e-sports marketing

E-sports marketing: the revolution starts now

We have been hunting millennials for years, looking for them in every corner of the internet, and now we have finally found them – in the world of e-sports marketing.

The key target in the market (and beyond) is migrating en masse towards the world of e-sports, turning them into the next frontier of contemporary entertainment.

Let’s find out more.

E-sports: the fun is in the interaction

Before we get to e-sports marketing, let’s take a quick look at the e-sports phenomenon.

The basic definition of an e-sport (electronic sport) is an organised video game played at a professional level.

Whereas once upon a time opponents would line up on the football pitch to shoot penalties, they now face one another on an online gaming platform in a battle of clicks.

The power of e-sports lies not just in who is playing, but above all in who is watching. E-sports are capturing the attention of millions of young viewers across the world, who are glued to their computer screens month after month watching live-streamed e-sports matches and commenting on them. The phenomenon, therefore, revolves around co-creation: users take part in the competition and discuss it in online chats with one another and with the players, taking a single-player experience and giving it a social, immersive element.

To give an idea of the scale of the e-sports phenomenon, Twitch.tv, the main e-sports marketing streaming platform, which also happens to be owned by Amazon, boasts around 100 million visitors per month and is the fourth most visited website (after Google, Apple, and Netflix). This is an incredible number of visits, made even more impressive by the fact that each user watches an average of two hours of streamed e-sports per day, almost 50% more than YouTube views.

This monumental change has cemented the status of e-sports marketing.

E-sports marketing: a $500 million “game”

Yes, you read that correctly: e-sports marketing generated a turnover of $500 million in 2016. And, within two years, this record turnover will exceed $1 billion.

So, what is driving the success of e-sports marketing?

The answer lies in media rights, sponsorship and advertising by the most innovative brands that, by sensing a revolution, have scrambled to fill the most appealing gaps in the market.

One example is Coca-Cola – the star of the e-sports marketing world – which established itself as one of the main sponsors for League of Legends. The game has over 100 million active users per month and, during 2016 final, it reached a peak of 43 million unique viewers and almost 15 million simultaneously active users. Coca-Cola has invested so much in e-sports marketing that today it has a hugely influential twitter account, @Cokeesports, which is the company’s second largest after its main @cocacola account.

Notable brands that are riding the wave of this phenomenon include Samsung, which entered e-sports marketing as the sponsor of one of the biggest Korean teams, and Intel and Red Bull, which sponsor entire tournaments (Intel Extreme Masters and Red Bull Factions).

However, what pushes companies to make increasingly significant investments in this area? It is no doubt the sought-after target audience. E-sports marketing is the go-to channel for anyone who wants to connect with millennials (over 70% of e-sports viewers are between 16 and 34 years old), who spend large amounts of each day watching other users playing online.

Secondly, it is the extremely high engagement rate. E-sports allow the boldest brands to grow their fan base and generate a flourishing community based on their own brand.

Also, that is not to mention the conversion rate. The hours spent watching virtual matches open the door to merchandising, co-branding and sales opportunities when matches are streamed live.

So what comes next? It could be Paris 2024. The International Olympic Committee recently announced that it had recognised e-sports as a sporting activity and was deciding whether or not to include them as an Olympic discipline.

See you there?