GAME-CHANGERS:The power ofgaming influencers
PART 2:Profiling the gaminginfluencer follower
IntroductionWith over two thirds of adults across the world playingvideo games at least once a week, and in-personGaming personalities entertain and engage with audiencesthat are highly loyal, and receptive to their opinions andactivities continually restricted due to COVID-19,video gaming has continued to grow in both strengthand influence in 2021. Outside of personal game play,brand recommendations. This makes the value ofinfluencer marketing for the gaming industry compelling andattractive for brand sponsors. This report is Part 2 of anearly three in ten global consumers have alsowatched a live gaming video stream (YouTube Gaming,three-part series that digs into the profile and consumerbehavior of gaming influencer followers, highlighting whoTwitch, etc.), and almost one in ten currently follow agaming influencer.they are, and how they differ by country. It also unearthswhat makes them distinct from followers of other influencertypes. Further, we explore how gaming fans connect withinfluencers, and where.This report series combines syndicated YouGov data with deep-divecustom research covering 17 international markets. See the fullmethodology here.
Gender profile of different types of influencer followers - global53%47%Follow 46%45%42%42%40%39%33%23%Reality TVTravelFitnessCelebrityHealthGeneral /LifestyleFoodFashionMaleProfiling thegaming influencerfollowerBeautyFemaleYouGov data reveals that almost one in ten globalconsumers (9%) follow gaming influencers, but how dothey engage with these personalities, and what makesthe gaming influencer fan base different from otherinfluencer audiences?When looking at adult followers of any type ofinfluencer by gender across all markets surveyed,we see that 53% are female, and 47% are male.However, among all types of influencer followers,gaming influencers have the highest proportion ofmales (69%), closely followed by sports influencers(66%). Alternatively, influencer types where femalefollowers outweigh male include beauty (77% female),fashion (67%), and food (61%).
Whilst gaming influencer followers skew heavily male, wedo see some variations in the gender balance by market.The countries with the highest proportion of female followersof gaming influencers include France (38%) and Singapore(37%); in Great Britain, US, and China, 36% of gaminginfluencer followers are female.Countries with the highest proportion of males whofollow gaming influencers, representing over threequarters in each market are Indonesia (79%) andDenmark (78%), with Poland, Germany and UAEall 76% male.Gender profile of gaming influencer followers by countryCOUNTRYMALEFEMALEGlobal ly68%32%India67%33%Australia67%33%Spain66%34%Hong Kong65%35%China64%36%US64%36%Great Britain64%36%Singapore63%37%France62%38%
Influencergender trendsWhilst 3 in 10 game influencer followers globally arefemale, it’s worth noting that currently the top gamestreaming personalities skew overwhelmingly male.In fact, in Q3 2021, 95 of the top 100 live streamingchannels on Twitch and YouTube were owned by malestreamers, with only 3% of hours watched across topinfluencers contributed by females. This disparity betweenthe proportion of female influencers vs. male followerspresents a major opportunity for the industry to attractand support more female gaming personalities.Gender of Top 100 game streaming influencers on Twitch and YouTube (Q3 2021)GENDERAMOUNTTOTAL HOURSWATCHED% 3053.3%Total1001,054,592,393–Source: Stream Hatchet, Q3 2021
Gender profile of different types of influencer followers - US teens46%25%29%46%54%75%54%Follow me56%44%Food58%58%42%Health42%MusicMaleTeen gamingpersonality 4%34%33%General /LifestyleCelebrityTravelReality TVFemaleIn contrast to American adults, US teens who followany type of influencer are more likely to be male(54%, vs. 41% US adults). In particular, a very highproportion of teen gaming and sports influencerfollowers are male (71% and 75%, respectively).Teenagers have developed a close relationship withgaming. Playing and competing in groups heightensthe sense of belongingness among teen gamers.Reflecting this, teen followers of gaming influencersare more likely to agree with the statement‘My friendship group is a really important part ofmy life,’ (81% vs. 73% all US teens).75%83%32%25%17%SocialActivistsFashionBeauty
Global profile of different types of influencer followers by age24%18%21%24%33%36%22%22%Follow 22%37%34%32%22%21%19%FitnessFoodHealth18-24Gaming influencershave a strongholdon Gen eneral /LifestyleCelebrityTravelReality TVSocialActivistsFashionBeauty16%19%25-3 435-4445 Followers of gaming influencers are also moreprevalent in younger age groups. Across the 17markets surveyed, the gaming influencer fan basehas the highest proportion of adults aged 18-24 ofany influencer category, representing a third of thesepersonalities’ followers. An additional 37% fall withinthe 25-34 age group, a combined 70% rangingbetween ages 18-34 – again, the highest of anyinfluencer type.
