The Covid-19 outbreak propelled gaming to a whole new level in 2020 and, as a result, the face of gaming is changing faster than ever. Mobile players of the moment are younger and more social, unlocking a host of new and varied opportunities in mobile gaming for brands.
In a new podcast hosted by Chris Sutcliffe, editor of The Drum Network, Facebook Gaming’s EMEA head of marketing, Tim Lion and Natalia Vasilyeva, the vice-president of marketing at in-game advertising platform Anzu, explore where the biggest opportunities for gamers are emerging and how marketers can level up.
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The experts discuss Facebook Gaming’s new Games Marketing Insights for 2021 report, which taps into 13,246 self-reporting gamers across nine markets (the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Brazil) to understand changing player behaviour, demographics, motivations, preferences and spending habits across this new media channel.
It found that the mobile gaming audience in the UK grew by 50% since the first peak of the pandemic, while in the US it climbed 30% and in Germany by 25%. Across these three markets plus Korea combined, over 50 million people reported being new to mobile gaming. This new cohort of gamers skewed considerably younger, with interests in core genres and a higher propensity to spend.
“The gaming industry has been accelerated by Covid-19, but marketers are still a bit afraid of tapping into gaming; some still think of teenagers with no purchase power, playing in their backyards and not part of that audience that brand advertisers want to talk to,” says Vasilyeva. “But the gamer audience is super versatile, it’s growing. They have a lot of purchasing power, are willing to spend time on games and are open to communicating with brands within this ecosystem.”
Unleashing gaming’s creative potential
The creative opportunities for in-app or in-game advertising are vast, but the responsibility lies with advertisers to make good creative and give gamers a genuine value exchange.
“If you’re going to have someone sit through an ad, the creative has to be thoughtful and there is an opportunity for more diverse ads suited to the huge variety of gamers – based on who they are and why they play,” says Lion.
The podcast goes on to discuss the considerable growth in social play and the willingness and value of gaming as a social connection – not just in the game itself, but the way people interact and how they identify within games. This presents creative opportunities for brands to reach those diverse audiences, their propensity for genre and motivations for playing make them a highly engaged audience receptive to more diverse ads – which, according to Lion, is a “turnkey solution for games advertisers and other brands to access this market”.
“Gaming as an ecosystem is every marketer’s dream; whatever is not possible in other channels can be tested in gaming,” says Vasilyeva. “Every marketer can find something for themselves in the gaming world. From billboards to video, customised and interactive ads, brands have vast opportunities in the way they can communicate with gamers – and gamers are ready for it.”
You can listen to the podcast above and download the fascinating Games Marketing Insights for 2021 report here. The podcast is also available on Spotify and will be released soon on Google Play and iTunes.