The gaming landscape is set for an innovative 2023 and media plans should start to evolve with it. Spanning a plethora of audience touchpoints both through gaming devices and various streaming platforms, there is a lot of space to test and explore. Brent Koning, dentsu’s Executive Vice President and global gaming lead explains in a Digiday interview that when gaming is embedded into the media plan, rather than having a separate, disconnected gaming plan from the rest of the marketing strategy, “Companies and brands will succeed because their consumers will see that authenticity come through.”
A common misconception for brands is the need to dive headfirst into the Metaverse to achieve attention with gamers, which may not necessarily appeal to the audience they are looking to target. It is all about being in the right contextual environment and platform to draw on the capability to optimise ads in real time and differentiate from the competition. This year, in-game will also become the go-to business model for many more game developers, providing advertisers with even more exciting gaming inventory to plug into, according to The Drum. An example of in-game advertising comes from Burberry’s virtual world, created in partnership with Minecraft. This partnership was able to bring Burberry into the gaming sphere whilst drawing consumers to their in-store experiences and physical collection.
Streaming gameplay on the other hand, often derives from consumers need for escapism. This can range from engaging with their favourite streamer to watching sports most established events in the real world, for example the 24 hours of Le Mans taking on the virtual world of eSports. By 2030 viewership will be dominated by young adults, fast becoming known as “Generation Twitch”, amounting to a value of almost $33 trillion* according to Campaign. Recently, Merkle utilised Twitch to drive a smart lighting brand into the gaming scene through unlocking the full potential of Twitch’s contextual relevance and current events products. Launching in Q4 meant moments such as the World Cup alongside FIFA 23, Black Friday and Cyber Monday attributed to 107% impressions, exceeding expectations. To further capitalise on this space, the brand is now looking at expanding into further gaming territory such as Reddit.
As discussed in dentsu’s gaming report ‘the participatory nature of gaming, as a player, a viewer, or in any other way, is a key attraction for people to get into gaming and join fandom’, setting the gaming community apart from others. The common perception is that gaming is just a Gen Z activity, but in fact the percentage of gamers aged 55-64 grew by 32% in the past two years according to the latest GWI study. As brands look to understand how to best reach and engage with gamers, they need to start by understanding the different types of gamers. Blizzard delve into this, identifying six personas, from ‘The super swipers’ all the way to ‘The next leveller’. Inclusivity within gaming is also changing, driving a positive change for consumers and brands alike with learnings becoming comprehensive on DEI in gaming. Dedicating time towards DEI produces a comfortable advertising space for brands to talk on topics revolving around it, especially with Gaming's heavy online presence. This is further explored by Campaign who highlight how FIFA has included female footballers in its game, with the FIFA 23 Ultimate Edition featuring female players on its front cover, and Call of Duty now gives players the option to choose LGBTQ+ flags for their profiles.
The rise of gaming culture is a chance for brands to test and learn in the space, focusing on opportunities to reach consumers in a new environment and creating a chance to create a halo effect on other channels.