Unlocking Marketing Activation in the Gaming World

Gaming has become an integral part of American culture, with 49% of American adults (over 126 million) having played a video game on any device in the past 30 days – up from 42% (108M) last year. For over 2 in 3 of these “gamers,” playing video games is one of their main pastimes and being able to access games anywhere anytime is critical. As the gaming landscape evolves, marketers must pay attention to this dynamic audience and why gamers represent a valuable activation target.

Why Gamers Matter

In-Game Purchases and Engagement

Gamers are active consumers within the gaming ecosystem. 27% of them access game reviews, seeking insights before making a purchase. Additionally, 25% rely on game walkthroughs and how-to guides, demonstrating their commitment to mastering games. 61% of gamers have made in-game purchases—whether it’s exposing new content, acquiring game currency, or customizing characters. In fact, nearly one-third have paid to unlock new levels, with black gamers being 16% more likely to pay the fee. Proclivity to make an in-game purchase starts early, with 28% of teen gamers (aged 12-17) having made one of these purchases. Marketers can tap into this engagement by strategically integrating branded content or offers within games, especially since over 60% of teen gamers notice when branded products appear in their games.

Platform Preferences

The battle of gaming consoles continues, with 31% of adult gamers playing on a PS5 (19% of teens), 22% using a Nintendo Switch (38% of teens), and 20% opting for an Xbox Series X (10% of teens). Game selection is a key factor in console preferences, and the average American household boasts 2 gaming systems. For marketers, understanding these preferences allows for targeted activations on specific platforms. Moreover, 59% of console users download or stream content from PlayStation Network, while 49% do the same from Xbox Network – and 65% recall seeing ads on one of these platforms. These platforms offer prime real estate for advertising and sponsorships.

Social Gaming and Livestreams

Gaming extends beyond consoles and PCs. 24% of Americans have played games on social media with their top platforms being Facebook (64%) and YouTube (59%), emphasizing the importance of social online gaming experiences. Additionally, 53% of adult gamers and 42% of teen gamers watch live streams, mostly to learn new techniques and tricks. Gaming content creation isn’t only for expert gamers; 42% of adults who play have streamed their own content on a live streaming platform.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is also gaining ground, with 26% of American adults owning VR equipment. Hispanic Americans are 43% more likely to own VR gear, while black Americans are 45% more likely to use VR frequently. Understanding differences in gamer demographics enables marketers to create culturally relevant campaigns that resonate with specific audiences.

Universally, the desire for immersive experiences is a key consideration for marketers exploring VR activations. In fact, 80% of VR equipment owners want retailers to offer augmented reality experiences to shop and explore products – a critical opportunity for marketers since VR owners have increased spending power with an average household income of $101K (17% higher than the average American). VR is an interesting space for marketers to consider because even 30% of non-VR equipment owners would consider using VR to have fun and 24% would use VR to travel and explore places around the world.

As gaming continues to thrive, marketers should recognize its influence on consumer behavior and pay attention to gaming industry trends. Gamers are not only passionate players but also active consumers who engage with brands within and outside of the gaming ecosystem. By tailoring activations to platform preferences and exploring social and VR opportunities, marketers can tap into this vibrant audience and create meaningful connections.

Remember, in the world of gaming, the next high score could be your brand’s success! 🎮🚀

Through MRI-Simmons' activation solution, ACT, marketers can leverage trusted and nationally representative data to target and reach Americans who play video games. Curate your audience with over 60,000 consumer elements: 1000+ attitudes and opinions, 6500+ brands in 1000+ product categories; and 90+ proprietary segments. Then, activate your audiences via the DMP, DSP, SSP, MVPD, or programmer of your choice.

Want to learn more about Americans’ gaming habits and opinions? MRI-Simmons’ Digital Life Study offers insights on how and why consumers access modern media and technology. Deeper analysis of simultaneous engagement and behaviors, as well as motivational drivers, are compiled alongside the extensive set of MRI-Simmons data.

Sources: 2024 May Digital Life Study (W24 USA); 2023 MRI-Simmons Teen Lifestyle Study.

2024 MRI Simmons Digital Life Gaming Teaser

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Emily Paschal
Emily Paschal
Emily Paschal is a Senior Researcher at MRI-Simmons, whose career spans market research, project management, and marketing. Emily plays a central role in the development and execution of MRI-Simmons’ focus studies.
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