Who do you picture when the client brief reads “target audience – gamer”?
Whilst perceptions are shifting, the dominant stereotype is often that of a teenage boy, gaming at home on a console. In fact, recent research reports that 46% of gamers identify as female. With a skew towards casual mobile gaming amongst women, this trend is observed across many age groups, including mothers. With gaming already worth more to the economy than music and film combined, we’ve arguably entered an era where it’s a misstep to only consider gaming as a communications channel when a ‘gaming’ brief lands.
And digging a little deeper into the topic of female gamers, we ought to pay a little bit more attention to the reasons why people game at all. It’s becoming recognised that, unlike fatalistic headlines that link video games to violence, gaming can actually have a pretty fantastic impact upon the mental health of players. Whether it’s escapism, relaxation, a sense of community or just a bit of fun that compels people to spend an average of 6 hours a week gaming, these same motivations are just as impactful – if not more so – for women. Whether it’s job losses, inequality in childcare responsibilities, or general lack of support for mental health, the pandemic has disproportionately affected women. As such, it’s no surprise that girls who game have flocked to the industry in the past year.
So, what for brands?
First and foremost, it’s vital to dispel myths and capture the reality of all communities that game when we start to define our target audience within a brief. Only then can we accurately unearth data-driven insight to develop a distinctive, strategic comms plan. And in terms of the activation itself, brands must respect the experience of their audience. Yes, you can reach audiences at scale in this environment but to deliver compelling results, as well as scale, ad experiences should either be simple and non-disruptive or (even better) be designed so as to genuinely entertain these audiences in line with their gaming mindset. Deliver against this consistently and that elusive affinity amongst gamers is there to be earned