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What Are eSports and Why Should Brands Care?

With nearly 557 million viewers predicted by 2021, it’s time to start taking eSports seriously.

What are eSports?

An ‘eSport’ is not you playing 8-ball pool on your smartphone during your morning commute.

eSports (electronic sports) is competitive video gaming at a professional level.

I’m sure you heard the story of a 16-year-old US teenager winning $3 million after becoming world champion at free-to-play game Fortnite.

eSports are a combination of team-based games (such as Call of Duty) and solo games such as before-mentioned Fortnite.

Real-world sports teams are getting involved too – the ePremier League allows fans to represent their favourite teams in FIFA 20 Tournaments.

Last year’s final was broadcast on Sky Sports and Twitch, reaching nearly 14 million views.

What makes eSports so unique is that anyone can make it big. Our client Platform is London’s first dedicated gaming bar, complete with an officially licensed ‘eSports training ground’.

Platform Shoreditch visitors playing call of duty on eSports computers

‘Noobs’ and ‘Vets’ alike can hone their skills here. 

It is easy to get confused by gaming jargon (noob = ‘newbie’) but one thing is clear – with a growing audience and dedicated fans, eSports present a massive marketing opportunity for businesses.

Who watches eSports?

62% of esports viewers are aged between 18 – 34.

The audience is older than most people imagine – making it an excellent channel to reach millennials.

 After all, 43% of millennials say that they always appreciate brands that reach out to them in the gaming world.

Although eSports caters to a mostly male audience, interest amongst women is increasing.

Currently around 30% of eSports audiences are female and this growing as it becomes more widely accessible.

“For brands and fans, esports offers something that most traditional sports cannot- nearly unprecedented access to star players” – AdAge

Most of this happens online – esports players regularly interact with fans through social media and video-streaming platforms YouTube and Twitch.

I know about YouTube, but what is Twitch?

Twitch is an Amazon-owned video live streaming service where fans can watch their favourite streamers (eSports or otherwise) play video games. 

It draws 9.7 million active daily users.

Fans can regularly chat with other fans and their favourite streamers – who often respond immediately.

Aside from a rare live-stream Q&A, its difficult to imagine real-world celebrities interacting with fans in such a personal manner.

Twitch’s popularity is partly due to its low ad frequency – only a couple of ads an hour are displayed to viewers. This will likely increase as the platform gains popularity.

How brands can get involved

An accessible way of tapping into the eSports market is by sponsoring a streamer to wear, consume or endorse your product.

“Streamers are the new ‘influencers’ of the gaming world” – E1MA

Like using influencers (or advertising on podcasts), this can be effective as fans trust their favourite streamers will recommend them quality products/services.

You can also immediately measure the effectiveness of a in-stream “shout-out” unlike traditional advertising channels.

One risk for brands is that unlike carefully curated influencer posts, streaming is unedited and unfiltered.

 Streamers often record 12+ hours a day and you cannot have constant control over what they say. 

Like influencer marketing, a high level of trust between the brand and the content creator is essential for success.

Concluding Words

eSports is no longer ‘niche hobby’.

It has become a mainstream sport, with fan-filled stadiums, sponsors and influential star players.

You do not need to be a major corporate entity to get involved in this fast-expanding  market.

Take a gamble and align your brand with a small-time streamer.

Because you never know who will be the next eSports superstar or Twitch sensation.

How Audio Advertising Is Being Reborn in the Digital Era

2019 marks the 100th anniversary of audio advertising. 

Businesses have been using radio to advertise for over a century, but the rise of digital media is bringing a whole new meaning to the term ‘audio advertising’. 

Introducing: Digital audio advertising.

So, what is digital audio advertising?

More than just ‘radio advertising but online’.

Although 88% of UK adults still listen to traditional FM radio, younger audiences do not. 

In fact, listenership among 15-24 year olds has dropped by over 30% since 2010.

Younger audiences are increasingly abandoning radio for digital audio content – PCs and laptops are being abandoned in favour of more convenient, mobile-led ways to  consume content. 

Streaming music and listening to podcasts are now the norm.

