Gaming has emerged as an exciting playground of creativity and innovation, a new arena for brands to step into. It’s the beginning, testing the waters, a test-and-learn approach as there’s no one-size-fits-all understanding of gamers.
Martin Bradley, director of research and research consultancy MTM, says gamers are not just white dudes. “They are mums, they’re kids, they’re people of color and different sexual orientations.” He highlighted that advertisers still think of gaming audiences through too stereotypical a lens. Bradley believes recognition of diversity is needed for brands to have success in targeting gamers.
He said advertisers are increasingly leaning towards in-game advertising because of its excellent performance on attention metrics. Bradley explained that ads need to feel like natural inclusions into the game world – there can’t be too many placements and they shouldn’t break up gameplay. “Brands need to be careful about brand safety in different games and to tailor their creative in specific and bespoke ways. You can’t just place a TV or radio ad and place it in a game and expect it to work.”
Natasha Fulton, a digital account manager at 7stars, believes brands are still kind of coming to terms with game advertising. She pointed out that online communities, especially Discord, offer a unique controlled environment by which brands can speak directly to consumers, appealing to gamers’ and young consumers’ affinity for authenticity.
Big brands like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are keen to get gamers’ attention and are exploring this new segment. Kelly Boatright, the director of national customer marketing for Coca-Cola’s McDonald’s division said brands can benefit from a more experimental approach. “It’s this natural marriage of what they’re already doing, and then showing up in that space to support them, but always looking for authentic ways to do it, because we also know that this is a community that will call you out if you show up in a way where it looks like self-promotion.”