Why Mobile Advertisers Should Get in the eSports Game

August 8, 2018 | Article written by Carly Morris

The aftermath of the 2018 FIFA World Cup still has the sports world buzzing with excitement. But, that’s not the only sporting event taking the world by storm. On the digital end of the spectrum, eSports continue to engage players and audiences alike at a massive global scale.

In fact, this year FIFA even launched an eClub World Cup to coincide with the live events. Here, sixteen teams went on to compete for prize money and to play in the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018 Grand Final.

But it’s not just FIFA that is shining the spotlight on eSports. The average global eSports audience is estimated to reach 380.2 million by the end of this year alone. With its rapidly growing popularity, digital advertisers from every industry are looking for new and innovative ways to ride the eSports wave.


Who Watches eSports?

In the past, eSports spectators have been stereotyped as mostly middle-aged gamers, but now the audience has grown and evolved significantly. Today, eSports audiences are:
Young: Consisting mostly of Millenials and Gen Zers at an average age of 25.
Diverse: 16% are female, 15% are Hispanic, and 9% are African American.
Affluent: 43% have an annual household income of $75,000/year or higher.
Loyal & Passionate: 49% of fans spend the majority of their free time around eSports.
Engaged: Fans are intently watching gamers with the same enthusiasm as the athletes of any physical sport. They also actively engage with digital content because it provides tips and tricks they can apply when they play on their own.


How Can Brands Leverage eSports for Marketing?

58% of U.S. fans have positive attitudes toward brand involvement in eSports. So how can you get in on the action?

The key takeaway: provide value. Since many fans are tuning in to be educated just as much as they are to be entertained, advertisers should consider how they can elevate a fan’s experience through valuable, educational content that they’ll remember long after the match is over.

Think outside the box with opportunities surrounding team/player/niche event sponsorships, sponsored tips, and special events to connect your audiences in a way that’s truly meaningful.


Where eSports Needs Practice

In spite of a diverse and highly engaged audience, the eSports ecosystem still has a long way to go before it’s an ideal arena for advertisers. Before throwing your hat in the ring, consider this:
● As an extremely digitally savvy audience, 63% of eSports fans say they use ad blockers regularly.
● Brand safety is still up in the air. Where you put your brand says a lot about what your brand stands for, so it’s important that advertisers get to know the players, teams, and games before associating themselves with that content.


The Future of Esports

One of the main concerns when it comes to getting into the eSports game is the lack of historical data to back up its claims as a lucrative marketing platform.

The saving grace? In August 2017, Nielsen announced it was creating a division to research and consult for eSports. Their tracking service, Esport24, was created to help advertisers determine the value of their eSports sponsorships.

Unsurprisingly, they’ve discovered a wide spectrum of ROI on these sponsorships. While some have turned out $75,000 in advertiser value, others have produced up to $17 million.

Needless to say, eSports isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As it continues its upward trajectory, mobile advertisers should keep an eye on these events just as they might the World Cup, Super Bowl, or World Series. Just remember that eSports audiences are incredibly digitally savvy cord-cutters that are looking for valuable content to enrich their experience above all else and try to find new ways where your brand can fit into that picture naturally.