TikTok gaming is booming. Traditionally YouTube and Twitch are the first social media/entertainment platforms that come to mind when we picture the gaming industry, but with 82% of TikTok users playing games at least once a week, it’s no surprise that the vertical has started to gain traction on TikTok.
How does TikTok rank among its competitors? And what steps can brands take to tap into the gaming industry using TikTok?
Let’s find out.
What is TikTok Gaming?
When you think of the gaming landscape across social, which platforms come to mind? Twitch and YouTube are probably the most popular, but what about TikTok?
Well, gaming on TikTok is rather popular, too. Roughly 50% of TikTok’s billion daily active users viewed some form of gaming content in 2022.
A typical TikTok user, with an interest in gaming, might scroll the For You page to find live gaming content, clips from their favorite gaming creators, reviews and inspiration for gaming equipment, and much more.
TikTok cultivates its gaming community with unique events that encourage participation from creators, brands, and everyday users. Take ‘TikTok Made Me Play It’ for example. TikTok’s first ever global gaming event brought together the most popular gaming creators, and brands, to highlight the scale of gaming on TIkTok.
More recently, TikTok launched the #30DaysofGaming initiative. Celebrating the platform’s gaming community throughout June, the campaign showcased TikTok Live’s gaming capabilities, the industry’s top events, new CapCut templates and features, and more.
Users searching #GamingonTikTok could keep up with all things gaming throughout the month, adding their voice to the conversation by using the hashtag in their own content.
TikTok Gaming Features
Hashtags and Challenges: TikTok users often participate in gaming-related challenges and use specific hashtags to connect with others who share their interests. These challenges could range from showcasing in-game accomplishments to recreating famous gaming moments.
Shortened Gameplay Clips: Users can upload short gameplay clips to showcase their skills, funny moments, or impressive achievements. These clips are often set to music and can include various editing effects to make them more engaging.
Influencer Content: Gaming influencers on TikTok create content that includes game reviews, recommendations, gameplay commentary, and more. These influencers use their unique styles and personalities to connect with their followers.
TikTok LIVE: TikTok’s live streaming feature enables gamers to interact with their audience in real-time. Gamers can live stream their gameplay, answer questions, and engage with viewers through comments and virtual gifts.
Game-Related Challenges: TikTok occasionally collaborates with game developers to introduce challenges related to specific games. These challenges encourage users to engage with the game in creative ways and share their experiences on the platform.
Esports and Competitive Gaming: TikTok has shown interest in the esports and competitive gaming scene by featuring highlights and exciting moments from esports tournaments and events.
TikTok Gaming Vs Established Social Gaming Channels
TikTok Vs Twitch
TikTok is fully focused on short-form, vertical swipe video content. While it is not primarily a gaming platform, TikTok has gained traction within the gaming community due to its diverse user base, and easily digestible content.
Twitch is built around live content, making it one of the best platforms for reaching audiences in real-time. Though Twitch has started to branch away from a pure gaming focus, the vertical remains at its core.
But, which platform is better?
TikTok has some of the best tools for discovery of any platform available today. Creators also have the freedom to create a variety of content like short-form videos, text posts, stories, and live streams – unlike Twitch which until recently has been strapped to its live only formula.
Streams on TikTok, however, leave audiences wanting more. Their appearance in the vertical format is fine for mobile consumption, but horrible for those on PC.
Discoverability leans in TikTok’s favor. Twitch has very few tools that enable discovery and instead relies on streamers to drive people from other platforms over to watch their live broadcasts. TikTok has a sophisticated algorithm that does a great job of placing content in front of the people that are most interested. Fans of Call of Duty, who regularly engage with content from the vertical, and follow accounts that post this sort of content, are bound to receive more of this content in their For You page. If a user likes a certain creator, they can access their channel and watch their livestream, or they can scroll through live streams on TikTok until they find one they like.
Both Twitch and TikTok offer the same max stream quality, which is 1080p at 60 frames-per-second. Twitch has a better user interface and user experience, though. TikTok streams are intended for mobile use, which means if you’re watching via PC the viewing experience will likely be poor.
TikTok also has subscriber and follower buttons too, as well as emotes and sub badges just like Twitch has.
If you are to only stream on one platform, then you should stream on Twitch, since it is dedicated to live content. However, TikTok gaming offers some unique attributes for gamers and brands that are looking to grow within the vertical – for content outside of live broadcasting, TikTok is the best option.
TikTok Vs YouTube
TikTok gaming versus YouTube gaming depends on various factors, and your goals as a brand or content creator.
YouTube is known for its longer video formats, which are great for gamers who want to publish walkthroughs, tutorials, in-depth discussions, and other types of gaming content that require more time to explore. TikTok revolves around short-form video, so these topics can be hard to convey in a short space of time. What TikTok is great for is creating content around gaming highlights, funny moments, and visually engaging content that captures viewers’ attention quickly. It’s worth noting that YouTube offers this too, with its own short-form, vertical swipe video feed, YouTube Shorts.
