Whether you’re marketing a new game, console, accessory, or gaming PC, there’s a strategy behind reaching gamers. To help, we’ll explore the gaming audience and offer marketing tips to help you connect with this tech-connected crew.
What is an effective strategy for marketing to video gamers?
Video gaming marketing is most effective when you understand gamer behavior, explore the platforms and online spaces gamers use, and research motivators. After researching your audience and current gaming trends, you can plan and execute several marketing campaigns spanning different platforms to connect with gamers.
Understanding gamer behavior
Before marketing to gamers, you need to know how they think. The audience is relatively large, with an estimated 253 million gamers in the U.S. as of 2024, according to Statista, but it is diverse. Many gamers have day jobs, but a growing number of gamers have “gone pro,” meaning they make enough money from gaming to live off.
The demographics of gamers vary too, but as a starting point, research suggests that the majority of gamers are:
- Between 18-34 years old
- Play console and PC games
What motivates gamers?
There are a handful of different motivations that drive gamers to pick up a controller or boot up their PC to play. Motivating factors include:
- Achieving goals
Research shows 66% of gamers say they play games as a way to relax or unwind, but the need for competition is a big draw, too. Games allow people to show off their skills and compete for status, which can offer a sense of accomplishment.
What social media channels do gamers use?
Social media marketing will likely play a role in your overall strategy. So, which platforms are gamers scrolling through when they’re not playing? As a marketer, you might assume that Twitch is the go-to channel since many gamers use the platform to live stream, but it’s not the most popular channel for gamers.
The top six channels that gamers use, according to Statista, are:
- YouTube 60%
- Facebook 58%
- Instagram 42%
- Discord 37%
- TikTok 37%
- Twitch 29%
Steps to craft a winning video game marketing strategy
1. Identify your audience
While the average gamer is a male between the ages of 18-34, audiences vary depending on the type of game. For example, if you’re trying to market a mobile card game, your audience might be seniors, but if you’re promoting a racing game, your audience could be co-ed teens.
Every game maker should compile audience research and know who they’re targeting.
2. Create a pre-launch plan
Before you reveal a new game or feature, generate some buzz. Create videos that tease the new game, send influencers the game early and ask them to share their experiences, or give a certain segment of your audience a chance to buy the game before the release date.
3. Promoting the game to your audience
As with any marketing campaign, marketing a game or accessory relies on a combination of tactics. Identify the methods and channels you want to use, and plan campaigns for each. To plan and execute a handful of different campaigns takes time, so begin the process as early as possible.
Possible marketing methods can include:
Connect with the gaming community
Identify online sites where gamers hang out. Write guest posts for gaming blogs, consider gaming sponsorships, and share content on YouTube, Discord, and Twitch; social platforms that gamers use often.
Consider running in-app video game advertising too. You can use app placement sources to put an ad in a game. So, a Candy Crush player, for example, sees an ad in between levels, for example. You can choose between static ads, video ads, or even playable ads that give players a chance to play a level as a try-before-you-buy tactic.
Challenge with a branded hashtag
Try a hashtag challenge to engage your audience. Consider creating dance moves performed by one of the game’s characters and challenge players to duet them, for example. Challenges often boost brand awareness and engagement.
Connect with live streamers
Team up with live streamers to promote your game. Plan to work with a handful of influencers, starting at the pre-launch stage. You can ask gaming influencers to:
- Get their audience excited for a new game
- Reveal the new game on launch day
- Play the game and share it on a live streaming channel like Twitch
- Give followers a discount code to buy the game
- Collaborate with another influencer to create gaming content
- Participate in a giveaway
- Takeover your social channel for a day as they play and stream the game
- Host Q&A sessions about the new game
Host events and participate in them
Live events are a great way to get gamers together in one place. You can host a launch party or a gaming tournament, for example, or join other gaming conventions to connect with gamers.
If you’re planning your own event, leverage influencers to help you. Well-known gamers can draw a crowd, so not only can they promote your game, but can also boost attendance. At the event, give fans a chance to interact with or even play against influencers, and consider a special VIP event to cultivate relationships.
You can join other events like DreamHack Dallas. IZEA recently helped coordinate gaming influencers for an event that offered a combination of esports tournaments and immersive playing experiences.
Marketing to video gamers starts by understanding your audience. The people interested in your product can vary, so focus on audience identification first and then plan a marketing strategy to reach them. Your strategy will likely include a variety of different tactics that must be executed and measured to gauge success.