In peak markets, more than 8 in 10 gaminginfluencer followers are 18-34sGlobal profile of gaming influencer followers by age and countryThe countries with the highest proportion of 18-24sinclude Indonesia (46%), Germany (44%), Mexico(42%), and China (39%), whilst the US (51%),Sweden (46%) and Denmark (45%) lead for 25-34s’contribution to the gaming influencer audience.COUNTRY18-2425-34Global 32%51%Poland31%33%Great %Singapore24%36%India24%32%Hong Kong21%35%UAE18%34%
Followers of gaming influencers - number of hours spent gaming in a typical week28%50%49%31%23%GlobalTotal20%40%37%23%Germany China34%41%40%24%27%DenmarkSpainLight gamers ( 2 hou rs per week)Gaming influencerfollowers spendmore time playingvideo 1%54%54%15%21%17%21%ItalyPolandUSAustraliaModerate gamers (3-10 hours per ia17%48%34%UAEHeavy gamers (11 hours per week)It is also useful to explore the personal gameplay behaviorof gaming influencer followers. On the whole, those whoengage with gaming personalities spend more time playingvideo games relative to the broader gamer base, globally.More than 1 in 4 gaming influencer followers (28%) areclassified as “heavy gamers” (play games on any device11 hours per week), which is more than double the globalpopulation (12%). In addition, almost half (49%) of thosewho follow gaming influencers fall within the ‘moderate’gaming frequency category (playing video games forbetween 3-10 hours per week), compared to 26% amongthe global population.Countries where gaming influencer followers are more likelyto be heavy gamers vs. moderate include Germany, HongKong, and Singapore. Conversely, gaming influencers aremost likely to be light/casual gamers (play 2 hours or lessweekly) in UAE, Mexico, and France.
Smartphones/tablets most common devicefor gaming globally70%Gaming device played by gamers and gaming influencer followers - globallyTurning to devices used for gaming, over threequarters (76%) of gaming influencer followers usetheir smartphones/tablets for gaming, on a par withall gamers (75%). However, when looking at otherdevices used, those who follower gaming influencersare considerably more likely to use PCs, gameconsoles and other gaming devices compared tobroader .g. Apple iPad,Samsung Galaxy tablet)Desktop/laptopcomputerGames console(e.g. Xbox One,PlayStation 5,Nintendo Switch)Gamers (1 hours per week)Handheldgaming device(e.g. Nintendo DS)Gaming influencer followers7%12%VR headset(e.g. Oculus,PlayStation VR)
Gaming device played by gaming influencer followers - by countryLooking across the 17 international markets surveyed,for 12 out of the 17 countries, smartphones/ tablets are themost popular device used for playing video games amongthose who follow gaming influencers. Expectedly, Asia’smobile-first countries including Indonesia, China, India, andSingapore have the highest proportion of gaming influencerfollowers playing games via their smartphones/ tabletsregistering more than 80% mobile gamers in each market.Smartphone/tablet76%87% 85% 85% 84% 80% 78%76% 74%Global IndonesiaTotalDesktops/laptops are the second most populardevice used among gaming influencer followers;however, nuances exist within different countries.In Great Britain for example, games consoles arethe top gaming device used among followers ofgaming influencers (73%), outweighing PCs (55%)and mobile gaming a close third (54%). Othercountries where consoles are top include Germanyand Spain. In Poland and Denmark, PCs are themost popular gaming device among followers ofgaming influencers.IndiaSingapore ChinaMexicoHongKongUAE68% 68% 67% 65% 63%Australia PolandSwedenItalyUSSpain56% 54%FranceGB46% 43%Germany DenmarkGames console (e.g. Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch)45%25%Global IndonesiaTotal37% 48%India56%44% 43%64%44%66%56% 62% 61%73%46%53% 52%22%Singapore ChinaMexicoHongKongUAEAustralia PolandSwedenItalyUSSpainFranceGBGermany DenmarkDesktop/laptop computer56%65% 67%50% 52%Global IndonesiaTotalIndiaSingapore China55%Mexico62%HongKong72%55% 57%UAEAustralia Poland64% 64%43%SwedenItalyUS55% 51% 55%SpainFranceGB59%40%Germany Denmark
