The gaming industry has long been a challenge many marketers have been unable to solve. Gaming marketing has historically been a niche market where revenue is inextricably related to the release dates of big games.
But 2.5 billion people across all demographics are playing games worldwide. So, how do you leverage these audiences and increase your brand’s visibility in the fiercely competitive gaming sector?
The Current Video Game Marketing Scenario
The video game industry has taken a significant leap since the debut of Pong and consumer-ready home gaming consoles in the early 1970s.
Playing video games is now a way of life for people of all ages, thanks to the advanced graphics, reality simulation, and the possibility to connect with millions of other players online.
Nearly 227 million Americans currently play video games, and those between the ages of 18 and 34 account for the major part of this group.
The market for video games is massive worldwide. The industry had a total revenue of $180.3 billion in 2021, up 1.4% from the previous year (source: Newzoo).
What direction will video games take next?
Some industry analysts predict that its global market revenue will surpass $510 billion by 2031 if the sector continues its constant path of progressive growth (source: Fact.Mr).
Gaming is currently regarded as one of the largest industries in the United States due to organic market expansion, improved Internet accessibility, cutting-edge technology development, and higher engagement rates brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The market for video games in the United States alone reached an all-time high of $85.86 billion in 2021, surpassing the previous record of $76.15 billion set in 2020.
Figure 1: The gaming sector is expected to continue growing. Source: Accenture
The Need for Video Game Marketing
Gamers are no longer limited to kids. Millennials and even GenX are part of the group now. They are financially independent people who can spend their money on whatever they like. And a large proportion of males and females play video games. Thus, gender diversity is also at play.
The only way to enter this competitive space is to work on game marketing strategies designed to cater to the exact audience you want to attract from this vast crowd.
Research Your Game’s Target Audience Pre-Launch
With all these benefits to be had, you’ll undoubtedly invest substantial time and money in marketing before releasing your game. Even for modest independent games, marketing takes time.
Your ability to discern what to spend your time and money on will be more effective and efficient if you can judge your target market.
Take Facebook ads as an example. Let’s say you intend to test them out at launch. Failure to hyper-target your advertising efforts based on highly detailed demographic and interest information could cost you a lot of money. Even the superficial difference between shooters and WWII shooters is significant enough to cause you to lose your ad budget.
Before launching your campaign, research your target audience to create the best marketing strategy. This way, you base your marketing approach on accurate player data once you gather real in-game analytics.
Use these three steps to go about identifying your ideal gaming audience:
Make a list of three competitors and build a spreadsheet to store relevant information about their audience
Study your competitors’ marketing. They must be in the same genre, have similar mechanics, be created using the same style or artistic direction, and have comparable pricing or revenue methods.
Do your best with those specifications, even if you cannot discover a precise match (unless you’re creating a clone).
Study and compile the demographics and interests of three games
The players’ age, gender, and race make up their demographics. Interests include things or topics that they are drawn to. Behaviors are the actions people take, whether online or off.
Draft a target audience profile based on data analysis, overlap detection, and identification
You can do this manually to find redundant terms and phrases or use a program like Spokeforge’s Word Counter & Text Analyzer. Best to use a tool as it is easier to see all the overlaps in spreadsheet cells.
Common Video Game Marketing Strategies
Twitch is a live-streaming platform with a sizable user base actively growing. According to Statista, Twitch will grow to 188 million users by 2023. This broad reach makes it a popular platform for gaming companies hoping to interact with passionate gamers. Twitch users are not opposed to ads posted on the network as long as they are relevant and enjoyable. Moreover, the high engagement rates make it simple for brands to inform customers about their products.
Figure 2: Twitch is predicted to reach 188 million viewers in 2023. Source: Statista
Marketers can choose from a variety of ad styles on Twitch. You can advertise in areas like the homepage carousel, homepage headliner, or the Super leaderboard.
Ads are not the only way to connect with gamers on Twitch. You can work with relevant Twitch streamers to broadcast your products to their audience.
The ability to speak to your target audience in a voice they trust makes Twitch influencer marketing one of the best game marketing techniques. Twitch users trust their favorite influencers and are willing to try the things they suggest. The followers will hurry to download your game as soon as their favorite streamer starts broadcasting it so that they can experience the enjoyment.
For marketers and sponsors, gaming and esports are a gold mine. Although many marketers still view them as hype, these channels’ popularity is steadily rising. Four million people watched the League of Legends World Championship in 2021 (It turned out to be the most-watched eSports event of all time).
It takes only a guess what your ROI might be today if you partnered your business with one of the players or teams at this event. Your brand only stands to gain by entering this arena of marketing possibilities. Collaborating with gaming influencers opens up creative avenues for engaging the gaming audience.
