September 25, 2023

Digital Marketing Education

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How TikTok plans to compete with YouTube and Twitch in gaming

This obviously applies to gaming brands, but what about non-gaming brands?

RV: Yes, because gaming culture on TikTok is not just about the stereotypical gamer, but also gamers from all walks of life. There’s an intersectionality of interests that happens between gaming and fashion, gaming and beauty, gaming and cooking and so on.

E.l.f. Cosmetics, for example, created an activation called “Gamers Got Talent,” which was about showcasing how gamers, in addition to their talent for gaming, have a multitude of other talents. They created a hashtag and a whole activation and saw tremendous results. 

Should brands still be thinking of gaming marketing in terms of reaching mainly Gen Z?

AS: It’s actually for all generations. Gaming is the fastest growing media in terms of our spend per day, and the growth is equal across generations, according to gaming analytics firm Newzoo. That said, a brand should want to meet the user at the early stages of their lives, preferably under the age of 40. Because this creates loyalty, and the best way to do this is through cultural relevance.

For brands, what should be the main takeaways from TikTok’s gaming trends report?

RV: Firstly, actionable entertainment. People don’t want to just passively consume content, they want to co-create, they want to be a part of the game. They want to bring the game to life in their own, unique ways through user-generated content (UGC) trends, edits, challenges and so on. 

Secondly, making space for joy, for which gaming plays a very big role. Gaming culture on TikTok is moving as fast as gaming technology and development because there are all kinds of tools and opportunities to really connect. And there’s a lot of different ways to tap into this trend. Brands can leverage feedback and comments from users. Roblox, for example, partnered with diverse creators to understand how they wanted to be represented in the game, and then created in-game assets based on that feedback.

Thirdly, community-built ideals. This trend is about the intersectionality of communities on TikTok, and how the platform is almost like a massive fan convention bringing them all together. For example, when Niantic brought Peridot, its mobile pet game simulator, to TikTok, it didn’t just look at gamers. It also looked at pet owners and parents, and they had amazing results engaging different communities.

Metaverse-adjacent platforms are very popular in gaming right now, and marketers have shown serious interest in activating them. Are there any specific opportunities that brands should consider when engaging with this space?

RV: Effect House is one tool that brands should consider. It’s an AR-related effect. With Peridot, Niantic used an Effect House challenge to help bring the characters to life. And that allows people to blend together both what is in the game and in real life.

Branded Effects is another related tool that brands can use to help bring their characters to life. What we’re trying to do with these tools, not just in a metaverse context but also in a general context, is to help marketers promote their games in more interesting, creative and innovative ways.


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