broader than you think. According to a Nielsen report, 66% of the U.S. population plays video games. IGN’s recent research shows that 30% of the U.S. gaming audience is female. Major age groups of gamers are 18-24 y.o. (33% of all US gamers) and 25-34 y.o. (29% of all US gamers). The larger portion of the gaming demographic has higher education: 61% of US gamers have a college or higher degree, according to IGN.

Why do they play?

80% of all gamers play games to escape from reality, 76% play to de-stress and 70% play to socialize with friends, Mediachain reports.

What device(s) do they use to play?

With the diversity of games and devices available to play on, anyone you know could be a gamer. The rapid growth of mobile gaming has made it even easier to access your favorite game anywhere and anytime. Newzoo states that mobile game revenues in 2018 accounted for 47% of the global gaming market. Most gamers spend their time playing on one or two platforms. Nielsen Games reports that in 2018, 60% of console gamers also played on mobile or tablet devices. The 8th Gen consoles account for 33% of gaming time, becoming the platform where gamers spend more of their time than on any other. Mobile devices account for 29% of gaming time, followed by PCs with 22% of the time spent.

What games do they play?

Most popular gaming formats include Action and Fighting (Assassin’s Creed), Role Playing (Skyrim), Shooters, Survivals and Battle Royale (Fortnite), Massively Multiplayer Online games (League of Legends), Casual Mobile (Candy Crush) and Racing (Need for Speed), etc.

How do gamers spend money?

It is important for brands to recognize that the gaming audience has strong buying power. IGN research shows that 52% of US gamers are employed and 32% of them have an average household income of $50k – $100k. The majority of gamers make good money, and they know where they want to spend it. Gamers are heavy spenders and they tend to spend more money on entertainment than non-gamers do, according to IGN. Their spending preferences go far beyond games: a typical gamer would spend twice as much money on music, movies, and sports than a non-gamer. Other consumption categories where gamers spend more money than non-gamers include travel, gadgets, food, and drinks. Brands targeting gamers can create content strategies that identify multiple interests in order to cater to gamers’ other passions.

What are gamers interested in?

The gaming audience has a diverse set of interests. Besides gaming, entertainment content is their favorite type of content to watch on social media. In order to reach gamers effectively, brands need to have a close look at gaming communities. Social media provides gamers with huge opportunities to connect and make friends with peer-players. YouTube and Facebook are the two most popular social media platforms among gamers. Moreover, gamers listen to their friends as the most influential source of recommendations when making buying decisions. Media Chain’s report shows that gamers interact frequently with social media and video platforms to stay connected, learn about new games, and make purchasing decisions.

WHY IS GAMING VIDEO CONTENT A BIG THING?

Gaming Video Content (GVC) is dominating YouTube. Fully 69% of gamers watch gaming-related content on this video platform. Once considered a niche, the viewership of gameplay videos has grown considerably in recent years, with millions of viewers tuning in to both live-streamed gaming and pre-recorded videos. Gamers claim that watching YouTube is a top form of entertainment for them, and more important than going to the movies or hanging out with friends. Gaming video creators are becoming new celebrities: more than 20 of the top 100 YouTube channels with the most subscribers worldwide are gaming-related.

If you ever wondered what people search for most on YouTube, here are some impressive statistics: 5 of the Top-10 YouTube search queries in the US as of April 2019 are gaming-related.

Top-10-YouTube-search-queries-in-US-2019

Top-10 YouTube search queries in the US as of April 2019

Live Streaming has become the next huge video format and in this sector it is Twitch that runs the show. The platform has rapidly grown to an average of 15 million daily active users. The average number of concurrent viewers on Twitch hit over 1.2 million in May 2019. It is hard to believe, but more people watch GVC than watch HBO, Netflix, ESPN, and Hulu combined, Superdata reports. Brands that do not build relationships with these viewers simply miss out on myriad new opportunities.

IS GAMING INFLUENCER MARKETING EFFECTIVE?

According to Tomson research, companies (across industries) generate $6.50 in revenue for each $1 invested in influencer marketing on average. 70% make $2 or more, and 13% make $20 or more.

But how about Gaming Influencer Marketing?

