The gaming industry was represented at this year’s Advertising Week with companies like Twitch and Rooster Teeth listed as corporate partners and sessions devoted to pitching gamers to advertisers as a lucrative demographic. I attended a session called: Revealing the Modern Gamer: She is not who you think he is, which focused on a new study from Fullscreen that shatters the myth that a gamer is still the teen boy in the basement. In fact, the research found half of “power gamers” are parents. Power gamers play games on a PC or console 10 hours or more a week. Women now make up 33 percent of power gamers and they also happen to be diverse – 19 percent identify as Hispanic and 33 percent as African American. Oh, and they spend lots of money. But beyond gamers’ discretionary income (which is twice as much as non-gamers), the panel shared other characteristics that make gamers a desirable audience.
Gamers Are Creators
Not only are gamers “creators” in that they produce and host streams on Twitch and YouTube, but they are creating graphics and memes that influence the larger culture. They are tastemakers and innovators. Whether it’s Fortnight dances on YouTube, or creating new games and raising money on crowdfunding sites to produce them, gamers are prolific content creators. Their primary channel, Twitch, is now as big as cable channels like ESPN, reaching one million viewers at any time.
But…They Are Tricky to Reach
Ming-Chin Wu, who is the marketing manager for HP’s OMEN gaming computers, shared what she learned as a newcomer to this space. She characterized gamers as “skeptical and tightknit,” and talked about having to build trust and credibility in the space with authentic integrations.
For example, HP partners with professional players to create “lesson plans” that add value by helping gamers improve their gameplay. Wu views her work as a “long-term” effort to integrate within the fabric of the community.
You Can Reach Them Though. Here Are Some Tips!
Panelists offered a lightening round of do’s and don’ts for reaching this hard-to-reach audience. Do remember, gamers are here to have fun – so make your ads and promos fun, too. Don’t be uptight. Don’t pander.
Do know the “Super Bowl moments” of gaming (when big games are launching, E3 and other big gaming conventions, etc.). Do tailor your promotions – there are different subcultures within gaming with different tastes and motivations. Sports gamers are different than role playing gamers.
My main takeaway: Any brand or organization wanting to reach creators and influence culture should have a gaming strategy – and commit to it for the long term.