Online Video – A Growing Opportunity for Video Game Purchase Influence

By Patrick Courtney

A couple of notable online marketing studies found their way to my inbox recently and I thought I’d point out a conspicuous congruency supporting the use of online video as a key component of an overall marketing plan, especially for video game publishers.  Considering video game publishers make up a significant share of our client roster, I thought the following research pertinent.

UGC Creators eMarketer released some big numbers last week on the growth of user-generated content creators and consumers.  The report estimates that by 2013 the number of UGC creators will reach 115 million (just over half of all internet users), up from 83 million in 2008.  That’s significant, and indicative of the growing popularity of user-generated content (specifically video) as a platform for fluent self-expression.  And as the quantity of content increases, so too does the audience.  An estimated 70% of all internet users, roughly 155 million, will be consuming some form of UGC by 2013.

The study goes on to suggest that the growth in UGC may be unprofitable if the advertising climate for user-generated media remains stagnant, citing ‘unpredictability of UGC’ and ‘absence of ad standards’ (among others) as the culprits for these conditions.  While these issues pose a concern for a company like Google who are still seeking to profit on YouTube after its acquisition in 2006, marketers are presented with an amazing opportunity to reach their audience in an organic and credible way.

UGC ConsumersMarketing Vox covered an Ad-ology survey last week on the influence of video game selection.  The survey, called Fall 2008 Median Influence on Consumer Choice, reported that of consumers between the ages of 18-24 nearly 65% were influenced by online video.

“‘Gamers want to see new releases in action before they buy, and online video is an effective way to show actual game play,’ said C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of Ad-ology Research.”

This significant level of influence of online video on video game purchases presents an opportunity for leveraging the growing number of UGC creators and consumers.  At Affinitive, we integrate online video, official or user-generated, into the majority of our programs when it makes sense, and have experienced a great deal of success in most cases.

For example, we recently executed a user-generated video contest for the release of an RPG-style video game.  The contest was set up to encourage those who bought the game to upload their best game play videos (see an example here), with the winner earning a gift certificate and autographed merchandise.  By the end of the contest (roughly two weeks after the game’s release,) the contest had received over 50 entries totaling 300,000+ views.

That’s not to say that every marketing campaign needs online video, rather I’m simply pointing out that the audience and creators are increasing, and the influence is there.  It is a growing opportunity that should be considered when developing an online marketing strategy.