Esports and gaming are booming – in fact, it’s hard to find a market that has seen such exponential growth in recent years. Non-endemic brands are beginning to take note of this fact and dip their toes into this competitive but lucrative field, but many do not know where, how and why to invest in esports. We are here to help your brand to understand and explore the gaming and esports marketing world. So, with no further ado, let’s dive into it.
One of the most attractive features of the esports and online gaming market is the large audience that it attracts. In 2020, the most-watched esports event – the 2020 League of Legends (LoL) World Championship – attracted 3.8 million spectators, while esports tournaments overall racked up 139 million hours of viewership. This presents an appealing opportunity for non-endemic brands, who can potentially reach a massive audience with their advertising campaigns.
It is not just spectators who show up in droves, though. The FIFA eWorld Cup Grand Final was held at the O2 Arena in London and saw more than twenty million gamers vying for a spot. Buying advertising space at just one major competition can potentially convert a large swathe of gamers into loyal customers for your company. Similarly, sponsoring a gamer – or, indeed, an event – is an opportunity for consistent publicity for the entire duration of an event.
Another key point to note about the esports audience is that it skews predominantly younger. As keen marketers know, the key 18–34 demographic is a crucial target for most advertising campaigns. It is widely believed that people in this age range possess more disposable income and are less loyal to specific brands, meaning that a well-designed ad campaign can convert them. Since much of the esports audience falls into this category, this represents an enticing target and a major opportunity to build brand awareness among a lucrative customer base.
With these myriad advantages at your fingertips, you may be wondering why more non-endemic brands have not branched out into this flourishing sector. While esports tournaments attract gamers and spectators en masse, many advertisers are still struggling to understand – and thus crack – this market. Of course, the key to success in any market is understanding how it works and who inhabits it and the esports and online gaming markets are no exception. Taking time to research the events that you wish to sponsor, the teams that you want to invest in, and the particular games and esports that you hope to target is an essential first step in your marketing strategy.
The first thing to note is that esports tournaments are a great place to do your research. Reading articles and browsing online is a nice start, but don’t focus only on marketing theories and research – attend an event and start talking to gamers! Gamers and spectators will spend hours at these events and most are happy to chat and get to know one another. Indeed, the world of esports has become a social circle in its own right and the esports audience has become a tight-knit and welcoming community. Introduce yourself, get to know key players and start to build relationships.
Non-endemic brands can sometimes feel like outsiders, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Attending competitions and tourneys is a fantastic way to forge links with the community and establish your reputation as an ally and supporter of all things esports. Fans are passionate about their favourite games and contests and they respond to that same passion in others. Engaging with your target audience and finding out what they like, what they are looking for in a brand and what makes them tick is a fundamental part of any marketing strategy, but online tournaments make this easier than ever. Your audience is right at your fingertips and ready to engage.
One challenge that many brands face when trying to break into the esports market is keeping up with the fast-moving trends that shape it. The hot game of today may fall out of favour next month, while a brand-new title may take centre stage. For non-endemic brands, this can be daunting, since they lack expert knowledge to predict trends or future success. However, this does not need to be an issue.
When establishing yourself within the esports community, adopt an evergreen approach. The brands that achieve the most success in this sector are those that do not link themselves exclusively to one game, one event or one player. Rather, they make a name for themselves as lovers of esports in general, which means that they are not forever tied to the fortunes of one particular title. As trends come and go, they retain their status as a key player within the industry, despite not being a direct player within it.
While these challenges may discourage some, it is important to remember that a vast and dedicated audience awaits non-endemic brands who successfully crack the gaming and esports market. On top of that, they will have access to a fun, engaging and fast-paced community that is growing exponentially year-on-year. Esports and online gaming are the future of entertainment and getting in on the ground floor should be a big part of your future plans too!
See what PLAY, one of the creative brands that trusted inSTREAMLY to help them tap into the gaming and esports world have to say about the challenges and opportunities here:
“The gaming sector, including esports, is one of the fastest-growing areas in the entertainment industry. This is especially visible during the pandemic, which caused many sports to move to the virtual world.
Contrary to popular opinion, consumers of gaming or esports content are not children without purchasing power. According to a Newzoo’s research, the majority of the esports community in the world are people between 20 and 50 years of age, with higher income and willing to make in-game purchases or invest in services and equipment – also mobile. They are also people who strongly identify with the subject of the games they watch or play. The potential is therefore enormous and still worth developing.
So, when it comes to marketing and promotion, it is a great challenge, but also an opportunity for marketers to go beyond the core area of their activity with streamers and esports teams. At the beginning of our journey, it was enough to run branding campaigns with streamers and pro-players to benefit from the growing awareness that a brand’s involvement in gaming gets. Moving forward, the public is becoming more and more demanding, and they follow their streaming idols’ lives also outside esports tournaments and live streams. Esports and game streamers are, therefore, influencers who, apart from playing games, lead an interesting lifestyle to their strong communities. Brands that can realize that streamers are more than gamers and can promote several products or services, will be able to dive into this space in an interesting way to achieve great results. So, from the marketer’s point of view, you should choose partners in such a way that you can rely on them in every situation. Building good relations, but also standards of cooperation is crucial for the success of such an undertaking.”
Working with gaming and esports is something relatively new to most brands and marketers. So, it’s important to partner with reliable companies that are experts in this industry, understand both gamers, esports teams and their strong communities. At inSTREAMLY, we connect creative brands to streamers via innovative and interactive in-stream campaigns that drive your results and ROI up. Get in touch with us and let’s grow with gaming and live streaming together.
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