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The New Frontier in Digital Marketing: Gaming

Written by Glenda Wynyard

When we think of digital marketing, our minds often jump to social media platforms, search engines, and display ads. However, there's an ageless and rapidly growing channel that has been quietly gaining momentum in recent years – gaming.

Gaming, once seen as a niche activity for a specific demographic, has transformed into a sprawling landscape of opportunities for brands to connect with diverse audiences through in-game advertising, partnerships, and even the creation of the games themselves.

Let’s unlock the power of this multilevel, multiplayer, multi-executional digital marketing platform.

But first, if you want a background on In-game advertising (IGA), click here.

#1 Gaming’s not just for basement-dwelling teens

The gaming world isn't confined to a specific demographic anymore. A staggering 86% of global internet users have gamed on some device in the past month. From teenagers to those in their golden years, gaming spans generations and crosses demographics. In fact, older age groups are more involved in gaming than you might think, rivalling the readership of online magazines and viewership of video-on-demand services.

#2 A new generation of influencers have arrived

Gaming influencers are more than just players; they are trusted community leaders. Content creators in the gaming ecosystem have cultivated passionate fandoms, presenting unique opportunities for brand partnerships. Gaming influencers especially resonate with Gen Z, which is why they’re a prime target for many brands and can be effectively engaged through gaming. The key lies in relevance, authenticity, and collaboration rather than control.

#3 Brands are now playing the game

The integration of brands into game plots and characters has proven to be a potent tool for driving brand awareness. Research demonstrates that brands integrated into a game's narrative are remembered and recognized more frequently than those relegated to static billboards. This fusion of brand and story creates a more immersive experience that resonates with gamers.

#4 Gaming embraces diversity

The gaming audience is diverse, composed of casual, mainstream, and power players. Casual gamers, who don't always identify as gamers, make up around 39% of all gamers. This segment boasts higher household incomes and is an attractive target for brands. Surprisingly, casual mobile gamers are 50% female, providing a unique avenue for female-focused advertising.

Women are significantly driving the growth of the gaming market. Preferences differ slightly, with women favouring single-player gaming and showing hesitancy towards online multiplayer modes. Brands targeting female gamers are tapping into a powerful demographic that is receptive to advertising and influential in their social circles.

#5 A new type of social media platform is here

Gaming has evolved into a thriving social platform. Over 43% of gamers worldwide have played games with real-life friends online in the past month. Live gaming streams attract a massive audience, and gamers frequently share their gameplay experiences online. Far from being solitary, gaming is now a medium for social interaction, with players connecting via voice and text chats.

Safe to say, the gaming world is no longer a niche subculture – it's a thriving ecosystem with untapped potential for brands. The diverse audience, the rise of female gamers, and the evolving social nature of gaming all contribute to a rich landscape for digital marketing. Brands that embrace gaming's unique dynamics and engage authentically with gamers stand to unlock unprecedented opportunities for growth. So, let's level up our marketing strategies and step into the virtual world where the possibilities are boundless.

About In-game advertising

In-game advertising (IGA) is where the virtual world and real-life brands collide and is the digital marketing realm's latest playground. It comes in two primary flavours: static and dynamic. Static ads are the virtual equivalent of billboards or product placements. Once placed in a game, they remain unaltered. Dynamic ads, on the other hand, are served dynamically into predetermined locations, allowing for targeted customization based on factors like geographic location, time of day, age, and gender. This flexibility brings efficiency and campaign precision to a whole new level.

eSports, the competitive multiplayer video gaming world, has blossomed into a mainstream spectacle. Online streaming platforms and offline events draw in spectators from all corners of the globe. It's not just about the gameplay; it's about the drama, the camaraderie, and the sheer thrill of watching skilled players battle it out. eSports opens up a vast arena for brands to engage with their target audience through sponsorships, collaborations, and advertising during these events, making competition a digital marketing phenomenon.

When we speak about gaming video content (GVC), we’re referring to the multifaceted domain that encompasses eSports, live game streaming, and gaming-related video on demand. Platforms like Twitch, owned by Amazon, are hubs for video game live streaming, including eSports competitions. This universe of possibilities offers advertising opportunities ranging from pre, mid, and post-roll videos to sponsorships and host-read ads.

Mobile gaming, the darling of gaming's new age, has democratised the gaming experience. Free-to-play games, backed by ads and supplemented by in-app purchases, offer a win-win for both gamers and publishers. Ad formats like videos, banners, and native ads are skilfully integrated into the mobile gaming landscape, while reward-based videos create a seamless symbiosis between entertainment and promotion.

Okay, so now our gaming context and knowledge is up to date, let’s get to how we can best utilise the latest tool in our digital marketing toolbelt.

This article is part of a series following the topics covered on our podcast, Pending Approval. Glenda Wynyard is the Managing Director of The Media Precinct and host of the Pending Approval podcast. She draws on her wealth of experience in advertising to bring you key ideas from the topics covered in the show. Get these tips and all the podcast news, straight to your inbox.

Tags: GWsFastFive

Transcript - Pending Approval Ep 26: Game on with Adam Fischer


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