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Impact Games and the Playful Future of Marketing

How playing can drive the kind of consumer engagement that builds businesses.

Impact Games and the Playful Future of Marketing

“Games are a highly measurable marketing channel for brands. Through games, brands can access real-time data on how customers engage, how long they engage for, and what engages them most.”

A compelling tool in the marketing toolbox, games offer a meaningful way for brands to educate, entertain and engage consumers. With games, brands can build trust, loyalty and create authentic relationships with customers by connecting with them in a way that rewards their time and engagement.

Games, Audiences and Data

As a largely untapped marketing channel, games also offer a new route through which brands can connect with different audiences. Brands have successfully targeted youth markets by entering preexisting metaverse game platforms like Roblox.

To avoid disenfranchising young consumers with overtly branded experiences, a delicate dance needs to be performed when navigating this new territory, as seen in the work of brands like Chipotle and Nike.

For this reason, brands need to be super clear about their brand purpose and what value they offer consumers to figure out how best to play in this new arena.

Verto Analytics found that games were not just for kids but for everyone when they discovered the brand’s typical “super mobile gamer” is a 39-year-old woman who spends an average of 14.9 hours across 127 gaming sessions a month.

Given the pervasiveness of games, brands have a direct way to cut through the world’s noise and drive deep engagement with customers across different cultures, literacy levels and age differences.

Statista reports that video games in Africa will grow to reach revenues of over US$3.6 billion in 2023. User penetration on the continent is 25.1% in 2023 and will rise to 29.0%, realising nearly 400 million users by 2027.

Beyond being fun and entertainment for customers, games are a highly measurable marketing channel for brands. Through games, brands can access real-time data on how customers engage, how long they stay engaged, and what engages them most.

These data points offer keen insights into consumer behaviour, which can be used to inform strategic decision-making in businesses.

The power of play

In many ways, play is an essential part of being human. We have been playing with and engaging in games for thousands of years, from the earliest known board games played by Egyptians more than 5,000 years ago to the mobile games, consoles and PC in today’s digital age.

Games are rooted in stories. And stories are how we have always made sense of the world. Therefore, it seems inevitable that games should serve as a core way brands communicate with customers.

It is no longer feasible for brands to try to impress through price, product or service alone. In a dense, complex, fraught and often dangerous world where consumers feel increasingly exploited, games deliver real value in the form of customer-focused experiences that are playful and more fun to engage in.

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