Why Marketers Should Consider Targeting Gamers

by Kedet | May 3, 2021


Gamers are an audience segment you shouldn’t underestimate.

Since the holidays, popular gifts have been Sony’s latest and much-coveted gaming console, Playstation 5 or the family-friendly Nintendo Switch.

This is precisely why we will be discussing why marketers should consider targeting gamers! Here are the topics we will be covering in this blog:

The Boom of the Gaming Industry

Video games have always been a medium for escapism. People flock to them to take their minds off from the stress and reality of day-to-day life.

The pandemic has given video games a big push. Even people who might not have played many games before have gotten more time on their hands. Our previous blog highlighted that the global mobile usage average has increased by an hour a day, and mobile ads saw a 15% increase in engagement rate. This also resulted in a 59% surge in in-game advertising revenue!

Here’s a look at gaming in the pandemic era:

Playing video games can be relaxing (think Animal Crossing), exhilarating (Pub-G), hilarious (Jackbox Party Games), and extremely social.

Many games nowadays are social, like Fortnite, which is a free-to-play, battle royale game. 99 players worldwide have to fight to survive on a virtual island and be the last one standing.

In March 2019, there were 250 million players. By April 2020, during the first wave of COVID-19, that number has jumped to 350 million unique players. In solely the month of April 2020, there have been a combined total of 3.2 billion hours spent in the game.

Take a look at how the game itself makes money:

Did you know that 64% of Americans aged 13+ play video games on a device?

Gaming systems like Playstation, Nintendo, and Xbox are widely popular and take up about half of the gaming industry’s revenue.

Ever since their launches in 2017, sales have been consistently growing:

Here’s a quick breakdown of lifetime sales (as of November 2020) of each system:
  • Playstation 4: 114 million
  • Nintendo Switch: 71 million
  • Xbox One: 48 million

These numbers will continue to grow, and these gaming system titans will be launching innovative new products.

Playstation recently debuted their latest system, Playstation 5, which sold out almost immediately. Nintendo released a more compact version of the Switch called Switch Lite and has already teased the news of Nintendo Switch 2.

Well, what makes up 51% of the global revenue for the gaming industry?

Say hello to mobile games!

Hundreds and thousands of games are also accessible to those without a gaming system via smartphones or tablets. The most popular apps in the Apple and Google Play store are predominantly mobile games.

Facebook recently released a Gaming Report with 2020 insights. It saw major growth in mobile gaming:

No matter what tickles your fancy, there is a game out there for everyone. A digital crossword puzzle game for seniors to keep their minds sharp; a zombie shoot-em-up gorefest for thrillseekers, a challenging turn-based strategy game, or a chill management game where you tend to a virtual farm… whether playing solo or socially, people can spend as long or as little time they want to be entertained through games.

American gamers in the age range of 18-35 play mobile games for an average of 48 minutes a day.

Research shows that the global gaming market is worth almost $160 billion, and it’s predicted to surpass $200 billion in revenue by 2023.

The future of gaming is limitless, and advertisers should take note.

A Very Underrated Audience Segment

Gone are the old days with gamer stereotypes. Gamers now range among so many demographics. Can you believe that middle-aged women are the most avid mobile games?! We’re looking at you, Candy Crush!

A survey revealed that 65% of US women aged 10-65 play mobile games. Women make up 49% of all mobile gamers and play more frequently than their male counterparts.

The average age of a female gamer is 37 years old who is financially independent.

1 out of 3 of women who play mobile games regularly have high purchase-intent when it comes to games or in-game loot or gear.

Female gamers are a very underrated market!

Photo by SCREEN POST on Unsplash

Gaming Platforms For Advertisement

In this section, we will dive into the top channels brand marketers can serve digital ads and get in front of gamers!
iOS & Android Mobile Games
Since mobile gaming advertising is the most popular and accessible platform for the public, we’ll look at it first. All mobile games are downloadable apps. So the type of advertising best suited for this is in-app advertising. Brands pay app developers to serve ads on mobile apps. There are a few types of in-app ads:
  • Mobile Banner Ads are Display Ads are typically located at the top or bottom of the mobile screen
  • Interstitial Ads are during transitions of a game, for example, a loading screen
  • Rewarded Video Ads incentivize users to view video ads to get game rewards
  • Mobile Native Ads blend into a mobile app’s layout and theme and provide relevant content

What’s great about mobile apps is that there is a vast list to choose from in-depth data tracking and audience-targeting functions. Data that can be collected include geolocation, age, gender, type of device, etc. Technologies like Klick&Mortar can even track if someone viewed your ad and visited a shop in person!

Because those who are playing mobile games are highly engaged in the app, mobile ads tend to have decent Click-Through Rates (CTR). It’s a great monetization strategy for any brand running digital campaigns!

Twitch

Twitch is a live-streaming site that was acquired by Amazon for $970 million in 2014.

It has over 17.5 million daily active users.

Streamers broadcast themselves live while playing video games or doing other activities and engaging with their viewers. Viewers can watch the video and send instant messages on the screen’s side to communicate with the streamer and other viewers. Because of this, Twitch is a platform of genuine, authentic, live entertainment, all while connecting people from around the world on their shared interests.

The platform focuses on gaming live streams, but users have branched out to other entertaining streams such as live workouts, day in the life at work, or a popular one: mukbang, which is when one sits down and eats an assortment of food!

