How brands are using gaming personas to reach players effectively

Jordan Shlachter, head of measurement and insights, Activision Blizzard Media

With 3.4 billion players actively gaming, advertisers have a unique opportunity to connect with a vast, engaged audience beyond the traditional gamers marketers might initially consider.

Only 42% of video game players categorize or label themselves as gamers, while 44% do not identify as gamers and 14% aren’t sure where they fall, according to a July 2023 Activision Blizzard Media gaming study via Toluna. This variation underscores the need to shift toward recognizing the broader, more diverse spectrum of players. Moving past a one-size-fits-all advertising approach requires that brands acknowledge the varied preferences and behaviors that define today’s gaming community. 

One way brands are revolutionizing their gaming advertising strategies is by leveraging the universal appeal of mobile gaming to engage with players on a deeper level. According to new research from Activision Blizzard Media, 86% of players engage with mobile gaming at least weekly. Differences in playing behavior impact the likelihood of identifying as a gamer and how players receive and respond to in-game advertising. 

Activision Blizzard Media’s latest research, ‘The Many Ways We Play: A New View of Game Players,’ uncovers the ecosystem of players, transcending traditional stereotypes and showcasing the multifaceted nature of players. The findings shed light on the intricate relationship between gaming platforms, player motivations and the implications for advertisers aiming to reach this dynamic audience.

How diverse audiences are shaping the future of gaming

Gaming is not a monolithic activity but a rich tapestry of experiences that vary across platforms and player preferences. 

In Activision Blizzard Media’s survey of more than 10,200 players, two primary groups emerged: mobile-centric players preferring to game on mobile devices, and multiplatform players engaging across mobile, PC and consoles. This distinction is crucial for understanding the gaming landscape, as it reflects not just a choice of technology but a deeper connection with gaming culture and identity. 

Within these two categories exist three player segments, for a total of six. Mobile-centric players include gaming veterans, late adopters and casual connectors. Multi-platform player personas include up-and-comers, new media consumers and the devoted.

Mobile-centric players view gaming as entertainment or a social connection

The mobile-centric group is diverse, encompassing experienced and newer players. 

Gaming veterans are seasoned players who have previously dabbled in many gaming platforms and genres but primarily focus on mobile and PC gaming. Late adopters discovered gaming later in life, mainly through mobile, and prefer match-3 (i.e., tile-matching) and puzzle games. Casual connectors view games as a means of social connection and show more positive associations with gaming than other segments.

Despite their differences, these players share a commonality: gaming is an integral part of their lives, whether as a source of relaxation, entertainment or social connection.

Among the defining traits of this group is that almost all of their gaming time is spent on mobile devices. They also tend to be individuals who didn’t grow up with gaming or discovered it later in life. They usually don’t identify as gamers, though some in this group still value gaming as a means of socialization.

Multi-platform players are deeply immersed and more receptive to advertisements

Multi-platform players represent the core of gaming culture. They are deeply immersed in the gaming ecosystem and often strongly identify with the gamer identity. 

The up-and-comers view gaming as part of their upbringing and general culture. New media consumers are engaged with the latest in gaming and technology, as influenced by the most recent decade of gaming entertainment. The devoted are players who find significant value and identity in gaming, viewing it as more than a hobby. These segments engage across multiple platforms, signifying a profound commitment to gaming as a primary form of entertainment.

As a group of multi-platform players, their defining characteristics include gaming across multiple touchpoints, including mobile, PC and console. They consider gaming their primary source of entertainment, deriving personal value. They generally view advertisements more favorably, particularly those involving influencers.

Brands are leveraging consumer insights to reach unique gamer audiences

Across these six segments, there are several overlapping qualities such as the widespread appeal of mobile gaming. Puzzle and casual games also hold a special place among the segments, with half of all players participating. Likewise, a common preference for games providing relaxation was noted, with 64% of players turning to games to unwind. 

However, substantial differences exist in how groups perceive and interact with in-game advertising, necessitating tailored advertising strategies that resonate with each unique audience.

A nuanced understanding of these audiences is crucial as gaming’s role in digital entertainment and consumer engagement continues to evolve. By embracing the gaming ecosystem’s diversity and leveraging community insights, brands can create meaningful and impactful advertising experiences that forge genuine connections with players across this dynamic landscape.

The future of gaming offers unparalleled opportunities for brands to engage with a diverse and passionate audience. Brands and their partners recognize the myriad ways people engage with games, crafting marketing experiences that rival the engagement and excitement of the games themselves, unlocking a new realm of potential for meaningful in-game advertising experiences that resonate with the people they reach.

Sponsored by Activision Blizzard Media

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