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Technology Brand Strategy Media Planning and Buying

Winning the next-gen audience in the gaming industry


By Preethi Ravi | Journalist

May 4, 2023 | 7 min read

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The growing need for audience diversification sets the trend in the gaming industry. Experts from StackAdapt, NexPlay, Mana Partners and Livewire Group explore how brands can tap into the gaming space and drive awareness and engagement at The Drum’s APAC Trends Briefing.

Get ready to play in the gaming world.

Get ready to play in the gaming world.

Gaming has seen phenomenal growth across the Asia Pacific region in recent years, with brands acknowledging the power of the medium to get closer to their target market in an authentic way. There is a lot of diversity within the gaming audience, and it’s not just limited to the stereotypical gamer.

As the gaming industry continues to grow and evolve, experts’ advise that advertisers must stay agile and adapt their strategies to meet gamers’ unique needs and preferences in different regions and markets. Brands can add value to the gaming experience through strategic partnerships and contextual advertising which enhances rather than disrupts gameplay. Catch up on the full session here.

Crystal Cheung, APAC sales director at StackAdapt highlighted the tremendous opportunity within the gaming industry, particularly in the APAC region where there are approximately 1.5 billion identified gamers, representing 50% of the global gamer population. “There is no typical gamer, making the industry diverse and attractive for brands looking to tap into a broad and engaged audience,” says Cheung. “The gaming landscape is continuously expanding, creating more opportunities for marketers to engage with this dynamic audience.”

Lionel Sim, chief commercial officer at Livewire Group points out that diversity within the gaming industry is not just male-dominated as commonly perceived: “For instance, casual games like Candy Crush are played by 48% of females worldwide.” He sees two main trends in the gaming industry: “First, there is a growing need for audience diversification, and second, more brands and agencies are tapping into gaming as a branding and awareness channel.”

Jamie Lewin, managing partner and chief strategy officer at Mana Partners cautions brands to not look at gaming as a monolith. “There is a wide range of different genres and individual titles of games that people play, and it’s important for brands not to look at gaming as a monolith, but to think more strategically about how they can add value to specific game IP and audiences.

“It’s important to understand the differences between leading games like League of Legends and PUBG, which are not open to brands, but the long tail of largely casual games where brands can use traditional ad formats.”

He suggests short-term tactics, such as placing ads into casual games, medium-term tactics like sponsoring esports and working with influencers and creators, as well as longer-term tactics that involve thinking ahead and building trust with publishers over time.

The panelists agreed that gaming is mostly seen as an upper funnel metric, but when used in conjunction with other channels and metrics, it can help tie together a brand’s messaging and speak to their audience regardless of where they are in the funnel.

Cheung discussed how brands and agencies are utilizing the gaming space for advertising, particularly as an upper funnel metric. “However, when combined with an overarching strategy across the campaign, gaming ads can be used for cross-channel measurement and lift, allowing for measurement not only in the upper funnel but also the lower funnel. By looking at it holistically, brands can better speak to their audiences, regardless of where they are in the funnel.”

Furthermore, as more measurement solutions become available, the industry will be able to track and measure more bottom-of-the-funnel metrics like eye tracking within games, making it an increasingly popular for B2B to B2C channel.

“As measurement solutions has become more sophisticated, it will be possible to track and measure the impact of gaming ads on the lower funnel metrics as well,” adds Sim. “This will enable brands to not just reach out to their target audience but also convert them into customers. This approach allows for a more holistic view of the campaign and can help tie everything together for more effective messaging.”

In-game advertising has become a phenomenon and is undergoing a radical revolution in terms of how it targets audiences. Advertisers should be wary of ads which can negatively impact the gaming experience.

“Gamers do not want to be interrupted with ads that are not relevant to their experience,” says Miguel Bernas, president and co-founder at Nexplay.“Brands need to ensure that they are not interrupting the gameplay or immersion of the player with irrelevant or intrusive ads. It’s important to consider the context of the game and the audience that’s playing it, as well as the platform on which the game is being played.”

Speakers concluded that the matrix of advertising in gaming is going through a radical revolution, and brands need to stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices to succeed in this space.

To learn more about how to win the gamers, check out the full session on The Drum TV.

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StackAdapt is a multi-channel programmatic advertising platform used by the most exceptional digital marketers. This state-of-the-art platform is where some of the most progressive work in machine learning meets cutting-edge user experience. Ad buyers plan, execute, and manage data-driven digital advertising campaigns across all devices, inventory and publisher partners

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