European Game Marketing

07.03.2016

European Game Marketing

Challenges For a Successful Ramp-Up



“Europe is one big market, isn’t it?” - Developers and Publisher from Asia or America tend to see Europe as a single market with lots of opportunities to sell their products or services. And in a way, they are right: On the one hand, the European Economic Area provides for the free movement of goods, capital and services within its member states. A total population of 508 million with a general purchasing power of EUR 9.13 trillion adds up to a pretty lucrative market.

One the other hand, however, Europe consists of more than 30 different countries with 24 official languages.

European Game Market
So, what does this fragmentation mean for a successful European game marketing strategy? Let’s take a closer look at what we are talking about: 

About 275 million Europeans identify themselves as gamers or play on a regular basis; that is more than half of the entire European population. Total gaming revenues amount to about $18Bn, but numbers differ greatly from country to country. For illustration, here are some interesting examples: 

  • The three biggest gaming economies (Germany, United Kingdom and France) are responsible for over 50 percent of total European gaming revenues.
  • With a total of $3.7Bn in revenues, Germany is Europe’s biggest gaming market; but at the same time French players spend on average more on gaming than Germans (France: $164, Germany: $158)
  • Belgium and Sweden share roughly the same number of gamers – about 4.2M on the Belgian and 4.5M on the Swedish side. Each gamer in Belgium spends an average of $138 annually on gaming, while Swedes are more generous with themselves and spend an average of about $150. 

These numbers should illustrate that the game market is as equally heterogeneous as the European market as a whole. Each country comes with its own gaming culture that, among other things, determines which platforms are the most popular, how much money players are willing to spend for which kind of games etc.

Key Challenges
Anyone hoping to succeed on the European game market therefore needs to master some key challenges: 

Firstly, professional expertise on the different local conditions and markets is of vital importance. There are, for example, 116M people that watch game related online videos in the EU. But as there are so many different languages and gaming cultures, it can be hard for outsiders to identify the right influencers for their product. The fragmentation is getting to a point where even an English-speaking YouTuber with hundreds of thousands subscribers can be totally unknown to the majority of a country’s audience. 

Another example where local conditions should be taken into consideration are differences in popularity of platforms: while console gaming is hugely popular in France (72 percent play on consoles), the Gaming scene is much more nuanced and only 23 percent of gamers use consoles as their main gaming devices.

A little obvious - but nevertheless highly important – is localization: Although many people in Europe speak English, there are some markets where they either simply don’t or are not used to being addressed in any other language than their own. Marketing assets therefore need to be created specifically for a country’s audience; gamers expect to be approached in their own respective language and in a tonality to which they can relate.

On-site operations: Thanks to the nature of digital products and services, many tasks can easily be managed via internet from anywhere in the world. But there are times and circumstances when it is much more effective to be present in person. For exhibitions like gamescom - the world’s largest gaming expo with 345,000 visitors - is it quite advantageous to be on site. Local attendance is a key factor for negotiations, mediations, and reliable representation of interests towards media and business partners. Personalized counselling regarding each individual European marketplace, with its different media landscapes, gaming cultures and communities, is a crucial point of getting traction in Europe.  

Conclusion
Given the obstacles pointed out in this article, the successful execution of an EU game marketing campaign depends on five crucial elements: 

  1. A local team of people who are familiar with the hyperlocal specifics of the European game market,
  2. exact targeting of audiences, influencers and multipliers,
  3. localized creative marketing assets for each local target group, 
  4. the right pricing and bidding on each marketing channel and advertising platform,
  5. optimization of campaign KPIs on individual geo metrics. 

Furthermore, our experiences show that you need a minimum of twenty people to properly execute a Europe-wide marketing campaign. Knowledge combined with a smart selection of various advertising and targeting technologies will clear the path for successful campaigns.

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