How Multicultural and Youth Consumers are Reshaping the Video Game Industry

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How Multicultural and Youth Consumers are Reshaping the Video Game Industry
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The stunning growth of video games and virtual reality within the entertainment industry is attributable to two core segments: youth and multicultural consumers. Brands need to understand how to leverage this passion point to activate these key segments as gamer culture continues to blend with the mainstream.

By 2023, U.S. revenue from video games, eSports, and virtual reality entertainment will exceed that of either traditional cinema or over-the-top (OTT) video streaming. A massive portion of this spend will be due to multicultural consumers, the segment responsible for 94 percent of growth in video game expenditures between 2010 and 2017. But it’s not just multicultural America—81 percent of U.S. consumers play video games!

Here’s what this opportunity means for marketing strategies:

1. Representations of video games and gaming culture are increasingly important in advertisements portraying multicultural and youth segments.

2. Gaming-focused social media platforms, like Twitch and Mixer, offer new channels to communicate with a growing share of your target consumers

3. Gaming conventions and eSports tournaments, such as E3 and PAX, provide new opportunities to demonstrate a shared passion for this growing source of entertainment.

4. Gaming influencers can speak authentically and directly with tens of millions of online followers across both mainstream and gaming-specific media channels

Games and gaming devices present unlimited potential for branded content, in-game activations, advertising, and marketing innovation

As gaming rapidly becomes a mainstream form of entertainment media, it’s becoming increasingly important for brands to understand consumers as gamers—their video game related attitudes, preferences, and behaviors.

The first thing brands need to know is that video games present multiple opportunities to connect with and activate consumers. Much like OTT streaming, there’s an ever-growing list of titles and genres of games available across a variety of devices. And like traditional sports, individuals will sometimes play video games by themselves, and sometimes watch others play. And even when consumers aren’t engaging with video games directly, they follow gaming influencers, share gaming memes, and attend gaming conventions.

Brands also need to understand how to activate consumers through video games. From real-world influencer partnerships and eSports sponsorships to in-game branded content and “avatar activations,” getting video game marketing right requires knowing where your brand has permission to play, and which consumers you are likely to reach.

To provide Collage Group members with an introduction to video games and the consumers who enjoy them, in July 2019 we conducted a nationally representative survey of 1097 respondents, oversampling Gen Z, Millennial, Black, Asian, and Hispanic consumers across acculturation levels for precision within these segments.

Strategic takeaways from our research include:

  1. Gen Z gamers are more likely to watch casual streaming than eSports. Partner with the online/social media streamers delivering casual entertainment to this emerging consumer segment.
  2. Hispanic gamers are most likely to make gaming part of their social lives. Prioritize multiplayer and “party” games, as well as activations at gaming conventions, to reach Hispanic consumers.
  3. Younger gamers are more comfortable with branded content in their games. Think outside of the box! Look out for the opportunities virtual worlds present to show off your brand’s personality.

Understanding how multicultural and youth consumers approach entertainment media is essential for marketing to these already powerful and ever-growing segments.  If you are interested in having an initial conversation with our consulting team about methods to deal with this topic, please contact us directly.

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Collage Group Puts Brands and Ads at the Center of Membership in 2020

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Collage Group 2020: Putting Brands & Ads at the Center of Membership
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Three factors are leading us to change our research model to put your category, brands and ads at the center of everything we do.

Learn more about our 2020 research agenda and how our syndicated research platform can help you save money and time.

Factor 1. Every Brand Now Faces Three Moments of Truth with Multicultural America

When it comes to high likelihood that your next consumer is multicultural, ask yourself these questions. 

Do you really understand this consumer?  Do you understand her category-specific motivations, behaviors and needs?  And finally, are you activating with culturally fluent brand equities that drive cross-over appeal?

Factor 2: The Rise of the “New Wave,” The First Generation That is Intrinsically Diverse

We recognize that the evolving population dynamic in America has now firmly placed multicultural at the center of all marketing. It’s not just that Multicultural is big, it’s that Multicultural influences all other demographics.

This is especially true for the generation of Americans between 18-39, which we call the “New Wave.”  This generation is the first to grow up in what we call an intrinsically diverse environment.  While far more diverse, the New Wave share an orientation toward inclusion and diversity not seen in older generations.

And they are now rapidly increasing their spend.

Factor 3: The Cultural Fluency Imperative

Our mission is to help our members increase Cultural Fluency, not just better target specific ethnic segments.  Cultural Fluency is the ability to use culture to connect effectively and efficiently across segments.

We have therefore now invested heavily to offer three new research initiatives that place category, brands, and ads at the center of everything we do.

The Category Essentials: Insights into How Diverse America Views Your Category

With our sharp understanding of cultural variation at the category level, we can reveal distinctive behaviors, motivations, and usage patterns that arise due to culture.

We will extend the reach of our cultural attributes and group traits methodology to help brands better understand the efficiencies and opportunities that stem from putting culture at the center.

“CultureRate:Ad and CultureRate:Brand:” Measuring the Cultural Fluency of Your Ads and Brands

Our vision is to build a database that measures the Cultural Fluency of both our member’s brands, their advertising and their category peers.