Franchise & genre trends amonggaming content fansInterestingly, YouGov BrandIndex data in the US showsthat the top gaming franchises played by fans ofgaming personalities are not dissimilar to the broadergaming audience. In fact, 8 of the top 10 franchises areconsistent across both groups, with Call of Duty andGrand Theft Auto appearing in the top three gamefranchises for both gamers and those who streamgaming content.Top 10 video game franchises played amongst gamers and live video game streamersin the USRANKGAMERSGAMING CONTENT STREAMERS1Call of DutyGrand Theft Auto2Super Mario Bros.Call of Duty3Grand Theft AutoMinecraft4MinecraftSuper Mario Bros.5FortniteFIFA6Animal CrossingMadden NFL7The SimsNBA 2K8Mortal KombatFortnite9FIFAAnimal Crossing10Madden NFLRoblox
However, we do see two clear types of video games wherestreamers heavily over-index versus broader gamers.Firstly, streamers are three times more likely to playfranchises with an active esports scene, such asHearthstone, TFT and Dota; PUBG and VALORANT alsoover-index among this audience. Secondly, niche sportstitles such as Tony Hawk, NHL and UFC also have astronger foothold amongst the streaming audience thanbroader gamers, where they are twice as more likely to beplaying these titles.As highlighted in part one of our Game-Changers:The Power of Gaming Influencers report series where weidentify the global reach of gaming influencers, there is astrong correlation between followers of gaming influencersand sports influencers. Gaming influencer followers are morethan three times more likely than the global average (index356) to follow sports influencers, so it’s not surprising thatpopular basketball simulation game NBA 2K also resonatesstrongly amongst this audience. Further, with many proathletes also streaming their own personal gameplay of thepower of live streaming and the cross-over effect it has onviewers is clear.GAME FRANCHISES PLAYED BY GAMING CONTENT STREAMERSINDEXED TO TOTAL GAMERS - TOP 10 HIGHEST INDICES1Hearthstone3652League of Legends: Teamfight Tactics3423Dota3064Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater2865NHL2616PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds2587VALORANT2308NBA 2K2239Destiny223UFC22210
Accessing gaming influencers:platform engagementUnderstanding how followers reach and engage withpersonalities is crucial to successfully leveraging influencermarketing. Enabling ‘anytime, anywhere’ access to thegaming ecosystem, smartphones and social mediaplatforms are the glue binding the gaming communitytogether. This section explores which platforms act asconsumer points of access to gaming influencers.
Channels used for following influencers among global gaming influencer fansGaming influencers indexedagainst any ok38%Twitter23%Twitch129103111141157273Podcasts (e.g. Apple,Spotify, Amazon 21811%1002%Chinese-exclusive streaming platforms not includedTwitch over indexesamong gaminginfluencer fansTurning to channels used to follow influencers of anytype, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook are the topthree channels, all registering 50% or more globally.Whilst gaming influencer fans also use these platformsat high rates, gaming-centric platform Twitch is almostthree times more likely (index 273) to be used by gaminginfluencer followers, compared to followers of influencersin general. And not surprisingly, gaming influencer fansare twice as likely to use Discord (index 224), thegroup-chat app built for gamers. Outside of thesegaming-specific platforms, both Reddit and Twitter havehigher usage rates among gaming influencer followers;and, interestingly, TikTok exhibits relative strengthamong this audience. With many influencers and evenesports teams experimenting on the platform over thepast year, fans have clearly taken notice.
