Crunchyroll is debuting a new advertising strategy for game publishers. The move comes shortly after the anime-streaming video service hosted a one-week survey to better understand the crossover between Japanese animation and gaming fans.
Over 10,500 users participated in the survey—90 percent self-identified as gamers and 54 percent considered themselves to be “hardcore” gamers. The results were so surprising that the brand brought on a new strategy.
“We didn’t realize just how hardcore the gamers were,” Henry Embleton, head of ad products and revenue for Crunchyroll, told AListDaily. “What [the data] tells us as a brand is that when our users are not watching anime, they’re playing a lot of games.”
The respondents were a mix of male (55 percent) and female (45 percent), and users with both paid and free subscription plans.
“What we started doing with our strategy was target the gaming sector,” said Embleton. “When we went and talked to game publishers and their advertising agencies, they’d always come back with these nuanced questions like ‘what percentage of your gamers are mobile gamers-versus-console gamers?’ We were getting these sort of difficult questions without any hard data.”
The survey, conducted from October 2 to 8, was designed to answer marketer questions in terms of demographics. Although the brand knew that at least some of their users were gamers, just how many came as a complete surprise.
“I have to say it’s really kind of shocked everyone here at the office,” said Embleton.
The survey revealed that 48 percent played video games 20 hours or more per week and 16 percent play 40 or more hours. The most popular platform was PC at 38 percent, followed by console and handheld devices.
Crunchyroll users not only spend a lot of time playing games, but they’re not afraid to spend money, either. Thirty-five percent of respondents said they spend $200 or more each year on PC gaming equipment and 59 percent pre-order games prior to launch.
The results of this first survey confirm the brand’s recent efforts to attract the gaming demographic. A Crunchyroll video app is available on both Xbox and PlayStation consoles, and the brand partnered with Twitch for a five-day anime marathon in July.
Knowing just how fanatical its users are for both games and anime will help Crunchyroll formulate marketing strategies not only for itself but its advertisers as well. The next challenge, Embleton said, will be reaching paid subscribers who don’t typically see advertising on the platform.
“We’ve traditionally [used] video ads that we run in the pre- or mid-roll of the video content, itself,” Embleton said. “We have 25 million monthly registered users and over a million of them are actual subscribers. Those one million-plus subscribers who pay for the service don’t receive any adverts which put a real wall around our users’ ability to be targeted and engaged with from the gaming community.
“What we’re really looking to drive now is integrated ad products, so the idea is to target users through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email campaigns. This is a kind of extension of an existing strategy where we’re working very closely with the gaming industry, but now they can really penetrate our entire audience outside of the traditional Crunchyroll platform.”
Crunchyroll plans to repeat the survey process each quarter and will include additional questions that explore the correlation between preferred game and anime genres.