Charbel Jreijri, general manager at Mediaplus Middle East, evaluates how brands can effectively leverage the emerging trend of gaming as a marketing channel.

From the first ad ever recorded to modern day advertising, the common denominator has always been the same. Marketers across all industries have the same objective: reach their customers and grab their attention across any touchpoint possible. In the last decade, we have seen the rise and fall of many such touchpoints or media channels, from newspapers to the metaverse and everything in between, the opportunities and risks are infinite. Identifying which touchpoints should be part of your mix and which ones to avoid can lead to the success or failure of both brands and marketers alike.

There are many examples of brands that caught on early to the potential success of social media, eventually becoming successful through this digital avenue. On the other hand, there are brands that took a little too long to accept this digital transformation and are now struggling to retain their market share. However, not everything with hype around its novelty will be a success. We have witnessed a few examples of different platforms’ rise to fame, only to fail miserably. Is this the case with gaming?

Gaming is now the new trending topic; however, it is not a new touchpoint. The history of gaming dates back to the 1970s with the Atari console. From then on, innovation in technology meant a constant flow of new hardware and games that increased the gaming market globally.

Let us first try and understand the reasons behind this hype: the numbers. There are over 3 billion gamers around the world, and this number is only growing. In our region, we see a similar trend with the average time spent on game consoles increasing by 25 per cent in the last 3 years to more than 1 hour and 40 minutes per day. And this is across the total population, not just hardcore gamers. In addition, 34 per cent state that gaming is the reason they use the internet.

Clearly gaming is here to stay, and it is home to a sizable audience that possesses a high disposable income. This makes marketers eager to jump on any opportunity to target gamers. However, as keen as we are to chase after this highly sought-after demographic, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. There are many opportunities for brands to establish themselves in the gaming universe – from in-game advertising, influencers, and tournaments, the options are limitless. This is where understanding both brand and audience plays an important role in identifying the right solution.

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