One of the biggest opportunities to reach female consumers is gaming platforms, which are an under-utilized domain requiring a set of skills and practices uncomfortable for most of the legacy brands selling to women.

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One of the biggest opportunities to reach female consumers is gaming platforms, which are an under-utilized domain requiring a set of skills and practices uncomfortable for most of the legacy brands selling to women.

Women comprise just about half of those playing video games worldwide, or 1 billion consumers worldwide.  Across platforms — console, PC, mobile — and across specific games, there are more pronounced gender differences.  But for gaming per se, there are roughly 1 billion women worldwide playing games.

Gaming is a big category.  But for other kinds of brands, category revenues speak to the kind of commitment that players have to gaming as an activity.  Gaming players are very engaged, thus representing a sticky audience for brands that are able to get comfortable with this channel of connection.

Games tend to skew younger, but the picture of teen boys glued to video screens is a stereotype that doesn’t fully capture the breadth of gaming players.  In fact, the average age of a gamer is mid-thirties.  And 1 billion gamers worldwide are women.

Women in their mid-thirties are prime consumers of key importance to brands and retailers.  These are consumers in their peak buying years who are going through the life stage household formation.  This is the make-up of women gamers.

Male gamers are more likely to be dedicated to the game itself, whereas female gamers are more interested in the broader experience.  Women gamers find gaming to be an opportunity to connect with others and to pass the time, and thus they are an audience engaged in a moment where they are receptive to things beyond the game itself.

Much more so than men, women gamers prefer mobile games, which connects them more directly to the growth of mobile as a platform for shopping, lifestyles, and brand engagement.  Mobile gamers in general are open to advertising and receptive to brands with an in-game presence. 

Very few brands have connected with consumers through gaming platforms.  Doing so will require innovative ways of building visibility and relevance.  For almost every brand, gaming is a new channel, offering a fresh way to engage women in a relatively clutter-free environment.


How It Matters

  • What are the characteristics of women gamers compared to other women of similar ages and households? In what ways are these characteristics linked to brand or category potential?
  • What sorts of engagement or communications will resonate most effectively with women through gaming platforms, particularly mobile? How will these practices and strategies differ from those brands and retailers are most comfortable with today?
  • To what extent could gaming platforms be used to break through the clutter of messages and advertising targeting women, particularly digital clutter?
  • How does gaming change or enhance omni-channel marketing strategies for women? In what ways do these differ from those for men? Can game advertising be tied to that on TV or digital?
  • How could brands and retailers partner with gaming companies to deepen relationships with women and to build a more integrated omni-channel presence in the marketplace?
  • In what ways must brand strategies vary to reflect the differences of various gaming platforms, particularly the unique kinds of engagement that women have with each platform?
  • What is the future of gaming as a form of relaxation and decompression for women? Is it a substitute for traditional things like TV, and if so, what does that mean for its potential as a channel for reaching women?
  • Will mothers who are also gamers rely more on games for the ways in which they interact with their children? Will this, in turn, affect how children influence household purchasing decisions?
  • For dual-gaming households in which both partners are gamers, can gaming be used to sync up joint decision-making, especially for big purchases? How does this affect current strategies and practices for doing so?
  • Going forward, how likely will women be to substitute gaming for other forms of recreation and leisure? Are there tie-in opportunities for brands, particularly brands that have not done these sorts of cross-category/cross-channel promotions before?

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Dig Deeper:

  • It’s not just North America — female gamers in Asia represent a big potential audience, too.
  • Gaming ad revenues are growing.  Yet, even so, the boom in mobile ad spend has given short shrift to mobile gaming.
  • One of the newest forms of mobile game advertising is rewarded ads, which offer players in-game prizes in exchange for viewing ads.
  • The kinds of advertising practices needed for in-game ads are different than those used by most advertisers today.  One of the key requirements is for in-game ads to be dynamic.
  • Academic research has documented the potential of product placement in games.
  • Mobile gamers are more receptive to advertising than non-gamers.
  • Some brands have seen as much as a 25% retail sales boost from in-game advertising.
  • The head of a digital brand agency offers three tips for creating a memorable brand experience through gaming platforms.  Another critical thing is segmentation to customize appeals to female gamers.
  • Here are a few edifying examples of things not to do when targeting female gamers.
  • Some brands are developing special versions of their products to fit the particular needs of intensive gamers, although some of these products have been too clever for their own good.
  • Google has pledged to increase gender diversity among its mobile game developers and within its game formats to better represent the diversity of mobile gamers.

More to Know

NOTE: Women gamers enjoy different kinds of games than men gamers.  And the engagement of women is much more conducive to advertising receptiveness — they are more likely to be enjoying the entire experience than to be wholly and single-mindedly absorbed in the game.

NOTE: While women are not as engaged with games per se, they are a much more profitable user base and they are more open to social engagement within games.

Prefer mobile over other gaming platforms

Newzoo Study commissioned by Google Play, 10-65 in U.S.

Make gaming-related purchases

Among online population 10-65 in 13 countries

Install-to-purchase rate for mobile game apps:
  • For women, 16.7% and for men 9.3%
Install-to-purchase cost for mobile game apps:
  • For women, $22.99 and for men $39.32

Across 81.8M installs, June 1, 2018 to May 31, 2019, in 9 countries