Marketing to Gamers: Understanding the Ads They Actually Like to See



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The US is a top gaming market, gaming is a mainstream cultural phenomenon that engages consumers across age and gender gaps, and the IAB Games Committee has concrete data and actionable case studies to back it up.

Susan Borst, Sr. Director of Industry Initiatives at IAB sat down with Rob Grossberg (CEO, TreSensa), Darren Hayden (VP, Client Solutions, Nielsen Sports & Entertainment), and Caitlyn Manfredi (Director, Client Strategy, Twitch) to discuss why gaming is an ideal medium for brand marketers.

Below are some takeaways from the session. To watch the entire talk, plus access more than 100 hours of other SMW events, presentations, and interviews, sign up for SMW Insider.

Here are the key insights from the Nielsen 360 Gaming Report that demonstrate how games provide many benefits for brands.

It’s engaging for a wide range of consumers

Games are attractive content for a multitude of different types of brands because it’s engaging for a wide range of consumers. Hayden points out, “It’s engaging content in a world where we’re talking about content marketing, when we’re talking about metrics, like time spent. It’s also engaging when we’re talking about ‘Is the add viewable or not?’and ‘Can consumers do ad blocking on these ads?’”

Due to the high level of engagement that gaming provides, the number of people that consider themselves a gamer has increased from 58% in 2012 to 62% in 2015. According to Hayden, a reason for this growth is the ability to play on mobile devices, tablets, and computers.

Mobile and 8th generation console gaming time as grown significantly

In the 2012 Nielsen 360 Gaming Report, roughly about 50% of gamers identified that they didn’t play on computers or mobile devices. However, that is no longer the case.

“Traditional and console gamers are continuing to game more on mobile and tablet devices. If you’re playing on mobile devices, you’re spending more time being engaged and playing on games,” shared Hayden.

According to the 2015 Nielsen 360 Gaming Report, the demographics of gamers shift depending on the device. “A console is more of a male demographic vs. female. A mobile or tablet device is a good mix. If you look at the ages, console players tend to be younger and people who are on computers or mobile tablets tend to be older. In addition, about 50% of gamers on mobile devices are 35 or older and 60% on computers are 35 or older.”

Word of mouth is king, but social helps too

Although the best way to get consumers connected is through word of mouth, social media is very popular as well. The platform that a marketer would choose to use in order to promote a game depends on the demographic they are trying to target.

“The app store is the best way to connect with folks who are on mobile or tablet. As far as content, Youtube is the dominant player for gamers and it varies a little bit by teen gamers and adult gamers. About 80% of teen gamers are following gaming content on Youtube whereas about 60% of adults are,” says Raymond.

The Nielsen report also shows that 84% of gamers choose Facebook as their main platform, followed by Twitter and Instagram which has 45% of gamers.

Constant innovation and category expansion

E sports and Virtual Reality have expanded the gaming category in both interest and involvement. According to Raymond, E-sports have been taking off. “There are colleges where they have E-sports teams where they compete against each other. There’s also category expansion with the implementation of VR in gaming.”

As for the future of the gaming industry, Raymond says “It remains unseen how far it’s going to grow and how we’ll be defining it in the future. It’s going to really change in the next few years.”

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