Thursday, February 18, 2016 1:49:00 PM

Do Gamers rank high on your list of target demographics? They should.

When profiling a consumer audience, marketers often spend too much time focusing on basic identifiers—such as age, gender, and income status—while forgetting that people have layers of personality traits that drive their patterns of behavior. A 38-year old mother of three may have different priorities than a 19-year old single male. That doesn't mean they aren't equally devoted to designing complex Minecraft maps or watching the latest boss fights on YouTube.

It's easy to get lost in the outdated stereotype of the Gamer as a teenaged, male loner who is socially awkward and disconnected from the world. In 2015, Big Fish Games reported that 59% of Americans play games, which amounts to more than 150 million people nationwide. Gamers play on consoles, PCs and mobile devices, and they can't all be fanboys. In fact, the average Gamer is 31 and has been playing for 13+ years. Only 29% of Gamers are under age 18, while females account for 48% of the gaming audience.

That means the core audience of Gamers has the ability to make independent purchases for themselves and children in their families. More importantly, they view gaming as a culture and a way of life. Brands that keep up with the evolving gaming industry can tap into a vast and influential market of consumers who are willing to pay big for premium content.

Gamers Are More Connected Than Ever

A top goal for every marketer is turning brand awareness into brand loyalty. Gamers represent a wide range of demographics, but they share one undeniable quality: passion. Gamers are people who show up to exhibitions and conferences at their own expense. They spend incomparable amounts of time waiting in lines for new consoles, writing extensive reviews, debating in forums, and creating polished tutorials. They love to talk about games online and offline, and they do all of these things because they want to, not because they have to.

Gamers are not playing alone in dark dens. More than 33% of parents worldwide play games with their children at least once a week, and more than 60% of American Gamers engage in gameplay with others. Many interactions occur online and go beyond the thrill of playing. Gaming has become a spectator sport, allowing players around the world to show their achievements, replay their conquests, and share tips with other fans. Consider the fact that 71 million people watch online competitive gaming, exceeding the number of people who watch traditional U.S. sporting events. Similarly, YouTube channels that feature gaming content rack up 3.5 billion views every month.

Gamers Have Mainstream Influence

So, how can your brand leverage the Gamer market?

Not only do Gamers have substantial buying power, but they are also the backbone of the mainstream consumer audience. In 2014, consumers spent $22.41 billion in the gaming industry, and digital media accounted for 52% of those sales. In a 2015 study, Google and Ipsos MediaCT surveyed 4,803 Gamers who actively use YouTube to watch content from other Gamers. The study revealed that YouTube Gamers are 1.5 times more likely to make electronics purchases, 1.1 times more likely to make automobile purchases, and 1.2 times more likely to make entertainment purchases.

Gamers are constantly seeking new channels of entertainment and information, and they make the effort to spread the word about positive (or negative) experiences with brands. As they devote more time to online activities, Gamers are increasingly reliant on digital platforms to fulfill other needs at the same time. The L.A. Times Media Group reaches 4.1 million people weekly, and readers share digital content 12 times per minute. How many Los Angeles consumers are also devoted Gamers?

When your audience isn't gaming, they are making purchases, reading the latest news, and sharing their opinions with peers. They are creating multiple channels for you to market your brand message, and their high expectations come with greater opportunities for brand loyalty. Gaming is by no means a fringe culture. Gamers exist at nearly every age demographic, and people who were once eager fanboys (and girls) are now parents with pint-sized Gamers of their own. To put it simply, Gamers have big voices, and their ideas about entertainment and commerce are shaping the next generation of consumers.

Categories: Consumer Insights

Tags: consumer insights

Source: "2015 Video Game Statistics & Trends: Who’s Playing What & Why?" Big Fish Games. March 3, 2015; "2014 Global Gaming Stats: Who’s Playing What, and Why?" Big Fish Games. Jan. 16, 2014; "Why Gamers Should Be Part of Your Audience Strategy." Think With Google. Dec. 2015; "How to Reach Gamers—An Affluent, Young and Fast-Growing Consumer Base." AdvertisingAge. Aug. 4, 2015; "4 Facts About Content Marketing to Gamers (And Why You Should Care)." studioD. March 11, 2015; "2015 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry." Entertainment Software Association.