Debunking the “Typical Gamer:” What Brands Need to Know

By Bree Brouwer · May 14, 2019

Debunking the “Typical Gamer:” What Brands Need to Know

We’ve all seen the stats: the gaming and esports industries are growing bigger by the day. The number of people playing games is increasing, which means there’s no longer a “typical gamer” demographic brands can market to.

As these consumers all differ in their lifestyle choices and buying tastes, the big question is: how are brands to reach gamers effectively?

Media Chain has some new answers to this dilemma. In a recent report created alongside Tubular, the UK-based social publisher analyzed the interactions between gaming, social media, and gamers’ lifestyles. The results are vital to brands that want to tap into this popular genre of content and bring their video marketing — and sales — to the next level.

Here are three important points brands need to know:

  • Social media and video are key to new discoveries. Media Chain found 78% of all gamers claim social media and video are their main source of news about new titles.
  • Gamers are anything but antisocial basement-dwellers. In fact, they list their friends as the most important influence when making buying decisions.
  • Video game players have money and know where they want to spend it. Gen Z gamers are 25% more likely to pay for better quality clothes, for example, while millennial and mature gamers (aged 35+) are more likely to pay for better quality food.

Let’s dive into each of these in more detail below!

Gamers Use Social Media and Video to Discover New Titles

One of Media Chain’s primary findings is that gamers interact frequently with social media and video platforms to stay connected, learn about new games, and make purchasing decisions. For example, about a third of gamers use social to comment about a purchase or leave a review.

YouTube and Facebook are the two most-visited platforms across surveyed gamers, who also provide a 43% higher watch time rate than other types of social media users. Gamers named value, community, and content as the most important things they want from brands.

But beware: 55% of all gamers also say brands try to sell items that don’t relate to them while also using generic gaming language (i.e. cool and edgy verbiage which brands think will resonate with a typical gamer).

Brands clearly have some work to do. For starters, not only do they need to be on the platforms these consumers are spending time on, but they also need to learn about, understand, and directly speak to gaming culture and its nuances instead of making assumptions.

Alternatively, brands can turn to branded content opportunities with companies like GameByte, FragHero, UNILAD Gaming, and more to reach gaming audiences. Last year, for example, UK social publishers delivered 28.4M sponsored views on Facebook alone for brands like Domino’s Pizza, Sega, and Mountain Dew.

A “Typical Gamer” Is More Friendly Than Anti-Social

The image of a male gamer living in his mother’s basement spending hours a day not talking to anyone is sorely outdated. In reality, gaming is more social than it ever was, as online platforms have become a new way to connect with like-minded friends.

For example, 52% of gamers prefer to play with friends they meet through their games, while 34% of hardcore gamers (defined as those who play over 20 hours per week) say they prefer friends they’ve met online compared to those they know in real life.

These connections build the ultimate form of trust: 57% of gamers seek opinions on social before finalizing a purchase.

Brands can learn one key thing from this system: provide the best products or services possible to your gaming audiences, and they will naturally tell their friends. Word-of-mouth marketing may not be the most immediate form of sales, but in the gaming world, it’s definitely one of the most powerful.

Gamers Have Specific and Selective Buying Power

Again, the stereotype of a typical gamer holding down a low-paying job or living unemployed in basements are false. The truth is a lot of gamers make good money, and are discerning on where they spend it.

Media Chain’s report found core gamers (those who play games around 12 hours a week) are twice as likely to earn over £35k per year, the equivalent of about $45k per year in the U.S. This type of gamer is also twice as likely to own or buy property compared to casual gamers, as well as more likely to dine out, go on vacation, use smart technology, and pay for streaming services.

And, as already noted above, both Gen Z and millennial gamers prefer to spend their money in different areas (quality clothes vs. quality food).

While the report touches on other financial data, it’s clear there are lots of cross-over opportunities for the industries video game enthusiasts care about outside of games. Brands can reach this ever-diversifying pool of gamers with some smart sponsorship or marketing strategies, like this Dr. Pepper-sponsored discussion of Overwatch and esports from gaming news site GameSpot:

Curious to learn more? You can download MediaChain’s full report here.

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