By Rumbi Pfende
It’s time for the much anticipated results of Gamehouse’s annual gaming survey - which commenced in 2009 - to be shared with Cream’s audiences across the globe. Ever since we commissioned this world first exploration into the gaming market (in collaboration with sector expert research company Newzoo in the Netherlands), the take-up response of the findings by the adverting and media industries have been quite overwhelming. Quite simply, the research firmly stamps a solid confidence that gaming is one of the most effective and fastest-growing advertising channels ever, to deliver targeted ROI not just here in the UK, but interestingly replicated across other continental countries, echoing its compelling power. The inclusion of gaming as a standard channel in media plans across European borders - driven by both brands and media planners - demonstrates its power to capture relevant audience segments through non-intrusive and highly entertaining environments. And this is now a given.
The most evocative aspect of the 2012 research has been the huge surge in the time and money that UK consumers spend playing on mobile devices, via smartphones, which increased by a mammoth 43% in time spend from last year. Of these, a significant 45% of all mobile gamers play 3 or more titles each month. Unsurprisingly, smartphones are the driving phenomenon behind mobile gaming with 75% of gamer usage. As expected, Apple retains its position as the market leader with over 24% of gamers on the iPhone handset, closely followed by Samsung with 20% share.
However, for me, the most fascinating and significant aspect of the 2012 research focuses on the UK’s appetite for spending money on mobile games with over a third (39%) doing so on their mobile phones. This equates to a massive 9.2 million Brits – a growth of over 24% from last year – certainly a statistic not to be sniffed at. The willingness to pay doesn't just stop there, with a massive 67% of mobile gamers buying more than one game per month.
We have all heard the adage that if the US sneezes, the UK catches a cold and this phrase is consistent with all of the comparable data fields between the two markets, with one notable exception however. The UK impressively leads the way when it comes to paying for mobile games with 39% versus 36% compared to our American cousins. This trend is also echoed when it comes to casual gaming, with the UK outperforming the US yet again (UK 29% vs. US 21% ).
With the UK’s fertile ground yielding such ripe pickings it is no wonder then, that many US-based gaming corporate heavyweights such as Zynga, are now migrating across the pond and opening outlets in the UK to capitalise on this burgeoning market. Whilst the demand for digital innovation has traditionally been associated with the US, it is refreshing to see that the trend has been reversed with the UK taking pole position now.
So, what does this mean to brands, marketers, advertisers and the media as a whole? It clearly defines a tangible opportunity for advertisers to hone in and specifically target their key audiences via finely-tuned gaming channels. Very few other mass media are able to even come close to this level of efficacy and the mere fact that independent research verifies the power of gaming means that brands should utilise this platform as a key part of their communications armoury to raise their ROI to the max. The choice of gaming as a direct route to market should be prevalent at all times, particularly so, during times of economic hardship where every marketing penny and cent is held accountable. A straight forward concept of engaging, enthusing and enchanting your customers. But then some of the world’s best ones are those which are the simplest.
Rumbi Pfende, UK Country Manager, Gamehouse