This applies to all ages – according to eMarketer, the average adult spends over an hour a day listening to digital audio content.

Most of this audio consumption happens on-the-go, simply walk into any train station, gym or library and you’ll notice the sheer number of people with headphones on.

79% of all audio media usage takes place in situations like these, where visual content is inconvenient.

Let’s look at these explore the two key varieties of digital audio content – and how advertisers can use these emerging formats to their advantage.

Music Streaming

Physical ownership of music is on the decline, and aside from the small rebirth of vinyl, music streaming has become the mainstream way of listening to music.

Source: BBC

Consumers are simply not interested in ‘owning’ their music anymore.

Music streaming service Spotify has over 300 million users – and 60% of those use their ad-supported free version. The average Spotify user spends 25 hours a month listening on the app.

To say that this is a lucrative opportunity for marketers is an understatement. 

As only one in-stream ad can play at a time, you are much more likely to have your audience’s full attention.

Advertisers can target based on age, gender, location, activity and music taste. This is the ideal platform for those involved in the music industry – DJ’s, festivals, club owners.

Or, you could get really creative – why not target salsa lessons at latin-american music fans?

The possibilities are endless.


Podcasts are similar to traditional radio shows except that they’re usually episode-based and focus on specific subjects.

(Fun fact: Podcast is a combination of the words ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’)

Almost anyone can make a podcast – all you need an internet connection and something to talk about. This makes it much more accessible than radio.

What kind of podcasts do people in the UK listen to? Take a look for yourself:

Source: Ofcom

What’s even more exciting is the levels of engagement ads on podcasts receive: 

According to The Drum, an incredible 76% of surveyed consumers have acted on a podcast advert or sponsorship message.


This format is all about storytelling, and stories are powerful – they have been proven to be more effective at keeping people’s attention.

If you trust a podcast host to keep you entertained for 30 minutes a day, you’ll likely trust in their product recommendations or sponsorship messages.

The issue with advertising on podcasts is that it’s difficult to measure.

The only metric you have to go off are impressions (i.e. how many people have listened to the podcast) and even then you can’t ‘prove’ that they all listened to the ad.

Concluding words

Both these formats clearly have potential. 

As digital audio technology advances, so will our ability to target more specific audience with ads and measure its effectiveness.

Digital audio advertising is definitely a marketing trend to keep an eye (or ear) on – with so many visual ads vying for consumers’ attention, why not get them to listen instead?

What We Learned At MAD//Fest 2019

Some of the E1MA team attended MAD//Fest on the 13th & 14th November. Here’s some of our favourite insights and stories:

Influencer – “Micro vs. Macro: Understanding Scale in Influencer Marketing”

Influencer co-founders Caspar Lee (of YouTube fame) and Ben Jeffries delivered an excellent discussion on Influencer Marketing:

  • Use a combination of Macro (10,000+ followers) and Micro (under 10,000 followers) Influencers for your campaign.
  • Larger influencers are excellent for building brand awareness, but smaller ones are better for conversions  as social media algorithms favour (sigh) “authentic” engagements. It can also be a waste of money chasing huge, global influencers for your UK-only business.
  • Take your time when choosing an influencer – make sure they align with your brand’s values. 
  • Be wary of untrustworthy influencers who purchase likes and followers, particularly on Instagram.
  • Remember that you’re not just paying an influencer to “shout out” your product – they are producing content for you, so make sure you re-use it across your channels and make the most of it.

Lumen Research – “Attention Mobile! How attention technology can boost your mobile advertising”

Lumen’s Managing Director Mike Follet present their interesting eye-tracking software and the insights they have found while using it:

  • For video content, keep it short – people typically lose interest after 15 seconds.
  • Include your branding at the start of the video for maximum brand-recall but display your product at the end.
  • Design video content for mobile-first. “Vertical” videos are by far the most popular way consumers watch videos.
  • If you need to shorten a video, take out the parts that do not emotionally resonate with the audience.
  • 90% of people’s attention on Facebook is on the news feed and so optimise your ads accordingly.

