eSports is a growing phenomenon, but it’s best to approach it as a marketing opportunity rather than a hobby. The key is to take advantage of the attention it draws to your brand. Pro gamers are both brand ambassadors and influencers, and as such, they have a strong ability to influence others. You can use this to grow your business by creating a strategy to engage influencers and gamers, but also make sure your strategy suits the audience.
eSports (electronic sports) is a competitive sport built on a foundation of grassroots marketing. The largest eSports tournaments are watched by millions of spectators and broadcast to viewers all around the world; and although the esports industry is still in its infancy, it’s on track to be the most significant new business model of the 21st century.
The former World Cyber Games (WCG) event has entered its final phase and is now held under the auspices of Valve in Bellevue, Washington. WCG has long been an event that has been seen by the public as a platform for professional gamers to show their talent and skills. But, when the event was held in Shenzen, China, in 2004, it brought a totally new light to the world of eSports and brought in an estimated US$14 million in revenue for the host nation.
I had no clue we’d be talking about eSports marketing twenty years ago. eSports used to be something of a backwater, coveted only by the most ardent followers. Today, eSports is a burgeoning industry ripe for the picking by astute but strategic business owners that understand their target market.
What Is eSports Marketing and How Does It Work?
eSports is a $1.79 billion industry that is capturing the attention of Millenials. It’s a form of competitive gaming in which individuals form teams and compete against one another in the same way they would in any other sport. Tournaments are held, and many professional gamers have enormous followings on gaming platforms such as Twitch.
Until recently, only gaming-related businesses like Red Bull and others were able to participate in eSports marketing. Things have altered dramatically. Businesses from many sectors, including Mercedes and Coca-Cola, are now vying for a piece of the action. Is it a good fit for your company? It’s possible.
What is the purpose of eSports marketing?
Why would a B2C company opt for eSports marketing over another method? For starters, eSports marketing allows you to reach a loyal and interested audience. People that watch eSports are invested in the sport; they communicate with industry professionals and take it seriously.
Second, due to a lack of competition, the cost of advertising is still relatively low. Because there aren’t many commercials and many of the big-name competitors haven’t yet entered the market, there are opportunities for smaller businesses to enter and display ads at a reasonable cost. What are your plans for it?
Try These 6 B2C eSports Marketing Strategies
Now that you know how powerful an eSports marketing strategy can be, you need to know how to put it into action. I’ll break down actionable strategies you can take to promote your business to the eSports market in the sections below.
1. Create in-game advertisements
Investing in an in-game advertisement can be a one-of-a-kind but effective tactic. This is a sure-fire approach to set yourself apart from the competition, collect detailed information on your target demographic, and raise brand awareness.
Keep in mind that the average gamer’s image isn’t always accurate. People mistakenly believe that gamers are considerably younger than they are. There are many preconceptions about gamers, but the average gamer is 34 years old, has a home, and a family. In addition, an increasing number of women are playing video games.
Another benefit of in-game advertising is the variety of display options available.
In the image above, a GMC ad appears as if it were a real game in the Madden football game from EA Sports. Companies frequently sponsor certain aspects of the NFL game. The “moment of the game,” which is a highlight of the best play of the game, was sponsored in this occasion by the automaker GMC.
You may also place your ad on virtual billboards and sidelines in eSports games like Madden, FIFA, and MLB The Show.
2. Ads that change over time
In eSports, dynamic ads are unique in that they are only seen by viewers, not by players. Because you know and understand the demographics of the individuals watching the sport, this gives an opportunity for you to reach a highly focused audience. Much of the information is freely available to anyone who wants it.
Dynamic advertising are used in one of the battlefields in the popular eSports game “League of Legends.” Players will continue to see the game as it is while they go through the battlefield. Meanwhile, game spectators see commercials, which raises brand recognition for those that advertise.
You’ll need to contact the advertising and public relations teams of the game you wish to advertise on to put together an ad like this. This is when your audience research and knowledge come into play. Different audiences are attracted to different games.
So far in this post, I’ve mentioned the names of a few distinct games. We discussed Madden NFL and League of Legends. These two games cater to two very distinct audiences, each with its own set of interests. Even if you don’t play these games, it’s up to you to understand them so you can target the correct folks.
3. Collaborate with eSports celebrities and influencers
Influencers exist in this industry, just as they do in any other. Because you can piggyback on the influencer’s following and viewership across a variety of media, this method opens up more opportunities. If the influencer has a following on TikTok and Instagram, you can tap into their audience as well.
Influencer marketing and gaming work hand-in-hand since they are both engaging. These professional gamers interact with their followers on Twitch, speak to them throughout their streams, and their followers respect them.
Because eSports has turned into a form of social media, working with an influencer and having them promote your business increases brand recognition while also leveraging the respect the gamer has acquired.
Bang Energy drinks are a perfect example of this. These may be found all throughout the eSports industry, but the marketing appear to be so natural. It may be as simple as a gamer drinking it for an hour while staring the logo on the screen. It raises brand exposure and encourages people who enjoy that gamer to support it.
