eSports Marketing: Brands Will Need to Do Their Homework First

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In the last few years, eSports has become a billion dollar global industry. And 42% of its revenue is generated from player sponsorships. Brands like Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s have already signed deals with leagues, players and teams. As more brands consider following suit, it’s important for them to understand the ever-changing and growing landscape before deciding where and how to play the marketing game.

Methodology

Using Jumpshot’s panel of clickstream devices  I analyzed online behaviors of US individuals who viewed gaming videos on popular streaming platforms including Twitch, Mixer and Youtube Gaming in the first half of 2019. Within this time frame, we evaluated 85 different eCommerce sites within various industries to determine where these gamers typically would shop.

Unlocking the Desired Millennial and Gen Z Puzzle

Data from Jumpshot’s Insights Pro and Insights Feed showed that 92% of individuals streaming videos were male & 2/3 were under the age of 35. For eCommerce brands, this has been typically an under-represented consumer group and a key target audience. The growing popularity of eSports has provided brands an opportunity to better understand this younger market. In fact, it is expected that eSports viewership will soon outpace the viewership of the MLB and NBA

eSports Viewers vs Everyone Else

The median income for an individual between ages 25 and 34 is about $62,000. But spending patterns for that income vary from group to group. Using Jumpshot data, we can observe tendencies for very specific groups of individuals, in this case, eSports viewers. We looked at the devices that viewed eSports events  in the first half of 2019 and compared their behavior to that of the general population and discovered the following:

eSports viewers were 2.5x more likely to make a purchase on Amazon, Walmart or Target

  • Viewers were over 5x more likely to order food online through delivery services like Grubhub, (a finding that supports Pizza Hut’s recent decision to sponsor a virtual stadium).
  • The eSports audience was almost 5x more likely to purchase a movie ticket online. This increase was due in part to the release of Avengers: Endgame, which premiered on April 26 in the first half of 2019 and was probably a popular movie with this group. 

If you think about that 2.5x increase for Amazon, Walmart and Target purchases as a baseline indicator of how eSports viewers strongly differ from the average internet user, behaviors that fall under that mark show a weaker correlation with eSports fans.

  • We found eSports viewers were only 83% more likely to make purchases on top retailers or department stores; buying affinities differed depending on the retailer. eSports viewers showed preferences towards electronic sites like eBay, Newegg, and Best Buy rather than more traditional department stores like Macy’s & Nordstrom.
  • eSports viewers were just 29% more likely to make a travel booking online. younger individuals, who make up most of this cohort, might not be able to afford regular vacations like their older contemporaries.

Though these Millennial and Gen Z individuals do not currently show preferences towards travel and more traditional retailers right now, this detailed view of the buyer path provides an opportunity for brands within these trailing industries to develop an eCommerce marketing strategy to build brand awareness and develop offerings to target the growing population of eSports viewers.

New Launches & Recent Developments

With new video games constantly launching, it is important for brands to keep track of retail industry trends in video game streaming to gauge the success of new entrants and to determine if the popularity of any particular game will last. For example, Apex Legends launched on February 4, 2019. Though traffic to the Apex Legends channel on Twitch reached over 3 million people in its first month, visits quickly subsided as traffic to the channel fell by more than 90% within 5 months, falling behind the more popular channels of Fortnite and League of Legends.

The change goes beyond just video games. Recently, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins left the Twitch streaming platform for Microsoft’s Mixer Platform. While Twitch continues to dominate the video game streaming space, the effect of this defection is still yet to be confirmed. As a result, brands need to continue to consider these changes when devising an eCommerce marketing plan.

Summing Up

The eSports industry continues to develop and evolve. Brands have multiple options to attract the growing fanbase. Whether it’s through player sponsorship or a simple advertising campaign on the streaming platforms, brands must understand the most popular games and the most influential players.

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