Revenues in the eSports industry surpassed $696m in 2017. Newzoo, a global leader in professional gaming competitions predict brand investment will double by 2020 and push global revenues up to almost $15bn.
There is no doubt that the fascination with eSports is growing exponentially. The fan base in Australia alone has doubled in the past two years. For retail, media and entertainment companies, eSports presents you with an opportunity to tap into an open-minded audience that are looking for emerging brands that share their passion.
Asia Pacific is seeing the fastest growth in the gaming arena. One in four gamers confirmed they watched at least one eSports tournament last year. Latin Americans are not far behind with 14% whilst gamers in Europe, Africa (9%) and North America (7%) are only mildly interested.
The general demographic of eSports fans are a disposal-income audience aged between 16 and 64. Fans are not only fixated with the thrill of playing video games, they want to watch elite players performing and are happy to engage with brands sponsoring eSports events and shows.
According to Nielsen, eSports fans see sponsorship as a way to discover brands they have never heard of. Furthermore, this demographic are supportive of brand sponsors. For brands, eSports is a gateway to a growing tribe of highly invested consumer group that has purchasing power.
Influencer marketing in eSports
Professional gaming attracts an audience of around 400 million viewers. As interest grows, players and supporters take competitions as seriously as any professional athlete or sports star.
Subsequently, brands have a prime opportunity to capitalise on a favourite pastime of digital natives. But in order for brands to capitalise on this growing trend it is important to know what your audience wants.
An article published by Nielsen reveals that eSport audiences are most interested in learning new game skills from the pros. When putting a marketing campaign together, brands should bear in mind that gamers want to:
- Learn tips and trick from professional gamers
- Improve their gaming skills
- Experience aspects of competitive gaming
- Watch eSports to pass time
- Experience gaming in a fresh and exciting environment
Digital-savvy brands that want to be relevant in modern markets have to leverage influencer marketing. You also need to know where to find your audience. And they very rarely hang around in mainstream circles waiting to get in-depth, relevant information.
Esports fans can be found on niche platforms such as Twitch, Gamespot and subreddits. Commentators and active content curators are trusted sources on these forums and therefore make potential influencers that can promote your brand.
In order to identify influencers for your brand, analyse social media platforms take note of the players and teams they follow. Smaller brands can use commentators as a stepping stone to players for interviews, promotions or sponsorship.
eSports and Virtual Reality
VR represents an exciting opportunity for fans of eSports. Globalwebindex report that 33% of gamers own a VR Headset and are also watching eSports tournaments on a monthly basis.
Gaming is the leading industry to adopt VR from a commercial aspect. As the industry continues to steadily grow and the price of VR headsets become affordable, VR can facilitate growing trends in the eSports market.
Brands can also capitalise on VR video as a marketing tool together with a growing interest in video streaming. Recent research data indicated millennials prefer to watch video on mobile devices than TV and 67% say they cannot live without YouTube.
Furthermore, video has emerged as the media that 80% of consumers say they use to make a purchasing decision. Brands that understand how to engage eSports audiences through video content improve your chances of staying in the conversation.
If your brand is not already involved in eSports, now is the time to hustle for attention before the marketplace becomes too crowded. Identify where your audience is hanging out and deliver engaging video content they can enjoy across multiple devices.