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Navigating the new era of mobile gaming with TikTok: Strategies for success

TikTok and the National Research Group (NRG) have introduced a whitepaper called “A New Era for Mobile Gaming”. This announcement coincides with unprecedented growth in the South African gaming industry with 40% of the country’s population being gamers – most of which prefer to play via mobile devices, according to the PwC’s “Africa Entertainment & Media Outlook 2022-2026” report¹.

The industry landscape change

Mobile gaming now accounts for more than half of the industry’s total expenditure, with predictions indicating that by 2024, one in four people globally will engage in it². As a major shift in the mobile gaming landscape is taking place, the report outlines key factors crucial for success in the industry. It reveals that marketers must adapt their strategies to prioritise long-term player loyalty.

Success in this new landscape revolves around three core pillars: establishing cultural relevance, building connections with players and fostering a sense of community. The evolution of the mobile gaming landscape has brought with it a new type of mobile gamer. Understanding the modern gamer will be vital for any publisher looking to establish player trust in this new environment and successfully engage their target audience.

Sezer Degirmenbasi, Head of EMEA Mobile Gaming, GBS, TikTok, shares: ‘We are proud to see that over half of modern gamers post gaming content to TikTok and more than 30% of them are early adopters of new games. TikTok has proven itself to be the main source for new game discovery, especially when it comes to new titles. This brings plenty of opportunities for publishers wishing to promote mobile games on the platform and boost gamers’ engagement starting the early launch stages. Hopefully, this report will provide them with actionable recommendations to bring their marketing strategies to a new level.’

The whitepaper identifies three essential strategies for connecting with this influential group:

– Cultural awareness: Modern gamers are nearly five times more likely to follow popular culture globally, making this group trendsetters in the gaming community³.

– Influencers: Modern gamers are two times more likely to share their opinions on new products, establishing this group as influencers within their social circles.³

Brand loyalty: Modern gamers are 1.6 times more likely to express brand loyalty, a valuable trait for marketers seeking to build lasting connections³.

Digital platforms: A conduit for modern gamers

According to the report, over half of modern gamers believe that it is important for a game to be popular on online platforms when deciding which game to play. For them, this decision also hinges on a few key factors:

– Modern gamers are 28% more likely to recommend games that they perceive as culturally relevant, highlighting the importance for brands to incorporate current trends into game marketing.

– A significant part of modern gamers express a desire to engage with games that demonstrate a genuine understanding and care for their needs as players, emphasising the importance of building trust and fostering meaningful connections. Thus, almost 3/4 of modern gamers want to play a game that “understands” them as a player, 71% of them prefer to play games from the brands they trust, and they are 27% more likely to recommend a mobile game they believe cares about their fans.

– Community plays a pivotal role in sustaining player engagement, with modern gamers actively participating in discussions and content creation related to their favourite games. More than 60% of them believe that connecting to like-minded players through mobile games is important. For brands, a strategic recommendation is to establish a presence on TikTok, where modern gamers are notably active, leverage creators and user-generated content to keep the game within ongoing conversations. Modern gamers, who are 27% more likely to recommend games that their friends talk about², value community-driven experiences. Partnering with creators amplifies this effect, fostering a community around the game.

¹ “Africa Entertainment & Media Outlook 2022-2026”, PwC

², “The State of Mobile 2023”, January 2023

³ TikTok Marketing Science Global, “A New Era for Mobile Gaming,” 2023, conducted by National Research Group (NRG)

Disclaimer: TikTok explicitly disclaims any responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained within this document and does not commit to updating it. The document’s past performance should not be seen as an indicator of future results.

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