Getting a shoutout during live videos could be enough to convince you to collaborate with an influencer. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to influencer sponsorship. You’ll have to manually contact significant personalities in the industry until you get a response.
4. Become a Team Sponsor
Sponsoring a team is another eSports marketing tactic. What exactly does that imply? In exchange for the publicity, you are responsible for some of the team’s expenses. Companies that sponsor teams frequently have their logos placed on uniforms, or the players agree to drink their product solely while on camera.
Because their logos appear on the jersey, Red Bull, Puma, and Twitch are all sponsors of this team, as you can see in the above image.
This strategy is used to raise brand awareness in a variety of sports (including Little League). Will anyone see that shirt and go out and buy a case of Red Bull on the spot? Most likely not, but you’re keeping your brand fresh in the minds of individuals who buy your goods, which is why larger corporations pay for this form of advertising.
I wouldn’t recommend this strategy if you’re a tiny business because people may not know who you are. It would be best to place an ad in which you can briefly describe your product or service. These firms are already well-known and want to remind consumers that their favorite brands support eSports.
5. Make a static eSports advertisement
The polar opposite of dynamic advertising is static advertising. Instead of changing, these advertising remain in the game indefinitely and are visible to both players and viewers. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways.
The use of fictional brand commercials is one method. Consider the Simpsons character “Buzz-Cola.” Even if they call it something else, we all know what they’re referring to, so it serves its purpose.
However, you are not required to use such a subtle ad. Some games, such as racing games, will show full billboards with advertisements for genuine businesses. These static ads do not change regardless of what happens in the game and do not require an internet connection in most cases.
Because games like Fortnite are played online, they have dynamic adverts that change all the time. A static advertisement would not require a connection and would most likely be found in an offline story mode.
You’ll need to contact the marketing and public relations department, as well as a sizable budget, to get your brand inside the game. It takes a long time to build, and there is no reliable way to measure the results of a static ad because impressions aren’t tracked.
6. Advertisement gaming
One of the most severe eSports marketing tactics is advergaming. This is when a game is made with the express purpose of promoting a brand or product. Do you recall when Burger King released “King”-themed Xbox games a few years ago?
If your company uses advergaming, you’re putting your company in the spotlight. This technique, however, has a few serious difficulties.
To begin, the game must be enjoyable to play in order for you to be successful. If the game is a flop, no one will play it, and you’ve thrown your money down the drain.
Second, you’re dependent on the company’s marketing and promotion activities. You’re probably only going to be able to convince a smaller engineering firm to sponsor your game.
Third, because you’re creating a game from the ground up, it’ll be expensive and time-consuming. Burger King probably only did this once for a reason.
Frequently Asked Questions about eSports Marketing
What is the eSports marketing target market?
Men between the ages of 18 and 34, particularly from Asia-Pacific countries, are the target market. These people account for up to 57 percent of eSports watchers. Female eSports viewership has risen dramatically in recent years, with women accounting for 20-30% of the audience.
What does it cost to advertise in eSports?
Dynamic in-game advertising, according to esports.net, is the most cost-effective option because you pay per 1,000 impressions. The cost is entirely determined by the game, niche, and target audience.
Depending on the game, static advertising can cost anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 dollars. The price is so costly because it requires the game’s author to create an in-game advertisement for your company from the ground up.
Advergaming is the most expensive option, with costs ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 depending on the game, target audience, and advertising scope. You’re essentially creating a game from the ground up that promotes your company. In 2023, corporations spent approximately $364 million on eSports marketing and sponsorships, with that figure predicted to rise to $634 million by 2023. As the demand for advertising space grows, so will the price.
What are the most common sorts of eSports advertisements?
Dynamic advertisements, static ads, and advergaming are the three basic types of eSports marketing ads. These advertisements demand you to work directly with the game’s producers rather than eSports teams. If you’re working with athletes and teams in the sport, you’ll almost certainly engage in influencer marketing or sponsorships.
What brands should think about eSports marketing?
Every brand might benefit from eSports marketing in some way. It’s just vital that you choose the correct one for your company and objectives. Because people don’t know who you are, endorsements and sponsorships are unlikely to benefit a small business with limited reach. Instead, you’d want an ad that lets you describe your product.
Conclusion on eSports Marketing
Why not explore what we can do for you if you’re thinking about hiring an eSports marketing agency? eSports is a booming sector that appeals to both young and old people.
Keep in mind that younger generations seek amusement in a variety of forms. As streaming becomes more popular, these individuals love watching their favorite streamers in the same manner that previous generations enjoyed watching their favorite talk show presenter.
You must take advantage of increasing marketing trends to be successful, and eSports is right at the center of it all.
How do you intend to use eSports marketing to your advantage? Do you believe it’s all a ruse?
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For companies that want to actively engage in the world of competitive gaming, there are ways to use eSports marketing to increase your B2C reach. Despite the popularity of eSports, and the worldwide audience that follows, online gaming’s penetration into the general population is not where marketers would like to see it.. Read more about esports marketing message and let us know what you think.