Marketing for niche industries such as the gaming industry is a specialized task that involves a deep understanding of the history of gaming and subcultures within it. Video game marketing is not what it used to be when games first started appearing, which may be a good thing judging by the value the industry has amassed as a whole, around 230 billion dollars.
About a third of the population plays video games to some extent, making it a bountiful franchise for marketers to take a crack at leveling up their skills. There are so many different platforms for gaming, such as PC, console, and mobile, all of which need different ways of marketing their games.
The target audience of game marketing is usually universal, with the intention of selling to a vast crowd as best as possible. Today, we will be looking at all the ways the gaming industry can market its products, even with entry-level marketing jobs.
How gaming marketing has changed
Gaming was seen as an embarrassing hobby in the past but its popularity soared with the digital revolution taking off in Generation Z. Various reports have found that Gen Z uses video games more than TV or any other outlet for media consumption.
Originally, advertising for games happened on billboards, through word of mouth, or in newspapers or magazines. That evolved into online ads, which have currently been backfiring for marketers globally. Unsolicited ads are religiously hated by internet users, especially younger ones, which translates to ad blockers blocking as many ads as possible.
Social media marketing is the second best method for marketing games and game-related merchandise to target audiences since the audience is mostly made up of young individuals. There are three main platforms where games tend to be marketed from their company accounts: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Instagram is one of the most popular platforms among younger adults thanks to its intuitive user experience and the social media app using pictures for posts, with the ability to upload videos and “reels” as well. The format of the media that audiences consume makes it addicting and memorable for potential customers, also giving gaming companies a personal touch.
Twitch is also a platform often used by gaming companies, especially through sponsorships and endorsements. Twitch is a platform for individuals to stream themselves, usually playing games, which essentially become influencer marketing or word of mouth.
Twitter is a platform for the gaming companies themselves to talk to their followers easily and spread updates and information easily to them. There have been tons of gaming companies also getting millions of retweets thanks to the personal aspect Twitter provides between users.
Influencer marketing is the modernized version of celebrity endorsements, with influencers promoting products on their private, already popular pages online. Twitch offers a version of this style of marketing by not only making some games popular through streamer views but also by having alternative gaming product endorsements, such as energy drinks or gaming chairs.
The reason influencer marketing works so efficiently is that the influencers know their audiences better than anyone else, meaning companies can target niche areas of their potential customer base by first spreading their advertisements through an influencer.
Video footage is also a key element in making products seem more attainable for customers and usable in everyday life. With gaming, video marketing immerses viewers inside the game, enough so for them to want to get it, especially if the gameplay is being shown.
Tips for better marketing in the gaming industry
The first step is knowing your competition. The gaming industry is extremely oversaturated with games that are often too similar or repeated, such as the Call of Duty franchise. Thanks to the overburdening of similar games, it is either up to the content or to the marketing team to make the game sellable.
From indie studios to triple-A studios, the stakes are high in the gaming industry, so make sure to know who your competitors are and what marketing tactics they use will give your company all the advantage it needs to stay within the market. Knowing how the audience reacts beforehand thanks to your competitor is also something to take advantage of.
Strong campaigns are also important in getting more recognition with your marketing strategy, especially when having campaigns containing famous individuals from the gaming community. Focus on what genre your game falls under, what the audience is, how you wish to communicate your message, and what makes your game different from the rest.
You should also focus on seasonal marketing for games. The gaming industry has seasonal sales oftentimes a year, taking advantage of the sale season for overall more revenue is an important aspect of maintaining a gaming company. Advertising during sales season will guarantee better sales, not to mention the holidays when everyone feels happy to spend.
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