In terms of search and discovery, both platforms have a case to argue. TikTok has strengthened its search capacity over the last year, after it was revealed that 40% of Gen Z use TikTok as a search engine. While this is a great feat, YouTube still comes out on top. YouTube’s search and recommendation algorithms are well-established, which makes it easier for viewers to find the exact content they’re looking for. While we’re touching on algorithms, TikTok can help lead to rapid vitality, more so than on YouTube. Hitting the algorithm at the right time, with the right content could help reach a wide audience quickly, a great advantage for growing a following rapidly.
YouTube content requires more production, and there is an expectation for higher quality. With YouTube, the creator wants the audience to be seated for the next 10, 20 or 60 minutes. On TikTok, the content revolves much more around trends, conveyed through bitesize, easily digestible clips. Tapping into trends on TikTok can encourage participation amongst wider audiences, which aids in more traffic and visibility.
If you’re wanting to tap into a younger demographic, using trends, short form video, and rapid vitality to grow a following, then TikTok is the best option. For higher quality, bigger production value content, where brand messaging is spread across longer videos, YouTube is the better option.
Ultimately, the choice between YouTube and TikTok gaming depends entirely on content style, target audience, goals, and preferences. Perhaps a strategy that involves both platforms works? Experiment, analyze results, and adjust the strategy to find what works.
4 Tips for Brands Before Using TikTok Gaming
As a brand, exploring TikTok gaming can be an engaging way to connect with a younger and more dynamic audience. Here are some tips to help effectively use TikTok for gaming:
- Participate in trends
Keep an eye on the gaming space on TikTok, follow hashtags, engage with videos, and keep an ear to the ground. Doing so will help to understand what’s trending, and which challenges might be viable to participate in. Participating in popular trends and challenges can help gain visibility and engagement.
- Showcase gameplay
Captured something funny, or a great moment to highlight? These clips are perfect for TikTok, and can grab viewers’ attention, encouraging them to explore more about what you have to offer. Consider collating the best clips using Series, a playlist-like feature that enables audiences to engage with selected videos.
- Collaborate with gaming influencers
Like Twitch and YouTube, TikTok has its own native gaming creators, as well as those that have migrated from other social platforms. Partnering with these creators, and leveraging their creativity and audience engagement, can help to reach a wider audience.
- Choose your sound
Nailing the sound or audio can be just as important as nailing the visuals on TikTok. Music and audio play a significant role in matching the mood and vibe of your content to an audience that’s interested.
It’s important to remember that TikTok is a creative and dynamic platform. Brands can benefit from experimenting and trying new things using the feedback received from the TikTok gaming community.
A successful example of a TikTok gaming campaign
This campaign is a best-in-class example of brands looking to reach a gaming audience by activating creators outside of the traditional gaming stereotypes… and that’s not just because we were the brains behind it.
For the relaunch of Deep Silver’s Saints Row we worked with some of the UK’s top YouTubers entertainers including GeorgeM (Memeulous), Josh & Archie, and Yiannimize. In the content, we had our creators jumping out of planes, recreating a Saints Row themed car IRL and even hacking the UK music charts.
The campaign drove 12 million impressions, 15,000 clicks, 9.2 million video views, over-performing our deliverables by 124%, and helping Saints Row attract more than a million players in the first three months.
We used TikTok to drive hype around the game, focusing on the character customization feature. Using #BeYourOwnBoss, our creators set out to build their character. Tapping into various popular trends, one influencer published a get ready with me (GRWM) clip, and another created a makeup style, bringing the Saints Row themes out of the virtual world and into the real one.
Concluding thoughts – Assessing The Gaming Market Competitiveness of TikTok
The gaming landscape across social media is incredibly competitive. While each platform harbors its own unique features, and audiences, is it right to work exclusively from just one platform?
TikTok for gaming offers something a little different from its competitors, and ultimately an alternative method for brands to tap into the gamerverse. Rather than pitting TikTok against the likes of YouTube and Twitch, consider using the platforms interchangeably. For example, Twitch is great for live streaming but has little capacity for anything else, YouTube is great for longer, more in-depth content, and while it does have YouTube Shorts, short-form is not its bread and butter. Using TikTok in tandem with YouTube and Twitch enables brands to tap into three different areas, with varying content formats and diverse audiences.
Are you a brand looking to tap into the gaming sector using TikTok? We’re a global social media agency with expertise in TikTok marketing. We help brands to reach new audiences, capture attention, grow their accounts, and drive conversions through organic, paid and influencer strategies. Get in touch to find out how we can help!