Esports followers are a great audience for advertisers – here’s why
July 13th, 2023, Rishad Dsouza

Esports followers are a great audience for advertisers – here’s why

YouGov Global Profiles, which collects data on thousands of datapoints across various topics, also features rich data on attitudes and receptiveness to advertising. Comparing the attitudes of esports followers to the general public reveals why esports followers are a fertile audience for brands and marketers.

Esports followers are defined as those who say they watch or follow esports events on a regular basis. Given the variety of responses the dataset collects on advertising attitudes and behaviors, we’ll split the analysis into three parts – general advertising sentiments, their preferred mediums of ad engagement and attitudes to sponsorship.

General attitudes towards advertising

Firstly, it is important to note that esports followers are ten percentage points more willing to acknowledge that adverts help them make purchase decisions (51% vs 41%). They are 11 percentage points likelier than the global average to say they like brands that are willing to get involved in social issues (57% vs 46%). They are also 12 percentage points likelier than the average global adult to say they pay attention to ads at events (56% vs 44%). About half of them also say they enjoy watching adverts with their favorite celebs (50% vs 38%) and a similar proportion say they are likelier to engage with advertisements that are tailored to them (49% vs 37%).

Having established that esports fans are more likely to notice and even enjoy certain types of ads, it is essential for brands targeting them to consider their preferences because, much like the general audience, esports followers can find ads annoying. Three-fifths of both esports followers and the general population express this sentiment (58% vs 57%).

Medium of ad consumption

Given the group’s higher levels of tolerance and engagement with ads, it’s no surprise that they are more likely than the overall adult population to engage with ads across various mediums. Still, it can be instructive for brands to know exactly where esports followers believe they are most likely to notice ads.

More than half of esports followers globally say they often notice adverts while using public transport, 10 percentage points clear of the overall population (53% vs 43%). They are also markedly more inclined to conduct further internet research on products that they see advertised on the television (48% vs 37%). Two-fifths of them, compared to three-tenths of the overall population, say they are more likely to engage with social media than on regular websites (42% vs 31%).

A third of esports followers also claim to notice radio adverts more often than on other mediums (35% vs 29%) and an identical proportion of them also say they enjoy watching ads on TV (35% vs 27%).

Attitudes towards sponsorship

For brands looking to make a hyper-targeted pitch to this audience segment, esports sponsorship is perhaps the most suitable avenue. Since this segment of advertising data is also relevant to sports followers, we’ll compare sponsorship attitudes of esports fans against those following traditional sports like football, basketball, tennis and cricket.

Across a variety of attitudinal statements measuring consumer receptiveness to sponsorship, esports followers over-index compared to sports followers. They are somewhat likelier to believe that sponsorship helps keep companies relevant (62% vs 58%). They are five percentage points likelier to say they love seeing their team being sponsored by cool brands (59% vs 54%). And if sponsors ally with their teams, they are likelier to purchase from those brands. Half of them agree with the statement “if you sponsor my team, I will buy your products” compared to 43% of sports followers.

The big caveat here is that sports followers represent a much bigger share of the overall population, so it’s not a case a pitting the two groups against one another. Still, it helps demonstrate the power of sponsorship as a medium of brand building among esports consumers.

While these are statements of intent, how do these intentions bare out in practice? We have previously looked into the performance of brands with heavy esports sponsorships, and the data shows that esports followers may in fact be likelier to respond to advertising and sponsorship campaigns. Read our analysis on Consideration scores for Red Bull and Alienware here.

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Image credit: Danny Howe on Unsplash