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The Gamer Advantage: Comparing the Unique Media Habits of Gamers and Non-Gamers for Strategic Advertising

María Paz Cañiza, Senior Research Analyst, Activision Blizzard Media

María Paz Cañiza, Senior Research Analyst, Activision Blizzard Media

June 27, 2024

10 minute read

The media habits of gamers and non-gamers differ significantly, with gamers proving to be high-quality media consumers and high-value audiences. These behaviors present a significant opportunity for advertisers to tap into this valuable demographic to connect with players both within and outside their favorite games. For advertisers and brands, understanding these media habits is not just about reaching a market of 3.4 billion players; it's about tapping into a dynamic and influential community that can amplify brand messages and drive engagement. Gamers' preference for digital platforms, their active social connections through entertainment, shopping prowess, and their higher engagement rates present a multitude of opportunities for strategic advertising.

New research from Activision Blizzard Media provides a detailed exploration of the unique characteristics of these groups, offering a new perspective on why gamers are a key demographic for advertisers.

Two young women play on their phones together.

Social Connection and Mood Enhancement Through Entertainment

Gamers see entertainment as a bridge to social connections, with 37% acknowledging that entertainment brings people closer, compared to 31% of non-gamers. This suggests gamers place more value on the social aspect of entertainment and may be more likely to engage with content that promotes community and shared experiences, presenting a golden opportunity for ads that highlight social activities or communal enjoyment.

Additionally, a significant 54% of gamers believe that their entertainment choices positively impact their mood, a sentiment less common among non-gamers at 45%. This insight is particularly valuable for advertisers aiming to create campaigns that evoke positive feelings, as gamers are receptive to content that boosts their spirits.

A Digital-First and Tech-Savvy Audience

The analysis reveals that gamers prefer digital media over traditional formats, with daily engagement in activities like music streaming, YouTube, and TV streaming services tracking higher among gamers compared to non-gamers. In contrast, non-gamers have a higher daily engagement with traditional media such as reading magazines, listening to news, and watching live TV. By targeting gamers, brands, and advertisers can effectively reach a demographic that is highly engaged with digital content daily. 

Gamers not only spend more time engaged in digital entertainment but also show higher consumption rates in tech and entertainment-related products. For instance, gamers are more likely to purchase computers, mobile phones, and tablets compared to non-gamers. They also exhibit greater engagement in streaming and entertainment subscriptions, making them a prime target for tech companies and digital entertainment services.

Additionally, compared to non-gamers, gamers are twice as likely to own the latest products themselves, and 1.3 times more likely to appreciate ads that introduce them to new products. This makes them not only early adopters, but key influencers within their social circles, driving trends and encouraging others to follow suit.

A young man wearing a gaming headset games on his cellphone.

Influential in Social Circles

Gamers are notable influencers within their social networks, making them a prime target for advertisers. Our data shows that gamers are 1.6 times more likely than non-gamers to offer advice on purchases to friends. Additionally, 14% of gamers recommend products on social media, significantly higher than the 7% of non-gamers. This indicates that gamers are more engaged and influential regarding products and brands, and their recommendations are seen as trustworthy and valuable within their communities. 

Gamers' influential role is further supported by their research-driven purchasing behavior, with 38% enjoying learning about new products or entertainment compared to 27% of non-gamers. This thorough approach to researching products suggests that gamers are not only informed consumers but also credible sources of information within their social circles.

By understanding these traits, advertisers can strategically target gamers to amplify their reach through word-of-mouth and social sharing, leveraging gamers' influential positions within their networks for maximum impact.

Advertising Preferences and Late-Night Media Engagement

Gamers prefer ads that are tailored and relevant, showing a stronger appreciation for targeted advertising, with 29% compared to 22% of non-gamers. They also value endorsements from admired personalities more highly, with 13% compared to 8%. Additionally, 25% of gamers favor seeing ads from their favorite brands, compared to 18% of non-gamers. Advertisers can leverage this by creating targeted and influencer-led campaigns to resonate with this demographic. Gamers also favor reward-based advertising, with 39% compared to 29%, suggesting a value-exchange model is effective for higher engagement.

Gamers are more likely to purchase after seeing an ad, with 18% compared to 13%, and appreciate ads introducing new products, with 31% compared to 23%. However, both gamers and non-gamers dislike interruptive ads, so advertisers should use integrated ad formats to maintain a positive brand image. 

We also found that during late-night hours gamers demonstrate higher content consumption rates than non-gamers across all measured activities. For instance, gamers are more active during late-night hours of 10 PM-6 AM, with 41% watching TV on streaming services in contrast to 28% of non-gamers. This trend presents an opportunity for advertisers to reach an attentive audience in the late-night hours when gamers are most engaged and non-gamer activity is lower. 

Not a Niche Market

Gamers are not just a niche market but a dynamic community that exhibits distinctive and valuable traits for advertisers. They are digitally savvy, socially connected, and highly influential, making them an ideal audience for targeted, innovative advertising strategies. For brands looking to tap into a vibrant and engaged demographic, understanding and leveraging the gamer advantage could be the key to success in a competitive digital marketplace.

About the Author

María Paz Cañiza is a Senior Quantitative Researcher and Analyst at Activision Blizzard Media. In this role, she analyzes and interprets raw data to generate unique insights about gamers, advertising, and the gaming industry. María is also responsible for designing analytical tools using programming languages such as Python and SQL. Before joining Activision Blizzard Media, she worked in quantitative roles across various sectors, including consultancy for the International Labor Organization. She holds an MSc in Business Analytics from University College London, and a BSc in Mathematics and Statistics from the National University of Asunción.

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