If you are anything like me, you have pressed that button a lot of times whenever you go on YouTube.
The internet has given us so much. It has given us the ability to communicate each other through Facebook. The ability to know, in real time, what’s going on through Twitter. Heck, we can even use the plethora of food delivery apps to satisfy that midnight Nacho-craving (don’t lie, we all have our moments of weakness). But the internet has also given us ads. Advertisements by large corporations trying to push their products and services into our faces. And for the majority of the time, we hate ads. We install “Ad Blockers” to make sure that they stay well enough away from us, we instinctually move our cursors to the lower right hand screens of YouTube videos when an unwanted ad pops up. We hate ads, and yet they keep coming. Fair enough I suppose, that’s how the internet works right? Startup internet companies don’t charge us when we use their services, but they get to show us a lot of ads.
But what if I told you that there were ads that we might actually enjoy watching? You would probably think that I’m crazy, and that I’ve watched one too many shampoo and toothpaste commercials (oddly enough, those are the ads we get in Hong Kong). But what’s interesting is that with the development of new types of content on platforms like YouTube. There is a rising trend for a genre of videos that are the perfect fit for advertising. GAMING VIDEOS.
Gaming videos are an amazing new development in media. For the unfamiliar, gaming videos, are essentially videos of people playing videogames. They record their reactions, do funny jump cuts, and expressions. It’s basically one of the nerdiest and most fun things you could ever watch on the internet. So much so that there is a whole industry that is being developed that revolves around this concept of a video featuring a dude (or dudes, or dudette(s)) playing a game and broadcasting their reactions for all to see. Platforms like Twitch.tv and YouTube Gaming have been set up specifically to cater to this market (whether it be live-streaming or just regular videos).
I think that these gaming videos are an amazing thing, they are entertaining, fun, and they also let you get an idea of what playing the game might be like. So much so that in my case, a lot of my video gaming purchase decisions have been directly influence by the gaming videos that I watch.
There’s this channel on YouTube, it’s called NODE, and they are a gaming video channel. More specifically, they tend to post videos where 4 guys play a variety of games together. Either co-op, shooters, or boardgames. They play all sorts, and they upload 3 glorious videos a week. Which is pretty awesome.
I’ve been watching these guys for quite some time, and they are one of my favorite YouTube channels, I think I’ve been watching them for the better part of 3 years now. And over that 3 year period, these guys have played a plethora of different games. I can’t even begin to count the number of games these guys have played. And the thing is, that thinking back, a lot of the games that these guys play, I actually end up buying and playing for myself. Off the top of my head, I know that I’ve bought up to 4 full-title videogames because of these guys. Which is more than I can say for advertisements that are specifically designed to make me want to buy games.
I suppose that reason that these guys are so effective in getting me to buy a game, is because I don’t already hate them from the very beginning. For anyone who browses the internet, I think its very rare that we actually browse, with the intent of clicking ads. And I’m sure that for a lot of us, we specifically condition ourselves to ignore ads. We gloss over them, we skip them where we can, basically trying to minimize our exposure as much as possible. But when I watch these video gaming videos, I actually want to watch this video, and that already makes it so much more effective than ads, you don’t hate them.
The other thing about these videogame videos and how they could drive someone to buy is because they allow the viewer to imagine what it could be like if they were to also play this game. You see the people in the video having fun playing and then you also think to yourself “that could be me too”. Which is essentially what an advertisement is suppose to do right? They are suppose to encourage you to picture yourself actually buying and enjoying the product, realize that it is a good idea, so that you actually go and so it. Videogame videos do that with remarkable effectiveness.
And the idea of using YouTubers to promote videogames via videos has not been lost upon the video game industry. More and more, publishers are tapping YouTubers to help them promote their games. The upcoming Ubisoft game, The Division hosted promotional events, where they invited YouTubers, let them record themselves playing the game, like they would for one of their normal videos.
By letting YouTubers release videos like these, players can get an idea of the game itself, and what it would be like to play these games. Making them more inclined to buy it themselves. And companies like Ubisoft, event opt to go one step further by commissioning other YouTubers to make “live-action videos” as additional promotional materials for their upcoming game. All of this content can be very effective because players don’t just “gloss over” this advertising content nor do they purposefully ignore it like they would with banner ads or sponsored posts. Mainly because actually want to see this content. The “advertisement”is sort of baked into the whole video in an entertaining way.
And this seems to be a win-win situation for everyone involved. Gaming companies have found a brand new avenue that they can use to market their games to players. Creators have a new revenue model so that they can continue to create great content. And players can continue to access this content, get an idea of what games are like before they put down money for it, and can make an informed decision when purchasing games.