    1. Mereu, a game industry veteran, and MassChallenge alumnus attests that install rates from YouTube Gaming Influencers videos achieve up to 30% install rates and deliver nearly 10 times the conversion rate of an average Facebook mobile ad campaign.
    2. According to Deepak Gupta, Chief Revenue Officer at Machine Zone, users who download apps from YouTube videos are 15% more valuable than those coming from any other video platform.
    3. Another piece of great news is that gaming influencer marketing results go far beyond the clicks and downloads attributed to the tracking links. According to Google Play research that investigated the post-watch user journey of more than 250 game videos with over 60 million views, for every person who clicks on the tracking link of an influencer video on YouTube, there are 4 more people who are not clicking, but still download within four days after watching (with 4x being a conservative multiplier).
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I AM NOT A GAMING BRAND. HOW IS THIS RELEVANT TO ME?

Gaming has taken its place in nearly all areas of our lives. Gaming influencers are expanding their power far beyond the industry. For example, Time Magazine has named Ninja one of the world’s 100 most influential people of 2019. Ninja, who is famous for his live streams of Fortnite gameplay, now has over 14 million followers on Twitch. Noted marketing campaigns by Hershey’s or Unilever are great examples of how consumer goods companies can benefit from exposure to the gaming audience. With a strategically tailored communications strategy, a non-gaming product can become a great fit for the gaming audience.  

A recent project executed by Cloutboost Agency for Hotspot Shield VPN shows how gamers can be a target audience for a non-endemic brand. By leveraging the influence of Twitch streamers, Hotspot Shield has established itself as a go-to solution for gamers. After a series of one-off trial stream sponsorships, the brand decided to turn to a long-term partnership with top Twitch influencers. This integrated 3-month campaign included: sponsored streams with product demos, Twitch chat-bot shoutouts, giveaways, social media branding, Twitter posts, and YouTube ad insertions. 

HOW TO REACH GAMERS EFFECTIVELY

To reach modern gamers on social media, brands need to integrate organically into their world. Most gamers appreciate the authenticity and relevance of communication that prioritizes their needs. Thus, brands need to make sure they can speak to the gaming audience in a credible way. Effective targeting, relevant messaging, and appropriate tone of voice are key factors for success when marketing to gamers. There’s so much space for creativity in marketing to gamers! Here are some ideas that might be applicable to your marketing plan:

  • Gaming Events Sponsorships

Gaming conferences, such as PAX, GamesCom, E3, and GDC gather highly engaged gaming audiences. Exposing your brand at these massive events opens incredible opportunities for building awareness and targeting very precise demographics.

  • eSports Tournament Sponsorships

Global eSports viewership is growing every year, reaching a total audience of almost 400 million viewers in 2018. Such events as League of Legends World Championship or Call of Duty World League gather huge online and offline viewership.

  • Collaboration with Gaming Influencers

Influencers are passionate creators who can promote your product to their fan base in a unique and authentic way. You can work with them to craft an integration that fits into what they know their audience loves and values. Collaborating with a gaming creator will get your brand’s messages seen and heard effectively by a highly engaged audience. When planning an influencer marketing campaign to target the gaming audience, you can choose between YouTube and Twitch creators, or you might amplify your efforts by utilizing both platforms. There are also other social media platforms to look at, such as Facebook or Mixer. You should also consider what game format is the most appropriate for your brand’s integration.

  • Running a Giveaway 

An influencer campaign that involves giveaways can help you boost your marketing efforts by driving traffic to your website, improving brand awareness, and ultimately increasing conversions.

  • Influencer Events Sponsorships

Influencer marketing has become an industry all its own. Numerous gaming influencers and their fans attend conventions like TwitchCon or VidCon. Featuring your brand name at these events can help you reach this audience directly.

It’s obvious that brands have to adapt to new realities and marketers should recognize and leverage the power of the gaming industry. An influencer marketing campaign’s success often depends largely on the quality of relationships built. If you are new to gaming, a good solution can be turning to specialized influencer marketing agencies for help and guidance. A gaming influencer agency, such as Cloutboost, will help you develop and manage an appropriate go-to-market strategy for your brand. From identifying and recruiting the most relevant gaming influencers to working out an effective communications strategy, our team will help you win over the gaming audience. We provide data-driven insights and tailored recommendations to assist our clients to succeed in this ever-evolving industry. It’s time for marketers to understand gamers and speak to them in their language!