How to target gamers – the easy way

YouTube has launched a new service designed specifically for gamers, YouTube Gaming, in a brazened attempt to compete with Twitch – a company that it lost out to Amazon in trying to buy last year – in the live streaming arena.

While it may not be exciting news in itself (unless you’re a gamer, of course), it does open some interesting opportunities for targeting ads and content on what is essentially a brand new channel.

Ryan Wyatt, YouTube’s head of gaming, said: “Gaming is so big now. We’re doing billions of hours of watch-time a month, with hundreds of millions of users. It’s astonishing.”

And, according to The Guardian, “gamers including Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg and Dan “The Diamond Minecart” Middleton are among YouTube’s biggest stars, with Kjellberg earning $7.4m in 2014 from his channel and related sponsorship deals.”

Huge numbers, and something that really puts into perspective just how lucrative this audience could be for marketers who are not already tapping into it. For the time being, you would expect that advertising to users on YouTube Gaming would have the same features as YouTube.

Here are a few things to consider if you want to target your content or your product at the gaming community outside of their now-designated channels.

Use in-platform targeting to find gamers

This is the easiest way of finding people who play games on any device. For instance, people who connect to Facebook from gaming consoles or connect smartphone games to their accounts (and send you endless Candy Crush requests) can be targeted with Facebook ads. You can go as far people who have played a game on Facebook, or a connected game within the past 14 days.

Create an app or game

Now obviously, this won’t have an immediate impact, but the opportunity exists for brands to create their own games or apps – either freestanding or within Facebook – as an advertising tool.

This is not a nod back to the many branded games we’ve seen fail in the past, but a more subtle approach. Creating your own platform to advertise only your own product is something that many TV stations have already started to use. But the key is not too be too heavy handed, or users will be put off.

Gamify your content

Gamification is a long-used marketing tactic – but what better audience to use it on than people who by their own admission love playing games.

To put it simply, gamification incorporates fun and an element of competition to a marketing strategy. It also works with all brand fans and people who want to participate – not just the ones with a ton of followers.

This does not have to be the expensive and time-consuming process that many have made it. For example, Dominos has incorporated gamification in to their mobile pizza ordering app. Users can shake their device if they don’t know what they want to order, and the app will pick the toppings.

But through competitions, smart content, a bit of creativity, you can make fun, engaging, gamified content that will appeal specifically to the audience you’re targeting – just ask M&M’s or Heineken.

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