Why Brands Should Pay Attention to Gaming UGC

Everyone is fighting for the user’s attention, and we mean EVERYONE – from brands to politicians, from content creators to government agencies. This attention, however, comes in small doses. The users hop from one thing to another, never really immersed or concentrated. They just scroll and move on.

Brands are constantly seeking innovative ways to engage with their audience. Traditional advertising methods are facing challenges that necessitate a pivot. One of the most interesting arenas for this shift is the gaming industry, where user-generated content (UGC) has emerged as a potent tool that brands can benefit from. The rise of ad blockers, the shortening of attention spans, and ad saturation across media are significant hurdles traditional advertising must overcome.

A prevalent issue facing digital advertising is the widespread use of ad blockers. In the second quarter of 2023, there were 912 million adblock users worldwide, according to Statista. This trend poses a significant challenge for brands attempting to reach their audience through conventional digital advertisements. In the context of gaming, where immersion and uninterrupted play are paramount, the presence of ads can be annoying. Remember the controversy around Assassin’s Creed mirage ad? Gamers were unhappy with the intrusive pop-up ads, especially in games that are several years old. Players think that paying for a game should exempt them from in-game advertisements. This can be debated, of course, but there’s no way to ignore the fact that gamers don’t like in-game ads. 

Brands and gaming UGC

A study by Microsoft revealed that the average human attention span has dwindled to merely eight seconds. Gamers, accustomed to fast-paced, engaging content, are likely to have even less patience for disruptive advertising. 

Ad saturation is another hurdle. Consumers are bombarded with thousands of ads daily, leading to “ad fatigue.” In such an environment, traditional advertisements often become part of the background noise, ignored by an overwhelmed audience. In gaming, where players are focused on the game itself, the impact of traditional ads is further diminished.

The Power of Gaming UGC in Digital Marketing

User-generated content in gaming represents a paradigm shift in how brands can interact with and engage their audience. UGC encompasses a broad range of content, from in-game mods and custom levels to fan art, reviews, and social media posts. This content type offers several advantages over traditional digital marketing.

User-generated content (UGC) platforms such as Roblox and Fortnite might not always be the first choice among hardcore gamers, yet their appeal is undeniable and only continues to grow. A broader range of audience is playing video games – it’s no longer an experience for hardcore gamers.

The captivating nature of these virtual worlds offers a unique setting where players are more receptive and interactive with the content that resonates with them. Such a level of engagement and relevance is hard to replicate in other mediums, providing a strategic advantage in maintaining long-term brand loyalty.

Immersive Brand Experiences

Unlike traditional ads, which can disrupt the gaming experience, UGC is a seamless part of the gaming ecosystem. Brands can collaborate with gamers to create branded in-game items, sponsor game mods, or encourage the creation of fan content that promotes their products in an organic and engaging manner. For example, a clothing brand might collaborate with a popular game to include their apparel as in-game items. This way, the content is voluntarily engaged with.

Incorporating branded in-game items or DLC can significantly enhance a brand’s visibility within the gaming community.

Gamers are Willing to Spend Money

Gamers will invest in DLC and game items, because they want to enhance the gaming experience, express individuality, and support beloved game titles or developers. Players value their digital avatars and the virtual worlds they inhabit. According to a report by SuperData, a Nielsen company, gamers spent $120 billion on digital goods in 2019 alone.

For brands, this opens up avenues for engagement. By integrating branded content as part of a game’s UGC ecosystem, companies can tap into this spending willingness, offering gamers the opportunity to engage with their brand in a meaningful, interactive manner.

By engaging gamers through in-game items, brands can cultivate loyalty and turn players into brand advocates. Exclusive content, especially when it offers real, valuable benefits within the game, can generate positive sentiment and encourage players to share their experiences with others, both in-game and through social media platforms. 

Battling Short Attention Spans

By integrating brand messages within the game content itself, companies can capture the attention of gamers in a way that feels natural and unobtrusive. For instance, engaging narratives or challenges that incorporate brand elements can keep players interested and engaged for longer periods, effectively counteracting the short attention span problem. 

In a world saturated with ads, UGC offers a unique way for brands to stand out. Content created by users for users carries an authenticity that traditional ads often lack. It also leverages the power of community, as gamers are more likely to trust and engage with content recommended by their peers.