Even though YouTube isn’t a gaming platform, over half of the audience we’re calling “YouTube Gamers” visit the site on a daily basis. YouTube has become an integral part of many aspects of their lives—and there is more to gamers than you might think. Here’s what your brand needs to know.

Published
November 2016
Topics

The gaming industry in Canada has reached the next level.

According to a recent ESAC report, there were 143 studios developing games in 2013. In 2015, that number shot up to 472. Gamers are also starting to take over more broad cultural moments: Over the last 12 months, for example, "Pokemon Go" has been the top rising search topic in Canada.1

Gamers abound in Canada—and they carry serious purchasing power. To find out more about them, where they spend their time, and what influences their purchase decisions, we surveyed 4,000 adult online Canadians over the age of 18, 450 of whom turn to YouTube for gaming content. Here, we'll call them "YouTube Gamers." We found that as the gaming industry grows in Canada, so does the diversity of those playing (and watching).

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Based on this new research, here are four common myths about the audience and what the facts mean for Canadian marketers.

Myth #1: All gamers are young men
Fact: The gaming community has diversified

As more people across Canada pick up a controller, joystick, or smartphone to win the day, crush the jewels, or find the treasure, they've become a crucial audience for marketers to reach. And understanding what the audience really looks like is paramount.

If you have an idea in your mind of what a typical gamer looks like, consider these numbers:2

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With the growth and availability of new formats (VR), platforms (mobile), and genres of games, there's a game out there for practically everyone. While millennial males are still a strong gaming audience, the industry has evolved to include a wide range of diverse followers. And in Canada, gamers of all types can be found on YouTube.

Myth #2: Gamers go to YouTube only for gaming videos
Fact: Gamers go to YouTube for all kinds of content

Half of all YouTube Gamers in Canada watch YouTube gaming content daily.2 As in, every day. Every single day of their lives. So it's no surprise that YouTube Gamers say they can't live without YouTube more than any other source.2

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But that's not all they're watching and doing on YouTube. Gamers head to YouTube to stay up to date on their passions and interests.

Top non-gaming categories YouTube Gamers watch on the platform2

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Gamers can be reached through many other genres besides gaming videos. Using in-market and affinity targeting can ensure your brand is present as gamers go to YouTube to laugh at their favourite comedian's stand-up or learn how to cook the perfect steak.

Myth #3: Gamers just want to be entertained on YouTube
Fact: YouTube helps gamers make purchase decisions

Not only can your brand serve up relevant ads to engaged gamers, but a lot of these gamers go to YouTube specifically to make a decision on something they want to buy. Over half of YouTube Gamers say they use YouTube videos as a source to help inform their purchases when they are looking for a new product or service.2

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YouTube Gamers turn to product and consumer reviews to help them make decisions—and they are 33% more likely than the general population to say they watch unboxing videos to help inform a purchase decision.2

Another interesting finding from our research is that YouTube Gamers are more likely than the general online population to purchase products across all kinds of categories.

Categories YouTube Gamers are more likely to purchase than online general population2

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Gamers look to YouTube to help them evaluate and decide on which products to buy. YouTube can help your brand drive awareness and discovery with this valuable audience.

Myth #4: Gamers keep to themselves
Fact: YouTube Gamers take action and influence others

Gamers are diverse in their interests and demographics, but one thing they nearly all have in common is engaging on YouTube: 77% of YouTube Gamers take some sort of action after watching a video.2 And here's what they're doing:

Ways gamers engage on YouTube2

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Gamers aren't passive viewers or buyers, they're influencers. If they love your products, they can be powerful voices among their spheres of influence.

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Think about what segments of your brand's target might overlap with the gaming audience and how you might reach them on YouTube. Whether it's through original content from your brand, the Google Preferred Gaming category, sponsorships, or targeted TrueView ads, YouTube has ways to help your brand get the eyeballs, attention, and brand love of these engaged Canadian gamers.

Methodology
We spent the last year conducting extensive research about our YouTube audience garnering insights through qualitative groups in Toronto and Montreal and quantitative research with over 4,000 online Canadians including 450 gamers.

Sources
1 Google Search Trends, based on past 12 months since October 2015.
2 Google/Ipsos, "Human Stories Canada," June 2016, n=384 gamers on YouTube.