Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Online gaming and esports offer fresh opportunities for brands, finds DMA research

One in three (39%) gamers like seeing real-world brands in the games they play, according to research from the Data & Marketing Association (DMA). This figure increases to 59% for younger consumers too – those aged 25-34 years old.

In addition, a third (37%) of gamers said they would like to see more of their favourite brands in-game and a similar proportion (35%) would like to buy real versions of products they see within games. Furthermore, nearly half of gamers (47%) would like to test out products in games that haven’t been released yet from their favourite brands. For consumers aged between 25-34 years old, this figure rises even further to 62%.

Tim Bond, Head of Insight at DMA, said: “Given the significant amount of gamers’ time and attention paid to the virtual realm. This can be a real opportunity for brands to connect with groups of customers who may not typically engage with them. Many brands are already investing and creating virtual products that live inside these gaming worlds. Therefore, if you are thinking about entering the world of gaming with your brand, it’s important to understand the gamer mindset and how they are willing to engage with brands in-game.”

The research also found that nearly a quarter of UK adults (22%) have watched esports or would be keen to do so in the future. The interest in esports is also relatively balanced between men (25%) and women (19%). The rise of esports viewership could be influenced by the fact that video games are becoming increasingly popular with a wider demographic.

Bond added: “With limited opportunities for social interaction due to lockdown, online gaming and esports have become an opportunity for people to interact with others. They also offer unique moments of inspiration for avid gamers while they watch the best in the world battle it out, presenting fresh opportunities for brands to associate themselves with a growing industry and wider viewer demographic than some might think.”

Research conducted in 2020 by Foresight Factory found that almost one in five Brits (19%) said they had been gaming more since the beginning of the pandemic – including women (16%).

Furthermore, more than half of British adults (46%) said they played video games at least weekly, via any device, and over a quarter (22%) every day – especially among Gen Z (30%) and male respondents aged 16-34 (35%). It also found that 29% of UK adults played games online with others through multiple devices on a weekly basis, rising to 36% among men and 56% for those aged between 16-24 years old.

More information on the study is available on the DMA website.