Connecting with gamers on YouTube: 4 things marketers should know
Once upon a time, the world of gaming was full of mysteries. And from this black box, many misconceptions emerged. Gaming is a man’s world. Gaming is isolating. Games are mostly played on consoles.
As outdated as these stereotypes might be, they are surprisingly persistent. While the gaming industry has changed beyond recognition, becoming more global and diverse than ever before, the image marketers have of it hasn’t always kept up.
But for those willing to look beyond the stereotypes, the opportunities are immense. After all, the gaming industry’s global revenue is more than that of the movie and music industries combined. On YouTube, viewers watched 50 billion hours of gaming content in 2018, and there are over 200 million daily logged-in gaming viewers on the platform.1
To separate fact from fiction, I spoke with leading YouTube gaming creators from around the world. Here are four things they think all marketers interested in reaching online gamers need to understand.
1. Gaming is no longer a ‘boys’ club’
If you were asked to describe a “typical” gamer, chances are you’d say they were a teenage boy. It’s true this demographic loves its consoles. In fact, Pew found that 97% of American teen boys play video games on some kind of device. But that only tells part of the story. In the U.K., for example, women account for 58% and 50% of tablet and smartphone gamers, respectively. Gaming is no longer a “boys’ club” and that’s exactly what the YouTube creators I spoke to have seen playing out.
“There is no one face of gaming anymore. Around 70% of my audience is female and I create content with everyone in mind, regardless of gender,” said Giovanna Baldino, the Brazilian creator behind YouTube channel MultiGirlBR. “It’s very important for advertisers to understand this. If their content isn’t universally relatable, they won’t reach all their potential customers.”
The Italian duo behind Two Players One Console, one of the largest Battle Royale channels on YouTube, agreed. “Many women follow our channel and our audience is continuing to grow.”
2. Gamers aren’t loners
Another tired stereotype that comes to mind when marketers think of gaming is that of the kid sitting at the dinner table with a hand-held console, ignoring all the conversation going on around them, or the teenage boy playing games by himself in his parents’ basement. As a result, gaming ends up being seen as an isolating affair. In fact, gaming — especially mobile gaming — is a far more social experience than it gets credit for.2
“Phones by nature offer connectivity and that translates into gaming,” said Ash, the American creator behind YouTube channel ClashWithAsh. “Most mobile games are built around guild, alliance, and clan systems, where you interact with thousands — even millions — of like-minded players around the world. That’s why this category of gaming has grown astronomically and will continue to increase in popularity.”