The top 3 ways video game brands win on social

October 4, 2017

Written by NewsWhip

Gamers are inherently social media users. Here’s how brands reach out to speak their language.

With the emerging popularity of eSports and sites like Twitch, the gaming community has grown considerably in size and in closeness in recent months. It’s no mystery then that social media has come increasingly to the forefront for video games and the gaming community.

The eSports industry at large is predicted to amass around $800 million in ad revenue by 2019 and, as such, it is ripe with opportunities for brands and advertisers. Seeing what an expansion on social the gaming community has fostered, we used NewsWhip’s Analytics to research the impact of five top video game companies on social – including Blizzard Entertainment, Nintendo, EA Games, Ubisoft, and Naughty Dog. We wanted to take a further look at what tactics video game brands employ to engage with their audience.

Upon first glance in our analysis, we noticed that of the companies we looked at, Nintendo, EA Games, and Blizzard Entertainment were having a lot of success. 

Blizzard topped the engagement leaderboard on both Facebook and Twitter, but interestingly enough, Nintendo performed well on LinkedIn, usurping Blizzard’s top spot. This is in part due to the release of the Nintendo Switch and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild from earlier this year. In fact, articles shared on LinkedIn brought on average 95 percent of Nintendo’s total engagement versus other platforms this past month.

This success could be in part due to the fact that Nintendo’s super fans have grown up and migrated to LinkedIn, where news about their favorite brand and products encourages nostalgia and hype. In addition, when comparing domains, Nintendo published twelve times the amount of content than competitor Blizzard, whose posts involved updates on the Blizzard corporate culture.

From these observations, it seems that Blizzard’s successful and popular content is not necessarily product news but culture and community news, whereas Nintendo’s and EA’s successful content is information regarding the release of games and new products. So how do these companies garner such a response from their audiences? Here are the top three tactics we discovered these brands are using.

Create a Relationship with Your Audience

Blizzard Entertainment has the highest engagement this past month, at nearly 20,000 total engagements, with around 77 percent of that engagement coming solely from Facebook, despite having the lowest post count of all analyzed video game publisher domains.

How does Blizzard still manage to garner such interaction, then? Interestingly enough, Blizzard has not released any games in 2017 (all of the other four analyzed brands released games this year)  but have still managed to maintain a large engagement with their audience by staying active across all social platforms since they respond to their audience’s comments every day. In this vein, Blizzard has managed to create an interactive relationship with their audience that continues to drive engagement and following.

Blizzard also tops Twitter engagement because they constantly respond to comments and queries, encouraging excitement from fans about Blizzard as a brand, its culture, and their products.

In particular, they utilize a tone and voice that is relatable to their audience by incorporating jokes and memes from characters in their products, as well as replying to fan excitement in gifs. They also maintain several active customer service accounts that are constantly updating in real time to resolve issues and provide as much support and help to their audience as possible.

Looking at this, we see the way that Blizzard has successfully created a trusting relationship with their audience that keeps them returning to their social channels and reposting their content as if Blizzard was their intimate friend, and not a brand.

Staying in Touch with Your Audience’s Interests

Recognizing that companies like Blizzard can keep engagement up by establishing a connection with their audience, we wanted to analyze how exactly they maintained that relationship. 

When we analyzed the Facebook pages of these companies a little further, we noticed that social community is the underlying theme of the overall top performing content. Nintendo, Blizzard, Naughty Dog, and Ubisoft all had high engagement on their Facebook pages for the month, with the top content involving opportunities for audience interaction, for example; Naughty Dog posted some fan art that allowed their audience to be recognized by both the company and its community.
Additionally, Blizzard amassed top reactions over other publishers, with the “Love” reaction making up 73 percent of all reactions received on their Facebook page; it seems that audiences love interacting with Blizzard!

While Blizzard topped the “love” category with nearly 19,000 engagements, Nintendo usurped its top spot in the “wows” category by nearly 23 percent; audiences were certainly wowed by the Switch this year.

Blizzard had three posts in the top ten highest overall engagement for the month, 61 percent of which are Facebook statuses rather than photo or video posts, again insinuating that their social success comes from fostering a relationship and discourse with their audience rather than inundating them with media.

Driving and Maintaining Audience Interaction

From what we’ve analyzed so far, we know that community-building and interaction is an important part of these video game brands’ social strategies. One of Naughty Dog’s most engaged-with posts is an open letter from a video game director of The Last of Us (an incredibly popular game from 2013 that was a major driver for the brand and received critical acclaim from dozens of publishers) to the brand’s community. Ubisoft’s top content involved a photo collage of fans at one of their recent conventions and Blizzard’s most popular content comes from linking to live video.

Video is a huge percentage for audience interaction with these companies, especially live video; for instance, of all posts, video drives 93 percent of EA Games’s total engagements on Facebook. When analyzing further, four out of five of our compared publishers only produced native video content; despite native video only comprising 60 percent of Naughty Dog’s published content, it drove 91 percent of its video engagements. Since streaming is such an integral part of the gaming community overall, it isn’t a surprise that these brands are utilizing video to let their audiences see the faces behind the brands and also provide a platform for the audience themselves to gain recognition.

By allowing fans to participate in brand news and culture by incorporating live video, posting fan art and cosplay, and being genuinely open with their community, these brands have taken advantage of an incredible opportunity to maintain and grow audience engagement.

Interested in our data? Sign up for a demo of NewsWhip’s Analytics and discover more ways that different brands win on social.



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