GroupM’s global data and measurement-driven media agency, Essence, has released a new report that looks to break down gaming in 2020. Titled ‘Gaming in the 2020s: Reach, rewards and the new meditation’, the study aims to help brands understand the full scale of the opportunities in gaming and what they can expect to gain from their efforts.
As per the report, in recent years, the gaming sector had been steadily growing, particularly amongst the marketing community but was yet to become a mainstream consideration. It had neither been seriously appraised for its reach potential nor wholeheartedly embraced as a lever for driving brand connection. The onset of Covid-19 brought with it an enforced focus on home entertainment, with people also spending more time with their children.
The study says that one of the many effects was a huge increase in exposure to and exploration of gaming, resulting in a greater understanding of its appeal amid widespread news coverage of family-friendly, stand-out titles such as Animal Crossing.
Essence observed two main reasons for brands to engage, which in turn determine how building gaming touchpoints into the communications plan should be approached:
1. Incrementality for non-endemic brands: Gaming touchpoints should be evaluated in line with any other video, display or out-of-home opportunity
2. Building equity in the service of growth: Gaming touchpoints can be leveraged in the service of campaigns that are not specifically relevant to the genre, just like all kinds of campaigns can sit happily on the cinema screen, for example
Other key highlights of the report:
– The global gaming market was valued at $151.55 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach revenue of $256.97 billion by 2025. The pandemic helped spur a revenue surge of 20% to $179.7 billion in 2020.
– For marketers engaging with the gaming sector for the first time, there is an appreciation that gaming is not a ‘channel’ but a form of entertainment around which a unique set of consumer behaviours have been built. These behaviours are broad and exhibited across a hugely fragmented space, inclusive of vastly differing devices, platforms, locations and types of content.
– NewZoo estimates that the global audience for esports – organised forms of competitive gaming using tournaments or leagues – totalled 495 million in 2020 and will rise to 646 million in 2023, with around 45% watching at least once a month.
– Beyond esports, streaming has been harnessed by individual players who also broadcast their gaming to live audiences. Users typically employ one of three major platforms, which vary in popularity around the globe. As per YouGov, claims that 49% of Indian gamers engage with YouTube Gaming (YouGov).
– An eMarketer study of global internet users indicates that 83% of all women and 88% of men can be classed as gamers. And while gaming is most popular with younger users, a massive 71% of 55-64 year-olds engage in the space.
– The study shows that gamers fit the stereotype of being technically proficient and highly sophisticated media consumers, adept at filtering information. Marketers must plan their strategies carefully to capture their attention.
– The aforementioned eMarketer study also says that when it comes to the choice of engaging with rewarded ads versus making an in-app payment, a vast majority of mobile gamers prefer consuming the ad. However, as per a proprietary Mobile Annoyance study conducted by Essence India, mid-game banner ads scored the highest on the Annoyance Index when compared to a range of other mobile ad formats (served both in-game and across other types of publisher content).
– Entertainment brands, specifically, flock to the EPIC Games’ Fortnite not only to tap into the platform’s massive 350+ million global reach but more importantly because the integrations are closely guided by the developers of the game.