Video games have become a key source of entertainment for millions of people who have been stuck indoors during the pandemic.
That shift created opportunities to reach consumers who are elusive to other kinds of televised advertising, especially younger viewers.
"The pandemic threw a curve ball at everyone last year, and brands really had to pivot their marketing strategies to reach consumers and innovate last year," Nick Barrionuevo, industry lead of game sales partnerships at Samsung Ads, said in this interview with Beet.TV.
"It's important to remember when 2020 began, the gaming industry was in full swing with plans to market new game launches and engage with consumers online, and throughout the year with physical events." As advertisers revamped their campaigns, Samsung Ads worked with marketers to adapt to the major shift in media consumption, using the exclusive data and insights the company gathers from hundreds of millions of smart TV, mobile and desktop devices.
"We immediately started to look at the trends and the impact of consumers spending the majority of their time at home, and brands work with us to understand how consumers were spending more time streaming content and more hours gaming," Barrionuevo said.
Source: Newzoo Game console owners last year doubled in size on Samsung smart TVs, and gamers spent 80% more time in the Smart Hub, the company's intelligent menu system, than the average Samsung TV consumer.
"This level of collaboration with our partners helped them pivot their marketing strategies toward CTV to reach these higher-engaged consumers as they discovered new content, new products and new gaming experiences on our devices," Barrionuevo said.
Because Samsung makes a wide range of products, including smart-home devices, mobile phones and smart TVs, it can provide a holistic view of consumers as they spend time with linear TV programming, over-the-top content and video games.
"With our ability to capture real-time TV and gaming behaviors on hundreds of millions of smart TVs and mobile devices, advertisers can achieve reach, scale and precision at every connected moment," Barrionuevo said.
Those advertisers can include game publishers or brands outside the gaming industry that want incremental reach among consumers.
"When it comes to activating the media, we offer ways for partners to connect with gamers through brand-safe advertising solutions across CTV, mobile, PC and Samsung smart TV experiences," Barrionuevo said.
Its platforms include Samsung TV+, the company's free, ad-supported streaming service that has gaming and esports content for TV and mobile users.
Samsung has an owned-and-operated network on the platform called Gamer 365 that has gaming lifestyle, news and esports programming.
Streaming spent by gamers last year jumped by more than 70%, and 84% of those gamers are streaming content -- not viewing any linear TV content at all.
Three out of four gamers uses a subscription or ad-supported video app.
"CTV has proven to be an effective way to engage consumers in this digital-forward media environment," Barrionuevo said.
"With the proliferation of streaming content across subscription and free ad-supported services, gamers will continue to be at the forefront of this evolving media landscape." Looking ahead at the remainder of 2021, Barrionuevo sees continued momentum for gaming and esports programming.
The recent introduction of upgraded gaming platforms, including the first Microsoft Xbox and Sony Playstation consoles in seven years, and the explosion in mobile gaming will help to support consumer interest.
"The rapid pace of technological innovation in gaming is about anticipating and servicing consumer trends, and we will see the future of gaming continue to evolve as a multiplatform ecosystem, offering consumers the ability to play on any device where and when they want with their friends, and increasingly, in a virtual environment," Barrionuevo said.
"Samsung is focused on creating experiences that work seamlessly across devices, leveraging the advancements in smart TV, 5G and mobile technologies to deliver innovative products and services to the gaming and advertising community." You are watching, "Media Innovation: What's Next," a Beet.TV leadership series presented by Samsung Ads.
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