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Three ways top brands are successfully connecting with gamers

The Drum 31 Jul 2020 09:30
By Natalia Vasilyeva-31 July 2020 10:30am

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Anzu on why advertisers should get behind the gaming industry.

Advertising is a competitive game. With more brands popping up every day, companies need to find ways to grab attention and stay in people’s minds, making it imperative to push ad campaigns on platforms where potential customers are most active.

Social media and search ads on platforms such as Google have and continue to serve brands well. In contrast, TV and radio have begun to suffer in terms of impact due to younger generations ‘cutting the cord’ and opting to consume their content on streaming services. So, what other platforms should brands explore when developing their multi-channel marketing strategies? If you’re not a gamer, you may be unaware of the opportunities that exist in video gaming, but the potential this entertainment channel offers brands is undeniable.

As with all advertising, brands must know their audience intimately, understanding what they need and want. Gamers have incredible buying power, but they demand authenticity, so brands should align campaigns with player interests.

Let’s take a look at how some big-name brands have gotten into the (video) game to help inspire you.

Nike, Coca-Cola, and Redbull, all brands already ingrained in the sports world, have built new brand sponsorships in esports. However, some other companies with fewer ties to sports have created unique opportunities that align with their brand values and connect with fans.

Tech company Lenovo sponsors an often-overlooked demographic; the Silver Snipers are the first professional Counter Strike: Global Offensive team made up of senior citizens. The oldest player is 77 years old!

In-game ads can be an incredible way to boost brand awareness, a metric particularly relevant for blended in-game advertising, a format without clicks. With today’s advanced ad technology, brands can deliver programmatic campaigns that align with each player’s interests by exploiting the extensive targeting options available while remaining compliant with all data privacy regulations. Advertisers can place ads on billboards, signage, player jerseys, or any other in-game object.

Video games that mimic real-world sports are ideal for ads because sports fans see brand names and logos in stadiums and sponsoring broadcast replays. Both NBA 2K19 by Take-Two Interactive and NBA Live 19 from EA Sports are prime examples. Gatorade added its logo to coolers, which are seen as coaches talk to players during 60-second timeouts, and insurance company State Farm had its name and logo presented as the ‘sponsor’ of the Assist of the Game replays.

Brand and game partnerships

Perhaps the most surprising brand on this list is the Getty Museum, which made all of its famous pieces of art available inside the game. In a game that’s all about creating a home and an island that reflects a player’s personality, what could be more fun than hanging a Picasso painting in the living room or breaking the rules and putting it in the garden?

Beyond the massive number of players who are exposed to ads during gameplay, millions more see those ads while watching other gamers’ sessions online. Twitch, the largest streaming service, had 3.8 million unique broadcasters in February 2020 and recorded 1.44 million concurrent viewers on average as of March. For Q1 2020, viewers watched 3.1 billion hours of streams. In April of this year, YouTube Gaming reported that users watched that 461 million hours of gaming content while Facebook Gaming showed the highest year-over-year increase (238%) with a total of 291 million hours watched. That’s a lot of extra eyeballs – and, ahem, free exposure - for your brand!

Natalia Vasilyeva, vice-president of marketing at Anzu

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