Best Social Media Channels To Reach Gamers Via Video Game Marketing Campaigns
It is one of the most effective social media channels for video game marketing. Savvy marketers recognize the featured snippet as ideal real estate for game FAQs, new game content, game trailers, and more.
It’s best for:
- Displaying game trailers and exclusive content
- Distributing information on game updates and new DLCs
- Providing gamers with game advice, lessons, and guidelines in quick content
- Giving gamers an inside peek at new launches
- Collaborating with YouTube influencers to produce new sponsored content
Many gamers use Twitter as a go-to social media platform for quick news updates.
It’s best to share quick information such as:
- Any new updates
- Links to new blogs
- Shoutouts to players or teams
- Fresh DLC content
- Upcoming in-game events
It is a popular platform with gamers for various gaming-related activities, and there are many methods to engage with them there. This is where you establish your gaming audience community.
It’s best for:
- Offering complete information on new game updates or fixes
- Answering questions about the game or product
- Requesting comments about and ideas for improvements
- Researching how players interact with the game
- Gathering gaming-related user-generated content for use in blog or social media posts
Steam has major significance for avid gamers. Take advantage of the opportunity to get in front of players by sharing any game news or updates on Steam. This platform which is essential for game designers and developers
It’s best for:
- Connecting with players on Steam
- Putting out news and updates about games
- Publishing thorough patch notes
- Uploading game manuals
- Posting exclusive content to the Steam Workshop
Creating Discord channels to talk with players about their games is a popular game marketing strategy for game developers, designers, and marketers. Discord is a live chat community, so managing it can seem intimidating, but gamers don’t expect you to reply to every post they make right away.
It’s best for:
- Creating space for players to connect
- Developing a community for your game
- Chatting with gamers in-game
- Sharing ideas and feedback
Gamepedia and Fandom Wikis
A game without a Wiki is incomplete, like a sporting event without announcers. Gamepedia and Fandom are among the most popular online destinations for gamers interested in learning more.
They’re best for:
- Developing knowledge resources to support players in adapting to and grasping specific game mechanics or making plans
- Assisting gamers in filling out gaming wikis for games
- Giving your game brand a more streamlined appearance by including artwork and content
Another popular destination for gamers is Instagram, a visual social media marketing tool. Games are replete with eye-catching graphics, and Instagram is a photo paradise.
It’s best for:
- Posts showing behind-the-scenes images and videos of your studio and crew
- Displaying any outstanding user-generated content
- Showing players characters that are a work-in-progress
- Connecting with Instagram gaming influencers to collaborate on content creation
- Post your experiences from video gaming expos and award ceremonies
If you have the budget, Facebook is a fantastic social media platform to test out paid social media ads. Focus on niche audiences to ensure that you target the gamers you want. You can use similar content on Facebook as well as Instagram. Facebook has active gaming communities, making it an incredible platform to get involved.
It’s best for:
- Joining Groups to engage directly with users and build brand awareness
- Run influencer campaigns to link to your Facebook Shop
- Use Facebook Branded content tool to create transparent content with native content creators
- With Facebook Live, it’s easy to create video content that feels current and authentic. Influencers can share their experiences using your brand’s product or going to a sponsored event
Best Practices To Follow When Marketing To The Gaming Audience
- Create a hook that will appeal to your target demographic as part of your marketing strategy.
- Pick your channels wisely. Each has a separate USP.
- Identify and only target your intended audience.
- There should always be a premium pricing option. Refrain from tricking people into buying anything.
- Instead of simply using the same strategies, experiment with something new.
- As part of your marketing strategy, tell your story, but not all at once.
- Don’t discount conventional media altogether.
- Attempt to attract the most visitors with your campaigns.
- Before reaching out to an influencer, research their audiences well.
Navigating Gaming And Emerging Marketing Mediums With Influencers At The Helm
Marketers shouldn’t merely devote all of their resources to new trends and changes in marketing, but taking incremental steps can pay off.
There are several different and successful video game marketing techniques for attracting gamers. But combining other tactics will always produce better results. Try them all and choose the best fit for your business. Your game marketing efforts will pay off as long as you refrain from trying to persuade players to buy your game via social media and instead concentrate on how to engage with players there. This is why influencers are the best people for the job. Their content delivery is personal and relevant and connects the business to the consumer in a way their audience appreciates and responds to.
To connect with gaming influencers for your brand, check out AtisfyReach. It is an AI-based platform that simplifies influencer marketing tasks like influencer discovery, campaign management, contracts, and payments. All you need to worry about is designing a campaign that will wow your audience and boost your ROI.