Jacob Howard, Key Account Manager at Abios, writes for Esports Insider to detail how to create an engaging esports product and what esports audiences look like.
Many news and content sites venture into the promised land of esports, especially as the industry has shockwaves in the business world. As astonishing as it sounds, esports has amassed a market size of $1bn.
For Abios this is old news. As gamers and a part of the industry, we’ve had first-class tickets to see esports’ potential and growth. During our eight years in the business, companies have come and gone. Nevertheless, the pandemic gave the esports industry a welcome boost which, in turn, developed its global audience into a prime contender in popular culture.
This experience hasn’t only highlighted the pitfalls of different business models and takes on the esports audience, it has provided opportunities to study products that work and give value to esports audiences and fans.
Understanding the Audience
When looking at the fundamental demographic of the esports audience, it’s male-dominated with the mean average viewer being 32 years old, according to IDC and Esports Charts. This places the demographic somewhere among Gen Z and millennials. Not surprisingly, both generations like to consume social media for news, content and educational material, making it harder to create value through thought pieces and blog posts. As everyone is posting content simultaneously, social media becomes a crowded space.
Although social media makes for a great platform to share and showcase content, it lacks brand loyalty capabilities that magazines and content platforms used to have. When looking at news sites, major names such as Forbes, The New York Times, and BBC still hold a certain weight. However, for people who aren’t in the industry, a lot of other news items just get consumed through a Google search, without giving attention to the site the article is written on.
If looking at the esports audience with these newfound glasses, there are a couple of conclusions; brand loyalty is hard to achieve and new content constantly needs to flow into the social mediasphere for a brand to be seen. Even if this is the heart of organic social media and inbound marketing, there is more than meets the eye.
Creating Products that Engage
Creating products that are truly engaging for the esports audience will help consumers come back. As the younger generations are presented with many choices, some tend to just stick with what they like. If one can provide a one-stop shop for esports content, they don’t need to look anywhere else therefore, it’s important to decipher what esports fans want. Everything is not black and white, but it’s important to know the audience before creating a product. Here are some factors to take into account.
Community: The growth of esports has largely been community-based. From chats on discord to interactive streams, successful esports influencers and brands have found ways to communicate with audiences in an authentic way through digital means.
Showcase the most important metrics: Esports fans are just like sports fans, they want to follow their favourite teams and see the most enticing matches. To be able to showcase that and give the audience what they want can be incredibly beneficial. This doesn’t just have to be articles, but showcasing the latest tournaments, match calendars and streams on platforms which enables fans to always be in the know of the next tournament.
Digital-first: The esports audience is a tech-savvy bunch. Growing up in a technological society, Gen Z and X are used to smooth transactions and support. Because of this, it’s important to extend this level of thinking to every aspect of the product, whether it be the UI, the customer service or the loading speed of the website. The audience expects everything to run smoothly.
Create engagement at in-person events: While most of the action in esports happens in the digital world, many fans dream of attending their favourite tournaments in different parts of the world. Attendees of events are traditionally the fans most engaged in the teams, players, and esports as a whole, making physical brand presence increasingly beneficial.
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