By building a database on the Cultural Fluency of America’s leading brands and ads we hope to motivate more inclusive advertising that drives up Cultural Fluency across every category. Using CultureRate:Ad and CultureRate:Brand to measure performance is a critical first step to Cultural Fluency.

Cultural Fluency Solutions

Finally we recognize that even this new level of detail about your categories, brands and ads will not answer all your questions, nor should it. For this reason, we are upgrading our entire suite of custom engagements to put cultural fluency at the center, to extend the authenticity and impact of all your marketing.

Related Content

Safeguard Your Brand Against Ad-wary Online Streaming Viewers

Safeguard Your Brand Against Ad-wary Online Streaming Viewers
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To effectively capture consumer attention, marketers must understand the ever-changing media landscape. Leverage these insights to optimize your ads for the modern TV consumer.

Don’t Miss The Next Webinar

Appeal to Gen Z and Millennial Passions

March 12, 2020

As internet speed and viewing options continue to increase, more consumers are opting for online over-the-top (OTT) streaming services. One result of this is that viewers are consuming media in more contexts: on the-go, at home, alone, with company, and at all hours of the day. These different contexts directly affect how, where, and whether viewers see ads. Smart brands see this shift in how viewers consume media as an opportunity to tailor their marketing campaigns to optimize viewer impact.

The first step in this process is to recognize and activate on the crucial role cultural background plays when it comes to online streaming. We’ve identified six places where culture shows up that brands can leverage: content, consumer behavior, devices, advertising, language, and price.

One of the key ways that consumers are looking to customize their experienceespecially Hispanic and Black viewers—is by opting out of ads, even if this requires payment! Given consumer interest and the increasingly available option for consumers to opt out of ads, brands need to understand what sort of advertising consumers find engaging and are willing to watch.

So, what type of ads do people prefer?

  • – Across groups, people most appreciate ads that are “fresh.” This is crucial to stay relevant and capture attention in an over-stimulating, information-heavy world

  • – In terms of ad content, Hispanic consumers like when advertisements mirror the tone of what they’re currently watching so that it feels more like a seamless experience
  • – Multicultural viewers across the board are especially likely to enjoy ads that feature their favorite actors from the shows they’re watching

In addition to the content of the ads themselves, we see from the data below that almost half of all consumers, especially Black and Hispanic viewers, simply want the option to choose which ads they watch. Consumers have control over so many other aspects of their media-streaming experience that now active ad choice is becoming a desire and even an expectation.

Not only do consumers want to choose the ads they watch, they also have strong preferences around how they experience ads. When choosing their optimal ad breaks, most consumers prefer fewer but longer breaks so that their viewing is interrupted less often.

Within those longer breaks, Black and White consumers lean towards fewer and longer ad spots which indicates a desire for deeper narratives. On the other hand, Asian and Bicultural Hispanic viewers more heavily favor a host of shorter ads that take place consecutively during longer breaks. This may reflect a preference for fresh, eye-catching visuals over ad plot development.

The outlier here is Unacculturated Hispanic viewers, who prefer many short ads that happen during shorter, more frequent breaks. This group’s strikingly different preference merits a targeted advertising approach to keep them engaged.

Executional Strategies

In order to excel in this competitive advertising space, brands need to take notice of consumer demands and rise to the occasion! The following executional strategies illustrate emerging ad trends in digital media that align with consumer interests.

The first is a direction towards non-disruptive advertising formats that don’t distract the viewer from the content they’re enjoying. The underlying motivation here is to improve the advertising experience for viewers. Recent developments in this area include “pause ads” and “binge ads.”

  • Pause ads are advertisements that appear on the viewer’s screen when they pause what they’re watching. This non-intrusive approach takes advantage of the time when viewers aren’t actively watching their show and are least likely to mind seeing an ad
  • Binge ads are those that are targeted specifically to viewers who binge, or marathon, their content. When a viewer exhibits binge-watching behavior, streaming platforms can reward their high engagement with ad-free episodes “sponsored” by a brand

Binge ads work well across the market by playing into consumer behavior trends that already exist. As you might expect, binge watching is popular for pretty much everyone. More than two-thirds of each segment—except for Asian consumers—tune in for long spans at a time and will likely appreciate these relevant binge ads.

Secondly, a push towards interactive user experiences is bringing innovations like choice-based ads and shoppable ads.

  • – Choice-based ads permit viewers to choose which ads they want to see from a brand. This option gives viewers the flexibility to tailor their advertising experience to what’s most relevant for them

  • – Shoppable ads
     allow viewers to learn more about brands and streamline the process of buying products featured in advertisements. This includes scannable QR codes or information sent directly to a mobile number or email associated with the viewer’s account

As you can see, there are many distinct nuances in media preferences and behaviors across cultural segments. Knowing your audience will help you meet them where they’re at. When you’re strategizing for your next media advertising campaign, keep these key takeaways in mind:

      1. Consumers most prefer ads that are “fresh.” Incorporate of-the-moment trends into your advertising to capture the attention of viewers across the board
      2. Most viewers want fewer but longer ad breaks. Aim for a “sweet spot” of medium-length ads to appeal to the general audience, or take a targeted approach for specific segments by altering ad length to fit their preferences
      3. Take advantage of innovative advertising formats emerging in OTT media. Consumers are eager to experience things in a new way, and many of these new formats will improve their overall viewing experience, like binge ads

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