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Quick take: Word of mouth is no longer the single most powerful games discovery tool

Cover image for Quick take: Word of mouth is no longer the single most powerful games discovery tool

Photo: Nick Fewings

Photo of Karol Severin
by Karol Severin

Do you know the saying ‘word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool’? Well, things are changing - or at least evolving. MIDiA’s Q2 2021 consumer survey states that 25% of consumers typically discover new games on social media feeds – the same penetration rate as consumers who stated that they discover games ‘from personal recommendations’. Social media feeds and personal recommendations ranked the highest among all tracked games discovery channels. Word of mouth thus remains crucially important, but it finally seems to have found its match – or perhaps its digital parallel.

Discovering games through social media ads (19%) and YouTube / Twitch ads (12%) captured the second and third place respectively. In turn, the once omni-significant media reviews now place towards the bottom of the importance ladder, with only 6% of consumers discovering games in mainstream media reviews, and 7% discovering games in specialised media reviews.

Discord (2%) and podcasts (1%) rate the lowest for games discovery. However, given the comparably high usage rates of Discord and podcasts among existing gamers, both channels are still very important for games marketing strategies - but more so for fandom building, improving experiences, and upselling, rather than for games discovery, at present.

All these rates are, of course, higher when zooming into gamers only. They vary by platform as well as engagement and spend.

Discovery depends on the type of gamer

Games discovery varies by platform (mobile vs. PC vs. console gamers), but also by how engaged and vested (and perhaps seasoned) the gamers are. For example, Games Aficionados (the highest engaged and highest spending gamers) discover games on social media feeds (49%) more than through personal recommendations (40%), while Forgotten Fans (gamers with high engagement, but low spend) place more emphasis on personal recommendations (35% vs. 32% social media feeds).

In the 2020’s, the most effective games marketing strategies will understand and embrace the nuanced discovery habits of their target audiences, and they will optimise campaigns accordingly. MIDiA’s upcoming report on games discovery behaviours will shine a light on all of this and much more as we deep dive into discovery through several gamer-specific lenses, such as genre, title, engagement and spend segments.

Stay tuned!

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