With the majority of gamers using social media, companies must embrace social media to gain invaluable insights about their new releases and the overall customer response regarding their products and platforms
Words by Jaydeep, Vice President at Markor Technology. Jaydeep's aim is to expand Markor's reach in established and emerging markets in Asia and Africa. Before Markor, Jaydeep worked with Ingenuity Gaming. He has extensive experience, working in the gaming industry at a senior level positions and has worked in executive roles at leading casino brands 32 Red, Ladbrokes and Cozy Games. Jaydeep has several professional relationships with key stake holders and is playing a key role in establishing a vibrant gaming industry in India.
Gamers thrive on the internet and social media as it plays a huge role in their existence. Gaming companies have long realised it as an important medium that plays an effective role to popularise any online/mobile games. It disseminates details about games, including new promotions, bonuses, games releases and interesting facts which not only keep their audiences in the know but it also attracts new players. Most importantly social networks do not only contribute to deliver information about games to interested gamers. Today social networks are the platforms where games are being played. Creating a social media presence boosts brand’s awareness and provides an outlet for targeted promotions.
Nowadays social media also play a crucial role to generate public opinion, new perception. Besides, in India it has also capacity to create a national outcry at critical times. With the help of social media its users last year had created a national outcry and put an enormous pressure on both Pakistan and Indian government for immediate release of Abhinandan Varthaman, a Wing Commander of Indian Air forces who was captured by Pakistani army after an air combat between India and Pakistan Air Forces. This year similar thing also happened in social media where its users created a nationwide furore and demanded justice after the mysterious suicide of talented film star, Sushant Singh Rajput. Similarly, Tanishq's advertisement in October this year faced widespread criticism on social media which led to the withdrawal of the controversial advertisement following the #BoycottTanishq.
It is very important for Gaming Companies to get their Social Media correct in India and they have realised that these platforms are very useful as a tool for sharing information about new deals, rewards, launches of games and fascinating facts; which not only keep their followers updated, but also help to attract new players. Sensing the importance of social media, many gamers have now created their own version of social media in the form of Platforms like Twitch and steam.
According to a report by smartphone brand Vivo & Cyber media Research (2019), an average Indian spends 1/3rd of their waking hours on their phone. The onset of COVID-19 and the consequent lockdown increased social media consumption significantly. The Hammer Kopf Consumer Survey states that Indians spent more than four hours every day on social media a week after the imposition of the lockdown, recording an 87 per cent weekly rise in social media consumption. It added that 72 per cent Indians spent more time on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp compared to the week before. Banning a number of Chinese apps recently also played a significant role in people spending more time on other social media apps. For example, as per a study, the average time per day on Instagram more than doubled, while Facebook too saw a 35 per cent spike in time-spent on the platform.
In some way or the other, the majority of gamers are on social media. In fact, almost every gamer is either on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube or Snapchat.
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There were four hundred million social media users in India in January 2020. The number of social media users in India increased by another 130 million between April 2019 and January 2020, according to Digital 2020: India report.
Social media is also an effective tool for obtaining audience feedback. For those gaming companies who embrace social networks often find it‘s easy to gain invaluable insights and opinions from their members about new releases, game features, game experience feedbacks and even the product range in general. This feedback can then be used to enhance products and services and can improve the overall online gaming experience.
It is clear to see how important social media to the online gaming industry. Social media today may be the best tool at a gaming developer’s or a gaming companies’ fingertips. There is a huge chance that social media is one of the biggest reasons the gaming industry has witnessed unprecedented success in recent times. As time goes on, it is expected that this trend will continue, as both parties evolve and search for new ways of interacting and engaging with their audiences. In coming days if gaming operators invest more in social media, they will derive more returns from social media.
With India being the second-largest market in the world for app downloads, the online/mobile gaming industry is expected to at least double its investments in the next one to two years. This innovative country has currently over 400 gaming start-ups where more than 500 million people are smartphone users and social media users, according to Assocham.
Gaming apps are one of the most important downloaded apps by Indians in their smart phone. App installs in this category have increased 54 per cent in the past two years. According to a report by the Indian Federation of Sports Gaming, the country has 300 million online gamers.
Finally the gaming operators must keep in mind that different strategies may work for different platforms for different brands. This is because every social media channel has a more or less specific type of marketing personas and the customer base. Knowing how your audience uses a specific social channel is the key to deciphering what marketing strategy would work for one platform vis-à-vis the other.
In order to popularise games, gaming operators will have to identify the most effective social sites considering the target audience before launching their brand in India and should research and invest more on presenting the right messaging to reach the target audience more successfully.
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