The world of esports, otherwise known as competitive gaming, is beginning to rival real-life sports in terms of viewership, audience interest and ad spend. Industry revenue is expected to hit nearly $1 billion this year, and Statista reports more than 300 million frequent and occasional viewers. This being the case, many marketers are trying to figure out where they fit into the world of esports.
As with any other field, capturing the attention of competitive gamers requires clever, useful and relevant marketing campaigns. If you’re ready to grab your share of the massively popular esports industry, here are some helpful tips from Forbes Communications Council members.
1. Treat Esports Platforms Like Any Other Marketing Channel
Just like AdWords, LinkedIn, Facebook and others, treat esports platform as a marketing channel. If your product serves the needs of this demographic, then focus on that market the way you would any other. If you have expertise in dealing with AdWords, hire someone who has experience with this audience. It should become a part of your omnichannel marketing strategy. – Anshu Agarwal, Stealth start-up
2. Work With Micro-Influencers
Brands should look at their products and how they fit into the competitive gaming and esports world. Find a way to solve a problem that they are experiencing and work with an influencer to showcase your solution. To stretch your marketing dollars, find several micro-influencers to work with. Spread your efforts across video game genres, esport leagues, players and diverse teams. – Alysia Gradney, Vision Source
3. Immerse Yourself In Gaming Culture And Make Your Own Team
Form a marketing esports team. Your marketing team will be best equipped to connect to the gaming public by directly connecting to the gaming public. Sure, you can pay for ads, but you will quickly find creative alternatives by immersing yourself in the culture of the gaming world. Start a team, create a Twitch channel for it and grow your own audience to begin influencing others. – Jeff Grover, Best Company
4. Offer Creative Content Around Esports
With esports being such a new arena for marketers, there aren’t yet best practices for how to engage this audience. Creativity can win big in this type of scenario. If you can’t afford to fund your own team, look into creating your own related content — think the Sports Center of esports. This type of approach allows you to ride in the community while providing value that will engage the audience. – Scott Schoeneberger, bluewatertech.com
5. Understand The Audience
Reaching the esports crowd is the easy part. There is no shortage of YouTube and Twitch streamers and websites dedicated to gaming with huge viewerships. The difficult part is gaining the trust of a young audience that is highly knowledgeable about tech and doesn’t want to be sold to. Understand their language and what’s hot right now. Don’t try and fake it because you will not make it. – Stephan Baldwin, franchisegator.com
6. Look For Product Integration And Partnership Opportunities
Find out if there are ways to organically integrate your brand or product into the games. You could also sponsor a gaming tournament (especially great for food and beverage brands). Get yourself involved with the top gamers and look to partner with them. They are highly influential and can help market clothes, food and other products — not just things related to the games. – Sherry Jhawar, Blended Strategy Group
7. Look To The Tech Side Of The Industry
The fierce competition to generate mindshare is one reason why marketers should also pay attention to new vendors coming into this space. For example, the gaming industry can’t grow without a scalable infrastructure that ensures secure and ultra-fast gameplay. Targeting those important but often unknown technology vendors may pay off, especially as those vendors grow with the industry. – Cameron Conaway, Solace