Paddy Power – “Making mischief: combining live and social interactions”

Paddy Power’s head of Brand Activations Paul Mallon showed the audience a selection of their (often controversial) marketing campaigns – discussing which ones worked and which didn’t:

Their message was simple – don’t be afraid of your audience.

You cannot please everyone, and the backlash they receive from social media ‘keyboard warriors’ almost never have an actual negative impact on the business.

During the 2018 World Cup, Paddy Power donated thousands of pounds to LGBTQ+ charities each time Russia scored a goal.

Despite all the backlash they received on Twitter, a grand total of 4 people closed their betting accounts.

You can see their hilarious response to the backlash on YouTube.

Dishoom – “How culture, story and experience can disrupt a category”

Dishoom founder Shamil Thakrar spoke about how his ‘chain’ (though he hates the word) of Indian-inspired restaurants came about, and the power of storytelling:

  • For each individual restaurant, Dishoom crafts a unique world that they want their customers to experience when they walk inside.
  • You only need to visit their website to see how serious they take this. Everything aspect of a restaurant, right down to the screws, has been carefully considered.
  • Attention to detail is critical – customers want to feel truly immersed when they step into a restaurant (unless you are, say, McDonalds).
  • Focus on creating value for your customer and your team first. THEN you can start making a profit.
  • Make sure your brand is poetic in the way it tells its story.

Bonus Insights

Reform Political Advertising: There are no rules on political advertising in the UK.

Skyscanner: Perfect your offering before marketing it. You don’t need a ‘company culture’ page – demonstrate your culture through your dealings with customers.

IBM: The secret to inspiration is to lock yourself away from the outside work a few hours a week, with just a notepad and your imagination. If you’re struggling for content ideas, ‘remix’ existing content and make it your own. After all, “originality is just undetected plagiarism”

Tenzing: The entire E1MA team are now addicted to their natural energy drinks. Not so much of an insight, but perhaps demonstrates that giving away free samples can still be an effective marketing tool!

How Awareness Days Can Be Your Content Lifeline

We are now in the awkward period where it is too late to post about Halloween but too soon to post about Christmas.

Awareness Days can be extremely useful for your business if you’re ever stuck for ideas on what to post. 

They are designed to draw attention to a cultural or social cause. These can range from national holidays such as St. George’s Day to the more tongue-in-cheek National Hangover Day (which, you guessed it, is the 1st January).

There are hundreds of awareness days, weeks and months that you can associate your brand with. By using the relevant hashtags (e.g. #NationalPancakeDay), you can drive more traffic to your social media pages. 

Feel free to get creative with your posts – but make sure there is a genuine link between your business and the cause you’re supporting.  

It’s best to choose ones that align with your brand’s core values – fans may be confused as to why a clothing brand is celebrating British Sandwich Week (yes, it’s real).

For Noisily we created a post highlighting the importance of mental wellbeing – an important topic to both Noisily and their fans. By posting on World Mental Health Day, we organically reached over 4,000 people with 500+ engagements.

Man hugging woman for World Mental Health Day

Awareness Days are valuable opportunities to take advantage of an important or trending topic in a creative manner. With so many to choose from, you’ll never be struggling to come up with content ideas again.

What’s in a Community?

In social media terms, a community is a place where like-minded people can share and express their opinions around a common interest. With a staggering 620 million groups, Facebook is by far the most popular platform for online communities.

These groups often have far higher levels of engagement than the average social media post. They act as a hub where users can post photos, share content and discuss related topics.

This makes them excellent marketing tool for brands – you can have your most loyal and engaging fans in all in one place.

For example, our Noisily Festival Community has over 4,000 of their most dedicated fans. Here, the ‘Noisily Family’ can ask enquire about the festival, share videos and build genuine excitement around Noisily Festival 2020.

In their own words, the community contains:

“big characters, big ideas, dynamic dysfunction and enthusiasm that knows no bounds”

Facebook’s new algorithm favours community and real conversations. 

Because everyone in the group has shown serious interest in your brand, it can often be more effective to your focus marketing efforts here instead of far-reaching ad campaigns. 

Have a question?