Twitch Industry Insights Entertainment Marketing: Movies, TV, Music and Gaming

Level up your advertising strategy with gaming

By Stef Jansen, business development director

GroupM

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March 7, 2023 | 8 min read

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The worlds of gaming and TV are steadily converging but how can brands benefit from first-mover advantage? Stef Jansen, business development director at Finecast, explores.

Man fist pumping in front of gaming screen with headphones

We expect gaming to become an increasingly important channel for advertisers / Adobe Stock

The gaming industry is one of the most influential industries in the world today. It is estimated that the global gaming market will be worth over £300bn in 2023, having grown tremendously in recent years. This growth has made it an important area of exploration for advertisers, who are increasingly looking to capitalize on the ever-expanding cohort of gamers.

As the popularity of gaming increases, the perception of the typical ‘gamer’ is changing to reflect the reality that gamers come from a wide range of demographics and interests. However, one thing they have in common is an inherent interest in playing a game (naturally), and often in watching gaming content, supporting their favorite creators and being part of a wider community. This provides advertisers with a unique opportunity to reach an entirely new, engaged audience with exciting, innovative and creative campaigns.

Gaming content on the big screen

We’re steadily seeing the worlds of gaming and TV converging. TV streaming services and advertisements are increasingly served through gaming consoles, while gaming-based content served on the big screen is rising, via popular streaming and content platforms such as YouTube and Twitch.

We’re also seeing a large cross-over as popular gaming titles are made into TV series. Earlier this year, the popular drama series Last of Us, based on the 2013 action-adventure game, launched on HBO (Sky Atlantic in the UK). In addition, The Witcher and Arcane (both on Netflix) and Halo on Paramount+ are further examples of bringing gaming audiences into TV (and vice versa) as it continues to permeate wider culture.

Advertisers should consider how to leverage all forms of gaming content being streamed on the big screen, especially where for certain audiences this might have supplanted more traditional forms of TV viewing. The chances are that they are spending just as much time in front of the TV set, but the type of content they are viewing and engaging with is different. With screens in multiple rooms and plenty of options to watch on the go, these newer forms of TV represent a powerful opportunity for advertisers.

How can advertisers approach gaming?

We expect gaming to become an increasingly important channel for advertisers. As a result, brands will continue to evolve how they approach gaming advertising, leveraging influencers, streaming services, and even in-game advertising to reach gamers and promote their products.

Interestingly, the barriers for brands to access a new audience through engaging with gaming content are falling, making it easy for advertisers to dip their toes in without executing an expensive long-term partnership campaign across top titles. Their reward is reaching a large and dedicated audience in a way that is more flexible and better aligned to their own strategic business objectives.

One tactic which advertisers can leverage is investing in streamers and content creators and partnering with them to create sponsored content and sponsored streams. We’ve seen this done successfully, with DoorDash sponsoring a MultiVersus tournament called Battle of the Brands, which brought together multiple famous content creators, each representing a renowned food brand, such as KFC, Taco Bell, etc. This was streamed from DoorDash’s official Twitch channel, which peaked at 35,000 viewers.

Wingstop has also executed campaigns creatively in this space, understanding that its brand aligns seamlessly with this audience and watching gaming content. In 2019, Wingstop even launched an extension on the Twitch platform where Twitch viewers could order directly from the Twitch platform while watching their favorite streamers.

We might see a future where a broader range of advertisers invest significantly in gaming content through creators; however, they may need more certainty due to the low quality of production in some instances and, most of all, the lack of guarantee on brand safety. On the other hand, from the content creators’ point of view, many would like to produce high-quality content that brands can trust but need the investment to do so. Despite some promising early examples, as yet this investment has not quite reached a critical mass.

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What’s next for gaming in 2023?

In 2023 and beyond, we will continue to see a homogenization of global entertainment and IP franchises, with more TV and movie content based on gaming titles (a prime example being the Super Mario Bros Movie due to be released this spring) and more gaming titles based on TV and films. We also expect growth in ad revenue as more advertisers feel comfortable in testing and learning within the gaming space.

As more gaming-based content is streamed and watched on the TV screen, there becomes a scalable option to reach audiences ‘around the game’ rather than in-game, perhaps perceived as the less intrusive option and with a similar and familiar value exchange for the viewer to that of TV ads.

In the world of gaming, however, this value exchange allows viewers to directly support their favorite creators and provides brands with new opportunities to engage in creative ways. With this scale will come stricter requirements for brand safety and also measurement, in turn encouraging further investment and creating a more level playing field with other media channels, allowing gaming to become a standard part of consistent omnichannel activation approaches.

The lines are blurring in how we watch content and how we interact with brands. Gaming is one exciting area with seemingly limitless boundaries – whether in-game advertising, working with streaming platforms and creators or utilizing it as a prototype for what future activations in the metaverse might look like (where gaming, entertainment streaming and social communities all cross over).

As investment in gaming continues to rise, we are excited to help brands navigate this space alongside their existing TV and streaming investments. Through fearless but measured experimentation with emerging creative and innovative ad opportunities, brands can benefit from first-mover advantage in the short term as well as a strong body of knowledge to inform future marketing strategies.

Twitch Industry Insights Entertainment Marketing: Movies, TV, Music and Gaming

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