As a platform dedicated to gamers, Nicecactus writes for Esports Insider to provide an insight into how this audience should be approached by brands.
The esports industry is growing more than ever. Last year, total esports revenues nearly hit $1bn (~£ 735m) and a fair share of that was due to partnerships and sponsorships, as companies across industries looked for ways to connect with the ‘digital native’ generation.
According to Newzoo, these collaborations were focused mostly on brand building and brand awareness, while the rest was sponsorship and to a lesser degree, advertising. All of these figures are set to grow, especially as the current climate is affected by COVID restrictions.
One thing about esports that entices investment is the fact that the industry represents a truly global audience. Millions of people worldwide are tuning into tournaments, esports events and streams, existing as a community primarily on social media channels.
However, this relatively young audience can be hard to reach, especially when using traditional marketing strategies and advertising channels. These more tech-savvy generations consume mainly online content, with platforms such as YouTube and Twitch being esports-dominant. As a result, many brands, especially non-endemic, struggle to understand how to connect with this growing and influential market segment.
That is where Nicecactus is positioning itself. The Sophia Antipolis-based gaming platform has a particular way of looking at the ‘digital native’ audience. Loïc Potages, Strategic Partnership Manager at Nicecatus, explained the company’s approach to advertising and partners: “There are several factors that affect the way we reach out to our community of gamers. We focus on telling our story and what we stand for not only through our platform, but also through numerous social media channels.”
“We are an ‘all-in-one’ gaming platform, offering gamers a chance to be the best they can. There are tournaments, tutorials and a variety of community features. A one-stop stadium, so to speak. A place to play, learn how to improve and compete with others, regardless of skill level,” he added.
“Considering the values we stand for, our community responds to us in a genuine manner. We know we have a responsibility towards our community and we believe that the way we present our partners to them matters.”
Managing such a community requires partnerships that work within the business. As such, Nicecactus employs an innovative approach focused on learning and growth. The platform offers members an array of games to choose from, plenty of tutorials at all levels and a special, data-driven tracking system that empowers decision-making by gamers.
In short, gamers can improve by reviewing their performance stats and following suggested tutorial guidelines. This form of intelligent intervention is similar to how education technology is empowering learning in academic institutions. Learning analytics is one of the cornerstones of digital transformation and e-learning.
Manou Marzban, the CMO of Nicecactus discussed the unique traits of the new-age audience: “The digital-native generations are quick at pinpointing brands that are not being real, the brands that are being fake, or those that use aggressive selling tactics. They will simply stop responding, or even avoid the brand completely.
“Companies need to be careful and cautious with this audience. We work very closely with the business and community teams to ensure we always keep it real. Keep it authentic. We make sure our technology remains true to our core principles of innovation and community.”
To ensure partnerships are managed well and campaigns land smoothly, Nicecactus has various production teams that work with the firm’s partners. “We work with companies, federations and administrations to manage tournaments and major esports events. Additionally, we provide our partners with an authentic way to engage with our community, as well as marketing support to get the best out of their investment,” explained Potages.
One of the best ways to connect with the esports audience is by association with premium esports events. The biggest names among brands, including the likes of Pepsi, Adidas, or Coca-Cola, have already started understanding this. And others are following. There are plenty of opportunities also, such as training programmes for esports athletes, branded replays, live in-stream campaigns, sponsored giveaways and much more.
According to a report by Business Insider, the esports market is projected to surpass $1.5bn (~£1.1bn) by 2023, with advertisement in esports being a key driver of revenue growth. In fact, advertising within video games is becoming a market of choice for many brands.
“It’s not like the idea of advertising in video games or gaming platforms is revolutionary, it’s actually evolutionary,” noted Marzban. “We can take traditional methods, such as billboard ads or badged player shirts and make them all virtual. Technology is becoming more and more creative in providing optimised and immersive user experiences boosted by analytics and AI and it’s all connected via social media.”
Describing the company’s recent endeavours, Marzban added: “We have just completed the Monaco Gaming Show in Monte Carlo, which was the first major esport event in the principality and the results were remarkable. We reached some exciting numbers, with over five thousand players engaged and 6.5 million impressions on social media. #MonacoGamingShow was at one point the number one trending topic on Twitter in France.”
“At Nicecactus, we appreciate the opportunity to make a difference to both our community and our partners. This was just a warm-up event, the first edition. It proved to us that esports events in Monaco have a very bright future indeed,” concluded Marzban.
Supported by: Nicecactus