% agreement with statements among Twitch users in GermanyTwitch users indexed againstadults aged 18-3483%Super-fast broadband is important to meI actively watch, read, or listen tothe news at least once a dayI like to meet new people throughcommon interests and valuesI am willing to pay more money forproducts/services that help me save timeHighlights clips and archive footageare good ways to watch more sportProfiling theTwitch userin Germany78%11912012168%11766%11764%I use an ad blocker when I surf the internetI have a lot of time to relax11571%Sometimes the brands that sponsorsports don't make senseI generally prefer to buy thingsonline rather than in storesLive TV is a thing of the past78%73%Religion isn't really my thing12562%12011656%12055%133For example, profiling Twitch users in Germany uncovers severalcharacteristics that likely contribute to why gaming content isappealing to them: they are highly tech and digital savvy, prefer toengage with short-form video clips on digital platforms, and findlong-form content and linear TV less appealing. In turn, fastbroadband is a major priority for this audience, with 83% agreeing that‘Super-fast broadband is important to me’, 25% above the average foradults aged 18-34 (Index 125). Interestingly, they are also more likelyBeyond their demographics andgaming engagement, YouGov’sProfiles tool allows us tounderstand a 360 degree viewof the gaming influenceraudience around the world, toidentify what distinguishes themfrom other consumer segments.Better understanding thesefans’ underlying preferences,attitudes, and motivations canhelp both platforms andadvertisers connect with themin more meaningful ways.to want to meet new people through common interests and values –likely what has attracted them to the chat-driven Twitch community.Other things with higher importance to German Twitch users includethe news (more than 3 in 4 consume news at least daily),convenience-driven products and services, and online shopping.Two things not as high on their list? Religion (71% say it’s not theirthing), and online ads – 2 in 3 use ad blockers.
Differences in channels used amonggaming influencer fan baseLooking at three distinct markets when it comesto gaming influencer culture, across Great Britain,Indonesia, and the US we see that the channels usedby gaming personality fans to engage with influencersvaries substantially. For example, in GB, Amazonowned Twitch leaps ahead with 47% using its livestreaming services - almost twice as high as theUS (26%), and six times higher than Indonesia (8%).Notably, Twitch continues to be a preferred platformfor live streaming in many markets – in fact, accordingto viewership analytics platform Stream Hatchet, thetop 20 gaming live streamers so far in 2021 all streamcontent on Twitch.Regional differences are in part a reflection of Twitch’sglobal rollout strategy, which has only recently begunto expand its presence into Southeast Asia, whereastop titles such as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang andPlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) Mobile haveleveraged other channels as they’ve grown inpopularity, particularly YouTube. YouTube still leadsthe influencer channel agenda across all threemarkets, with Indonesia registering the highest levelsof use (89%), followed by GB (85%) and US (66%),driven especially by its dominance in video-on-demand(VOD) viewership, whilst at the same time constantlyexpanding its live content partnerships in thegaming/esports space.Influencer channels followed among gaming influencer s (e.g. Apple,Spotify, Amazon etc.)11%10%21%Discord10%19%12%
YouTube Gaming and Twitch most usedgame streaming platforms among US teensStreaming channels used for gaming content among US teensIn 2020, boosted by the pandemic, YouTube Gaminghad its biggest year ever reaching 40 million activegame channels and 100 billion watch time hours.Unsurprisingly, YouTube Gaming and Twitch arethe two most used game streaming platforms amongUS teens, with YouTube in primary position. Discordis also heavily used by US teens, at rates nearly5X those of adult gaming influencer followers inthe market.70%62%53%48%46%43%37%31%34%27%9%YouTube GamingTwitchDiscord9%9%Facebook Gaming23%8%I do not use anygaming streamingservices40 million YouTube activegaming channels and100 billion watchtime hours.Source: YouTubeAll US teensTeen influencer followersTeen gaming influencer followers
Fan loyalty:to platform,or influencer?As of late, gaming personalities have been signing more andmore exclusive deals with streaming platforms. For thestreamers, the financial benefits associated with exclusivitycan be extremely lucrative. And for platforms, drawing loyalaudiences in through individual influencers is a way to expandreach of the platform overall – with a hope that furtherengagement via cross-content consumption will follow.
