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In 2015, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) found that 155 million Americans play video games with an average of two gamers for each U.S. household. Neilsen found that 65% of gamers now play on both game consoles and computers and/or mobile/tablet (up nearly 60% from 2011). Furthermore, Neilsen also discovered that while households owning 7th and 8th generation consoles ranged from 17% to 50%, mobile and tablet ownership showed a penetration rate of 92% (almost double the rate of 7th generation gaming consoles).
Enter YouTube, its 1 billion users, top YouTubers, and its dedicated gaming platform, YouTube Gaming, where audiences and gamers can share, watch, and engage on both trending videos and livestreams. Out of the top 10 trending videos today, 2 were gaming focused while 60% were created by top YouTube influencers.
As the $61 billion gaming industry continues to grow at unprecedented rates (sales for mobile gaming double to nearly $26 billion from 2014), top YouTube gaming channels are poised to capitalize on the industry’s growth, reach, and engagement. Here’s why:
Although gaming may seem to be an isolated activity, in today’s increasingly digital, mobile and connected world, gaming for many is becoming interactive, social, and a form of entertainment. In ESA’s report, president of leading research group on Millennials Neil Howe relates, “Millennials are putting [gaming] at the center of their entertainment preferences, but it is a new kind of gaming that is more social, interactive, and engaging.”
Nearly half or more gamers feel that gaming helps them connect with both friends and family. While reach is certainly important, social engagement matters especially when it comes to sponsored content. As seen in many YouTube gaming channels and their most popular types of YouTube gaming videos, engagement is high (comments, likes, shares) due to the vibrant and social communities surrounding gaming culture.
With marketers spending 500% more on Millennials than any other demographic combined (Adweek), YouTube gamers and channels represents one of the best ways to reach these influential demographics with purchasing power. For non-gaming advertisers and brands looking to message the YouTube gaming community, YouTube gaming channels presents effective advertising opportunities for entertainment, electronics, computer, smartphone, and car industries.
via Think With Google’s Why Gamers Should Be Part Of Your Audience Strategy
Beyond being one of the best ways to reach men 18-34 years-old, YouTube gaming channels are also exceedingly effective for reaching women. According to ESA’s 2015 report, adult women are now playing more games than teenage males. YouTube’s data also corroborates this trend by finding that viewership is doubling each year for women and represents gaming’s top growth area. In a 2014 comScore report, 40% of women who watch StyleHaul (a dedicated YouTube fashion and beauty channel) also watch gaming content on the largest YouTube gaming channels.
For advertising campaigns and brand deals, marketing with top YouTube gaming channels extends far beyond the games themselves. As one of the biggest trends in marketing today, partnering with top YouTube channels and influencers can provide efficacious ways to drive both branding and direct-response initiatives. Many top YouTubers regularly create popular unboxing videos to share their latest lifestyle and product finds with millions of engaged subscribers.
As gaming integrates more and more into today’s mobile culture, brands can take advantage of this burgeoning industry by partnering with the channels and influencers who are capturing the time spend of major audiences.