Gaming and marketing have both changed unrecognisably over the past decade or so. Games are more complex, with increasingly intricate storylines and worldwide scope. Marketing has become a completely new ballgame since the advent of the internet and the spread of the now-ubiquitous smartphone. So how do you bring these two new worlds together and create an effective games marketing strategy?
SO, HOW DO YOU
MARKET TO GAMERS?
SO, HOW DO YOU MARKET TO GAMERS?
SO, HOW DO YOU MARKET TO GAMERS?
Due to the hyper competitive market, it is crucial, now more than ever, for games marketing to be effective. Over 2.3 billion people across the globe, from all demographics, say that they game on a regular basis, and consumer spending has reached $19.5 billion worldwide.
According to an EY study, 77% of marketing executives said that the influx of new games and titles are making competition even fiercer, so effective marketing will have to try something different to stand out from the crowd.
To effectively promote your game, you’re going to need a new approach, and the best way to do this is to understand the gamers you’re trying to market to.
Gamers are notoriously loyal to certain games, especially if the game allows them to create and develop a digital community within the game and its players. This sense of community is something that games marketers can capitalise on.
Do research into the ways gamers communicate with each other, and the way they find new games. By understanding their habits and the platforms they use, it will be easier to promote your game in an environment of potential customers that are already interested in video gaming. Sounds good, right? But first, you need to understand where gamers spend their time.
WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA DO
Social media is an intrinsic part of creating and developing gaming communities, and there are two types that are important; video content and community.
By understanding the groups of people that use these different types of social media and streaming content, your games marketing strategy can gain an edge over the competition.
Video content is king. It may seem counter-intuitive, but nearly half of all video gamers say that they spend more time watching people play games than playing games themselves. This is aided by the rise of gaming influencers; players whose video content is so popular they have amassed millions of devoted followers.
This is one of the largest platforms for streaming video game content, and where many gaming influencers interact with their followers. Gamers watched over nine billion hours of content on the platform in 2018.
Relatively new to the market, this Microsoft-owned platform is set to grow to rival Twitch. This is because two of the top gaming influencers on Twitch (Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek and Tyler “Ninja” Blevins) moved their content – and likely their millions of followers as well – to Mixer after signing exclusive deals with the platform.
Moving away from video content and looking at communities, Reddit is one of the most active online gaming forums. The r/Gaming subreddit has 26.2 million members who give and receive advice, share memes and create a welcoming community around a shared love of gaming.
An extremely popular communication tool for gamers, voice and text app Discord targets the gaming community and makes it easy to communicate hands free while playing games, and can be used to create communities dedicated to specific games or game genres.
HOW DO YOU TARGET A GAMER?
The first step is understanding the type of gamer you are trying to target. Historically, games marketing has focused almost exclusively on young males. This resulted in a one size fits all kind of marketing that hasn’t developed as the market changed, resulting in a less effective games marketing strategy.
In fact, the ESA found that in 2018 the average gamer in the US was 35 years old and that 45% of gamers are women – stereotypical gamers do not exist in the same way they once did, meaning you’ll have to carefully consider what type of audience you want to target.
Games marketers have often turned to television adverts, but this is no longer an effective solution. Live television viewing has been decreasing year on year across all demographics in the UK, but this is far more pronounced in children and young people, who spend their time streaming content on the internet instead. The broad approach of television advertising means it will have a very small conversion rate, especially if your target market is below 35 years old.
Unlike other marketers, we innovate, we follow the market and we change with it. That’s why we focus on influencer marketing for gaming. Influencers have two main – and crucial – advantages to traditional types of marketing. First, they have a direct line of contact with your target market, and second, they already have the trust of their followers, who will listen to their opinion.
Don’t take our word for it though; here are some case studies where we used influencer marketing to great effect.
HOW DO YOU ENGAGE GAMERS?
WHAT DID WE DO?
Using our network of FIFA and football influencers we created engaging content across Instagram and Twitter which led to us selling out our allocation of tickets for the Grand Final.
We also sent four hero influencers to the event itself to vlog their day and make repurposable content for FIFA. We also sent one influencer to fill the role of social media reporter and create bespoke content to be posted directly onto FIFA-owned channels.
The best bits of content were then repurposed across Goat’s extensive network of FIFA and football influencers to drive mass awareness of the event.
Because we used influencers who already had a large following of the target audience, we only had to curate 179 social media posts to gain 4.75 million impressions, nearly 128,000 engagements and 1,268,313 video views. Those 179 posts resulted in 19,535 clicks.
WHAT DID WE DO?
Sports Interactive reallocated their market spending to trial influencers during the launch of their 2018 edition. Using highly-engaged influencers with thousands of followers, we could generate hype and excitement around the launch over a broad reach.
Even after the launch, we used influencer marketing to create a continual buzz around the title, especially throughout Q1 and the Christmas period, ensuring play times remained high months after release.
In preparation for their 2019 launch, Football Manager had undergone a major rebrand. Sports Interactive were so impressed by social media and influencer marketing that they put all their marketing budget into digital and social advertising.
This resulted in a record breaking year for Sports Interactive, with Football Manager breaking multiple first beta night records. Using influencers to keep a continual buzz around the game in preparation for the full game launch meant Sports Interactive recorded their most successful opening week in terms of sales and plays in the game’s history.
For this two-year campaign we used influencers to publish 2,625 posts to over eight million followers, resulting in 136,844 clicks.
It’s clear that moving away from traditional marketing, such as television, and focusing on influencers who have a direct line of contact with the target audience is a great way to see results, fast.
At goat, our innovative approach means less work is needed to create better results. Rather than spending months defining your target audience, and building their trust, we capitalise on influencers, who are your key to promoting your game in the most effective way possible.