Over the past few years, game video content (GVC) has become a rising star in the world of audience engagement, and brands have taken notice. Defying stereotypes, GVC viewers are diverse in age and gender, allowing marketers to not only reach but engage with a passionate community. Studies show that this demographic is huge and yet only a handful of major brands appear to be targeting GVC audiences.
GVC is defined as video game livestreams, trailers, tutorials and other videos related to gaming. SuperData predicts that the worldwide audience for GVC will reach 665 million in 2017, more than double the population of the US. It’s not just males that tune in, either—GVC viewers in the US are split 54/46 male to female with an average age of 33. GVC is on track to generate $4.6 billion in revenue in 2017 through advertising and direct spending, a level that would outpace revenue generated by sports.
Those who livestream games are often able to amass large followings across social media and Twitch, transforming everyday people into celebrities and influencers that brands can partner with.
“Because viewers are passionate about supporting their favorite creators, brands have the ability to tap into that equity,” Anthony Danzi, Twitch’s senior vice president of client strategy told AListDaily.
Under Armour, for example, is promoting the launch of its Curry 4 “More Buckets” colorway sneakers by hosting a Twitch livestream tournament on Friday. Nine popular Twitch streamers will go head-to-head in a round robin tournament inside NBA 2K18. The winner will receive a pair of the colorway sneakers, signed by pro basketball player Stephen Curry. The shoes will be available for sale in-game and in real life beginning on Friday, so the campaign covers both gamers and sports fans.
Unlike a static video, those watching branded livestreams at home can interact directly with the brand. In the case of Under Armour’s activation, Twitch viewers can vote for who they think should be MVP and enter to win prizes using the chat feature.
Endemic Not Required
Endemic brands have an obvious advantage when marketing to gamers, but brands should not assume that that’s all GVC audiences care about. Non-endemic brands from insurance to food have invested time and money into reaching this young, engaged demographic.
Last year, General Mills became the first presenting sponsor of Yahoo ESports Live, an hour-long pair of weekly live shows. Geico created a series of comedy skits around its sponsored esports team SoloMid with its YouTube debut. Carl’s Jr. even created the first live commercials on Twitch during a gaming marathon.
While Twitch may have been founded around—and is best known for—video game livestreams, its community also streams and watches content ranging from TV shows to fitness guides.
“Less forward-thinking brands who haven’t done their homework might simply classify [Twitch audiences] as gamers who are only interested in endemic products,” said Danzi.
Non-endemic brands are even hiring video game characters as spokespeople.
GVC Is Everywhere
Gaming-related video content is streamed across the same platforms on which audiences find news, entertainment and information, so marketers don’t have to look far.
Advertising powerhouse Facebook has taken aim at GVC audiences by adding live broadcast for video games across its platform. A partnership with Activision Blizzard allows Facebook users to broadcast gameplay from a myriad of devices directly to the social media feed—the same feed in which advertisers reach millions of consumers each day.
Over 20 million how-to gaming videos have been uploaded to YouTube, and 56 percent of gamers on the site say they go to YouTube to connect with their gaming communities.