October 17, 2022

Marketing video games – especially new IPs – is a tricky thing for studios to do, no matter their size or reputation.

Social media has provided something of a double-edged sword when it comes to marketing video games.

On one hand, it’s arguably never been easier for studios to create a campaign and immediately reach out to target audiences due to the number of social media channels out there.

The sheer variety of social media channels, though, and the breath-taking speed and amount of content that’s uploaded to them every second means that studios have to work much harder not just to grab an audience’s attention, but keep them interested.

This is where the question of an earned media campaign or a paid media campaign comes in, but which one is better for marketing video games?


Paid media video game marketing strategies

What is it?

Marketers can bid for space to advertise content in prominent positions on social networks and search engines with a paid media strategy. Also referred to as PPC or Paid Promotion.

What are the benefits of paid media?

Leading search and social platforms such as Google and Facebook have extremely intricate targeting and reporting tools.

This allows advertisers to target audiences with detailed demographic, location and device information, and get a key insight into their campaign’s impact and return on investment.

What are the cons?

Paid media – especially campaigns that are spread across different channels – can be extremely expensive; even more-so for a long-running campaign.

Competition is also fierce in the world of video game advertising online. The creative has to be exceptional to attract interest and generate leads; anything less and you’re wasting your money.

Earned media video game marketing strategies

What is it?

Earned media is when video game press, blogs, and your target audience are giving your IP exposure. They are having conversations about your work because – well – you’ve earned it!

What are the benefits of earned media?

Earned media has its roots in traditional PR, and can be much more cost-effective than a paid media strategy. It’s more about building strong, professional relationships with influencers and the press.

Earned media can resonate more with a target audience, too. It feels more organic and allows them to join in the conversation. It also gives your studio or IP more prestige than a paid ad.

What are the cons?

Earned media can be hard to achieve. It’s a much longer game to play as opposed to the ‘instant’ results of paid media. Building trust and two-way relationships with influencers and the press takes time.

It can also be harder to quantify results from earned media than it is paid media. You can see how many people wrote an article about your IP, but how many people bought a game because of it?

The best approach is a mix of both

As we’ve touched on, both approaches will count for nothing if the creative is poor or you haven’t properly researched your target market.

Those factors should be the cornerstone of any and every marketing campaign; you’re more likely to get results if you know who you’re talking to and what you want to say to them, whether you opt for a paid or earned media strategy.

In our experience, the best approach to video games marketing is to cherry-pick the best of both mediums – target audiences where they spend their time most on social media and start online conversations that matter with video game influencers.

Again, the creative is key – you need to blow audiences away with something they haven’t seen before to stand out from the crowd. Life-sized Assassin’s Creed Valhalla axe, anyone?

Find out more about which video game marketing approach is best for your studio and your IPs by speaking to the TAKEOFF team today!