Here is a mukbang video gone wrong that had gone viral:

Twitch users watch livestreams for 95 minutes a day on average!

Here is a quick breakdown of Twitch’s user demographic:

Twitch Advertising boasts some astonishing statistics of an engaged audience:
  • 62% of viewers engage with esports and gaming personalities daily
  • 70% offer monetary support
  • 64% purchase products recommended by them

Because of the massive audience on the platform and its high engagement rate, Twitch has gained a lot of attention from companies well beyond the traditional gaming world.

Many marketers even seek out Twitch streamers to be influencers and help spread the word about their brand. For example, Beauty brands like Maybelline send their choice of streamer/influencers new cosmetic products and invite them to do a “Get Ready with Me” segment on Twitch, where thousands of fans can watch live.

For example, Michelle Phan, a beauty guru who rose to fame from Youtube over a decade ago, has started livestreaming games on Twitch. Em Cosmetics partnered up with her to advertise their latest product launch. Michelle programmed a bot to the livestream chat to add the direct link to purchase for her audience, and commercials for the product would run during breaks in the game. The results?

  • The product sold 278% more units compared to previous launches
  • 17% of revenue & 45% of site traffic was generated during the 3.5-hour livestream
It’s not only for marketers to drive awareness — Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did a livestream of the insanely popular game, Among Us to encourage younger audiences to go out and vote. The livestream racked up 4.5 million views in 3 hours, marketing if as one of Twitch’s most-watched streams ever! As you can see, Twitch is a platform with lots of potential: their massive userbase and high engagement rate is unbeatable in the industry. We believe advertisers should be taking notice and advantage of it!
Youtube

Gaming videos are very popular on YouTube. 48% of gamers saying they spend more time watching other people play!

Youtube Gaming reported that 2020 was their biggest year yet, logging a whopping 100 billion hours of watch time and 40 million active gaming channels! Check out their milestone review:

Marketers should consider running in-stream ads on gaming videos. In-stream ads mean video advertising played at the beginning, middle, or end of a Youtube video. These are typically 6 seconds or 15; some have options for the viewer to skip. It can maximize audience reach.
eSports Events
Some popular games are on the PC or console (Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo etc.), and there are no advertising options within the game itself but have a huge player base. How can brands advertise to them? Enter: eSports events. eSports is an emerging industry, and many young people aspire to become a professional eSports player, which can be a lucrative, respective career! They train and practice intensely, and corporations can sponsor them, just like athletic sports. They get to flex their muscles and precision gameplay skills at esports events. If you’re got the time, watch this short documentary (23 minutes) of the inside story of eSports training:
These are real-life events held in stadiums where fans can attend, and the entire event is streamed simultaneously on Twitch and Youtube. There are hosts, broadcasters, commentary, and gameplay analysis throughout the entire process, just like a sports event.

Riot Games, the company that created the insanely popular game, League of Legends hosts annual championships with global professional eSports teams participating.

In 2019, they had 10,000 fans attend the event at the stadium, and 100 million viewers around the world tuned in to watch — more than the 2019 Superbowl, which had 98 million viewers. It’s astonishing!

Check out this epic trailer that showcases their eSports event:

Brands can partner up with the game developer hosting these events and explore sponsorship or in-stream advertising opportunities. There’s no doubt it will get in front of a lot of eyeballs. Games transcend language and culture and are supercharged by the internet. It truly is a phenomenon that should not be underestimated.

Summing It All Up

It’s 2021, it’s a new year, and it could be a great time to spice up your digital strategy. It’s also time to get rid of the ole’ stereotype of gamers. Now, anyone can be a gamer with a smartphone!

We named some channels with a very active and engaged audience and believe the key to success for capturing the gamer audience will be to use visual hooks in display and video ads.

There’s no doubt that display and video are the future: 50% of the Display Advertising spend in the US is on video ads, and more than 80% of display ads are traded programmatically.

Programmatic ads eliminate the lengthy process of negotiating for advertising space and instead utilizes software technology to purchase ads.

If you’re looking for the best programmatic advertising experts, look no further. We combine the best of both worlds: cutting-edge technology and human expertise.

Are you interested in advertising on a new platform?

BEFORE YOU GO…

What Have We Learned?

Gaming has become widely popular due to smartphone and tablets. 64% of Americans aged 13-65 play video games and due to COVID-19, people have had more time on their hands to game more. As a result, in-game advertising revenues grew by 59%!

Gamers are no longer a stereotype. Women make up 49% of the gamer demographic and are more likely to spend more on games. The average age for female gamers is 37 years old who are financially independent and have high purchasing power. It is an underserved market for advertisers.

Mobile games make up 50% of the gaming market’s revenue. In-app ads tend to have an effective Click Through Rate, which we recommend as a monetization strategy.

Twitch is an Amazon-owned livestream platform that has 15 million daily active users. Streamers broadcast themselves playing games, and viewers can communicate in the chatbox in real-time. Audiences are highly engaged, and it’s an excellent platform to raise brand awareness.

Youtube has a huge gaming community online. In-stream ads are a great option.

eSports is a huge phenomenon that connects people from all over the world. eSports events can have millions tune in, so it is also an advertising opportunity to explore.

Most ads for gamers will be in the form of Display or video. It’s vital to be visually-grabbing. Most display ads are traded programmatically, which is the future.

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