In late August and early September 2021, two of Twitch’shighest profile streamers, DrLupo and TimtheTatman, shockedthe gaming world by moving away from the platform, signingexclusive streaming deals with YouTube Gaming instead.The move generated a significant amount of buzz andconversation among fans, with YouGov Signal digitalengagement data showing that for both influencers,consumers responded mostly positively to the news, withoverall sentiment around Lupo’s move slightly more positivevs. TimtheTatman.In particular, nearly a quarter of commentary surroundingTim included feelings of anger or disgust; though still over60% of conversation was also optimistic/joyful.Online conversation sentiment & emotion for DrLupo & TimtheTatmanAugust 31 – September 30, 8%Negative19%5% 3%5%44%Positive28%Neutral29%Negative5% onSadnessSurprise
Likelihood of gaming influencer followers switching channels if their favorite influencer moved70%To better understand fans’ loyalty to their favoritegaming personalities, a recent YouGov Chat surveyconducted in the US and UK among 13-40 year oldgame streaming fans explored consumer sentimentspecifically around platform switching. Whilst themajority indicate they would switch channels tofollow their favorite gaming personality, the degreeof commitment is more fragmented. In the US, 32%indicate they would follow their favorite streamer “nomatter what,” though this is significantly lower (22%)in the UK. 3 in 10 streaming fans would watch onthe new platform, but not as often.28%27%22%10%6%NoThis is key area we will explore in some depth in Part 3 ofthis series of reports where we look at why people followgaming influencers.32%31%8%In both markets, one in three fans would only transition if thenew platform was free – perhaps speaking to the difficultyMicrosoft’s Mixer had in displacing Twitch fans despite itsinvestment in major streamers like Ninja and Shroud.This emphasizes the importance of channel appeal,existing usage/familiarity, accessibility, and scale as justsome of the important factors for influencers consideringa potential switch.35% 35% 34%33%Yes, but I may not watchas often as I used toTotal UK/US gaming influencer followersYes, but only if itdidn't cost anythingUK gaming influencer followersYes, no matter whatUS gaming influencer followers
SummaryWith gaming influencers’ popularity booming, it ismore important than ever for marketers to understandtheir dynamic fan base to be able to connect andengage them on their level. YouGov research across17 international markets reveals that gaminginfluencers attract a higher proportion of followerswithin the 18-24 Gen Z cohort (33%) than followers ofany other influencer type, and this increases to 70%those aged 18-34! Gaming personality fans are alsomore dedicated gamers themselves, and more likely togame on PC/console than the average gamer globally.At a global level, top platforms YouTube, Instagram, andFacebook are also most commonly leveraged by thosefollowing gaming influencers; but significantly, this audienceis almost three times more likely to use Twitch, and twiceas likely to use Discord and Reddit, with TikTok emergingas a popular platform among them as well. Gaminginfluencer followers are more likely to access all channelsto keep track of their gaming personalities, than overallinfluencer followers.Channel partnerships with gaming influencers is bigbusiness. Deals with well-known personalities can havesignificant financial, and audience benefits for both thechannel, and personalities involved, and gaming influencersneed to be confident that if they switch from one streamingchannel to another, their fan base will follow. While gaminginfluencer followers perceive themselves as loyal, thiscommitment is stronger when there is no cost involved,and may not translate in terms of the total hours of contentconsumed vs. their viewing habits on the streamer’sprevious platform.
What next?In Part 3 of this report series, we provide a deeperunderstanding of why people follow gaminginfluencers, we explore the importance of loyalty,engagement, and trust and why it is important forbrands to engage with gaming influencers.Access the full series here.
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video gaming has continued to grow in both strength and influence in 2021. Outside of personal game play, nearly three in ten global consumers have also watched a live gaming video stream (YouTube Gaming, Twitch, etc.), and almost one in ten currently follow a gaming influencer. Gaming personalities entertain and engage with audiences
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