Targeting The Untargetable

April 5, 2023
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    The term “gamer” has always had some negative connotations behind it, ever since it was coined back in the 90s. Thankfully, in recent years, that has changed to a more positive spin. With the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets, increased processing power on those devices and near-ubiquitous access to high-speed internet connectivity, the term “gamers” has grown to represent a much broader set of consumers who identify themselves with their hobby of playing any number of video games. And while video games have always been a medium for escapism, the pandemic gave video games a big push. Even people who might not have played many games before saw themselves with more time on their hands.

    According to a recent study run by Unity¹, ad revenue from in-game advertisements surged by 59% over the past two years. While part of this rise in popularity can be attributed to more free time or time spent at home, it can also be attributed to the fact that video games offer a social outlet. Take the game Fortnite, for example. As of 2019, there were 250 million players. By Spring of 2020, that number had jumped to 350 million unique players. Just in the month of April 2020, there were a combined total of 3.2 billion hours spent in the game².

    Unfortunately, advertising in-game isn’t always received well. Many gamers might see it as pandering if done blatantly. Thankfully, advertising in the game itself isn’t the only way you can target gamers. Since the dawn of video games, no one knows the exact path to follow when trying to progress or get better at a game. In the early days of the internet, you could usually post to a video game message board to get the answer in between snide comments. This eventually evolved into websites dedicated to video game walkthroughs. But a website can’t survive on traffic alone, most eventually succumbed to hosting banner ads.

    All of this can easily be linked back to CTV

    At least 30% of people who play video games casually still use consoles³, and most (if not all) of those consoles are fairly useless without being connected to a TV for display. With more people upgrading their TVs to the latest model, they are also adding a CTV to their household, one that they will likely hook a video game console up to. Beyond just video games, these consoles are also host to CTV streaming services as apps, which console owners will likely utilize. These streaming services are usually (but not limited to) Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Roku, etc. Essentially creating an entertainment hub connected to a singular CTV.

    For advertisers who are planning campaigns to target gamers, it’s important to layer in adjacent audience segments to reach the different types/niches of gamers. These varying types of gamers may have differing partialities when receiving a targeted advertisement, related day-part, format (e.g. videos require more patience than display), message copy and call-to-action. For example, a new parent gaming while their child is sleeping might only have the patience for display ads in the morning, but could also potentially be a strong candidate to convert (i.e. click-through and make a purchase) at other times during the day. From our own APT report, we found that Hispanic and Black console gamers over-index PC gamers 85% to 35%. All these different audience segments vary in extremely different ways.

    While trends are rising in a way that shows more interest in gaming as a hobby, some of this can be more casual, like a game on your phone to pass a few minutes while waiting. The fact that 28% of U.S. consumers are “almost constantly online,” according to Pew Research Center, shows how even casually playing games on a mobile device can be considered gamers. These consumers are constantly connected and likely mildly to very dedicated to their gaming apps.

    As the landscape continues to alter and change with all sorts of new video games, the fact that gamers are a slightly untapped market remains. The fact that they are usually connected in some way online or through CTV makes it easy to market and gather data on them.

    Fortunately, Stirista has experience working with both gaming companies and brands to effectively target gamers. As a performance marketing company, and unlike the rest of the industry, Stirista has never relied on cookies. Stirista Gaming Syndicated Audiences are available today on all leading data marketplaces, and we can onboard your first-party data and create scalable lookalike custom segments. Being 100 percent cookieless means your audience is more extensive, and you can reach them on more channels than ever before.