More than gamers: Diving deeper into one of Hong Kong’s most engaged audiences

Demographics can only reveal so much about one of Hong Kong’s biggest online audiences: gamers. Connecting on a deeper level requires looking beyond the games they play to the wide range of video content that keeps them leaned-in. Here, Google’s Iris Yang explains what we learned from Ipsos’s new research on appealing to gamers’ multi-layered interests and passions.

Today, with a population of 7.6 million — of which 96% own smartphones — Hong Kong is home to some of the world’s most hyper-connected netizens. Hong Kongers spend an average of 6.5 hours online every day and own 22.6 million mobile subscriptions. Brands in Hong Kong have many opportunities to connect with new audiences online, but to do so effectively, they need a deeper understanding of the people they want to reach.

As more marketers realize demographics are no longer the most effective way to reach audiences, the challenge has become identifying better ways to engage users — where they are, when they’re looking for brands, and on their terms. As it turns out, understanding where users spend their time reveals a lot about their interests and passions and opens the door to create more relevant, tailored online experiences.

We saw that firsthand when we looked more closely at one of Hong Kong’s most intriguing online audiences: gamers.

Hong Kong’s gamer audience

Hong Kong is currently home to more than two million mobile gamers,1 and nearly half (48%) of Hong Kong gamers play every day, compared to just 39% globally.2 To dive deeper into what makes this growing audience unique, we looked to insights from a 2019 study by Ipsos that explored their interests and passions beyond gaming — and the results were eye-opening.

Ipsos’s study found that gamers are generally higher spenders than non-gamers, with 76% of gamers willing to pay more for internet plans tailored to their needs versus 45% of non-gamers.3 And in the U.S., the world’s biggest gaming market, gamers are more likely to buy certain products than non-gamers and to be key influencers for a brand, regardless of whether or not it’s a gaming brand.

In short, gamers present an audience too large and influential to ignore. But before brands can reach this audience, it is important to understand them well.

How online video appeals to gamers

Gamers in Hong Kong are likely to spend nearly twice as much time on YouTube than the average non-gamer.4 While this might not sound too surprising, considering the huge (and growing) amount of gaming content on YouTube, what’s interesting is that gamers aren’t exclusively glued to gaming-related content — more than 1 in 3 also enjoy watching music videos, variety shows, and cooking shows.5


Appeal to the multiple layers of interests

One of Hong Kong’s leading telco companies put these insights to work on a recent campaign. In spring of 2019, csl decided to anchor its Samsung S10 device launch campaign on YouTube to connect with tech-savvy gamers. But before the launch, the brand set out to see if potential users had other notable interests beyond gaming. Here’s what they found:6

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These trends were especially pronounced in some areas when csl looked at female gamers’ habits:7

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Armed with these insights, csl and its agency, CruiSo, partnered with gaming influencer “達哥,” known for his iconic voice and signature video sign-off — “完” — to produce three video ads featuring Hong Kongers’ favorite travel destinations: Bangkok, Seoul, and Osaka. The brand centered its creative on popular local cuisine (such as mango sticky rice in Bangkok and kimchi in Seoul) that would appeal to the travel and food-loving gamers.

In this ad, csl and gaming influencer 達哥 showcase popular Bangkok landmarks and cuisine.

At the end of the month-long campaign, csl saw an impressive 21% lift in ad recall among gamers, of which women reported a best-in-class lift of 42%.

Ready to reach more gamers? Look beyond the game

In the age of intent, marketers can no longer rely on demographics to guide their creative and achieve their goals. It’s time to rethink how we reach out and speak to our audiences — going beyond broad demographic buckets to clearly understand highly niche segments based on their passions and what motivates them. Today’s marketers have the option of sticking with a traditional approach, but the alternative offers much more.

Three years on: Hong Kong’s smarter digital journey