Much has been said and written about how brands should court the elusive “gamer” audience, and with good reason. According to gaming research company Newzoo, in 2019, Asia Pacific comprised 47% of the global revenue for games, driven by gamer population size and a propensity for spending on games, whether they are built for high-end PCs or everyday mobile phones.
As gamers continue to grow in numbers and purchasing power, this target audience has key attributes that make it a priority for brands courting them.
First, gamers are engaged and passionate. Gamers play games for one of the most interactive forms of entertainment, investing time and effort into their favorite games. According to an online gaming survey conducted last year by Limelight Networks, everyday respondents in Singapore alone played an average of more than 7 hours per week, and watching others play games surpassed their consumption of traditional physical sports.
Second, gamers exert economic influence. A Fullscreen/Rooster Teeth/Magid study found that power gamers — those playing more than 10 hours a week had more than 2x the discretionary income as non-gamers. To spend this discretionary income, gamers are looking for brands that reflect their identity and lifestyle, and that cater to them as an audience.
In order to court them, brands need to find where gamers are spending their time when not in-game, and must make themselves relevant and valuable to gamers in the ways that gamers are looking for.
In response to COVID-19, these factors are only increasing. Due to nationwide lockdowns and social distancing measures introduced by countries around the region, people have been going online to stay connected, along with fulfilling a range of other need states — research saw a 45% increase in APAC consumers playing mobile games once a day. Additionally, with other modes of entertainment like movies and sports leagues seeing decreased activity, gamers may have more income to spend than ever.
Now, as even more people turn to gaming during lockdowns and social distancing measures, brands are entering a perfect time to reach this fertile audience. In order to court them, brands need to find where gamers are spending their time when not in-game, and must make themselves relevant and valuable to gamers in the ways that gamers are looking for.
With 62% of gamers in APAC using Twitter constantly or multiple times a day, as well as a 55% increase to 247 million gaming-related Tweets over the same period in 2019, we have a front seat to gaming’s rise, and key learnings that brands can benefit from.
Just as gamers run the spectrum from casual mobile gamers to dedicated high-end PC gamers, gamers on Twitter comprise a range of different motivations and interests — and as such, a range of different engagement strategies can be used to reach them.
One interesting finding that has helped us to parse the APAC gaming community on Twitter is the group’s motivations for gaming. For example, 60% of Twitter account holders in the Philippines depend on video games to help them pass time, while only a third of Indians consider gaming to do the same. Just as important as gamer type, gender, and other criteria that we typically use to help categorise gamers, motivation is an important factor to consider.
Our analysis found three core need states driving people to gaming in APAC:
While these need states represent a snapshot of an ecosystem — and broader world-in flux, they provide a useful look into what some of the drivers of gaming can be, and how brands can begin to develop campaigns that address these in compelling ways.
If you tune in to any esports broadcast — or watch any highlight clip for mere minutes, non-gamers will hear terms that sound foreign to them. Gamers have established their own culture and lingo, encompassing gaming terms and phrases, shared lore from headlines and titles past, and an ever-expanding meme and slang language. Understanding your specific target audience’s language and what topics are important in this language is the first step to effectively communicate here.
Brands who can understand the distinct characteristics of their target audience will be better able to create content that will resonate with them. Whether it’s brands that have a natural tie to gamers.
30/30 vision confirmed ?? https://t.co/i12rSp0tQ7
— G FUEL® (@GFuelEnergy) June 17, 2020
Or brands that have only the loosest connection to gamers:
Warzone moment of the year right here https://t.co/iZkCIVbxrR
— Doritos (@Doritos) May 29, 2020
We’ve watched connections be built by starting with language that gamers are familiar with.
If you’re worried about learning how to speak like a gamer, you can always lean on data. “Non-framed” thoughts are a helpful way to understand what people really feel and say on topics, unprompted, and these can be used to help understand your audience. Social data is a prime source for these non-framed thoughts, meaning the more that gamers communicate on a platform — such as Twitter — the more you can accurately inform your strategy.
Twitter is a valuable platform for brands to communicate and interact with gamers. Our findings show that 48% of APAC gamers on Twitter follow brands, showing clear interest in receiving communication from brands in their daily experience. More importantly, 91% of APAC gamers on Twitter want to see more from gaming brands, exemplifying this fertile audience that we’ve been discussing here.
When considering this interest in the context of this audience that’s more at-home, connected, and influential than ever before, the opportunity for brands is apparent and immediate.
Just as world events change our circumstances every day, the gaming landscape will continue to shift. What comprises a good strategy in this climate will change, and may even change substantially as gaming reacts to the shifts around it.
For example, one element that we haven’t unpacked here is game shows. These events — along with console launches and product keynotes — were historically reliable for massive turnouts of tens of thousands of people, or millions of eyeballs, and enormous brand activations and campaigns.
The best brands on Twitter successfully leveraged these huge moments in the spotlight to maintain relevance with their audiences, and speak to gamers even during some of the most news-heavy moments of the year. However, in the post-COVID-19 landscape, it’s unclear what these will look like; while the excitement for each new console or title will continue to grow every time, engaging gamers savvily in this unprecedented territory will take a careful analysis of real-world factors and well-developed strategy to match.
But right now, the opportunity is knocking, and brands should not wait. Gamers are an active, engaged, and ready audience, and looking for ways to engage with brands that are speaking to them. Those who invest the time and resources into getting to know this special audience will be rewarded with valuable connections.
Though gaming may appear complex and intimidating to the uninitiated, if brands truly want to learn more about this unique segment, Twitter might just be the place to start.
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