There are a lot of things that people think they know about marketing to gamers. Forget all of it. The gaming world is a lot more like the mainstream world than most would think. There is a large amount of both men and women, as well as many different interests and categories. This can make for an incredibly diverse, yet niche audience. The complexity that comes with a melting pot like gaming is hard to fully grasp. So here are some common misconceptions you should unlearn.
There are many ideas out there about the gamer demographic that are flat out wrong. Let’s go through a few and get to the truth of it.
There is one singular gamer demographic: As previously mentioned, there are currently 2.3 billion people that make up the video gaming marketing audience. There is no one profile that can encompass many people. It’s important to understand that there are even more game genres as there are book genres. Books have sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, murder mystery and more. Games have role-playing, first-person shooters, platformers, scrollers, racing, puzzles, etc; then added on top of that are stories of all shapes and sizes that justify each action and these two levels are combined in every possible way in gaming.
- Gamers are children: According to Statista most gamers are 18-35 years old. In fact, 23% of gamers are 50 years of age and older. This isn’t to say that children do not play video games. They do. Here is the 2018 Statista gamer distribution:
- Gamers are men: Almost half of the gamers in the US are women and the statistic seems to only be growing. Here is a gender distribution from Statista showing 2006-2018.
- Gamers are secluded introverts: According to Yahoo! Small Business, gamers are intricately interwoven and over 60% play together both in-person and digitally. With live chats, streamers, game commentators, the ever-growing world of esports, and plain old multiplayer games the idea of the loner gamer has passed its expiration date.
- Games are played on consoles: Consoles are gaming devices that either plug-into TVs or are their own handheld device. However, there is also PC gaming which is done online through PC computers, as well as mobile gaming which are just as popular—in fact, they’re more popular. Check out this gaming platform distribution for 2019 from Statista.
Plus, most gamers play on any and every platform they can get their hands on.
When getting into video game marketing, you have to be genuine. While brands need to be genuine to achieve their goals in all areas, in gaming it works a little differently. Andy Fairclough and Rhian Mason of The Drum said it best, “Gamers can smell bullshit a mile off” don’t just try to tack on a gaming audience. Gamers are used to interactive, engaging media on a level that can’t even be matched by social users. You have to earn their attention genuinely—and here’s the catch—that’s genuine to who you are rather than who you think consumers will listen to.
If there’s one thing Gamers value it’s being absolutely yourself, whoever that is, whether or not you think that’s who they want you to be. If you have an established brand you should stay true to it when marketing to gamers. They do their research; they’ll see right through pandering and they like to talk. The moment your voice is “debunked” by a gamer it will be all over every forum, your campaign will be dead in the water. Do not change who you are to appeal to gamers, use the same message—your message—in a different way on the right channel. How and where is integral as well. Unless your product is a game do not base your campaign on game marketing. Gamers don’t like being tricked or yanked on. They’ll hate this tactic just as much as personality falsities.
3. One-sided advertising
Be in the conversation, not just near it. Gamers are all about interactive media, speaking at them rather than with them is a huge oversight. When entering the conversation, remember the advice above, be genuine. If you’re not sure your branding is the right fit, then influencers can make all the difference. Gamers love live streamers on YouTube and Twitch or the expert teams leading the esports charts. Find the type of gamers you are looking to reach out to then reach out to their influencers. If you want your video game marketing communications to be more direct there’s Reddit where you can find existing game threads and join them as well as gaming platforms with plenty of opportunities to interact with gamers such as mobile game apps and Steam for PC players.
If you’re looking to market your products or services to gamers, find advertising experts that understand video game marketing, that know the stereotypes are outdated, falsities will get you nowhere, and that all brand communications should be customized, grassroots, interacted, or a combination thereof. The gaming world is multi-faceted and takes a lot of research and expertise to excel in.
Get a video game marketing agency that understands each market segment within the gaming industry to effectively promote your product or services. Our team knows the minutiae of the gaming world like the back of their hands. Reach out when you’re ready to plug-in.Back to Thinking